Monday, September 29, 2008

Obama's Infuriating Disingenuousness

So I've been speaking to people - well meaning, reasonably informed (NYT, generally), middle of the road people - who seem not to be terribly concerned about the prospects of an Obama Presidency. In fact, some of them are downright enthused. Many saw the debate last Friday night, and thought that Obama did a fine job (which, in some manner, he must have), and are convinced that certain of his positions have merits (cough, cough).

My question is this: how is it that reasonable, middle of the road types are not scared witless by Obama, when the man, based on his voting records as tallied by several watchdog organizations, ranks as one of the, if not the very most, liberal members of the Senate?

Now, the Senate is not the House, but being the very most liberal member of even that august body must place someone just to the right of Joseph Stalin. If all that I hear about his legacy and his real, deeply held philosophical positions is true, then he is, at heart, a socialist, or something very close to it. Let's put all our money in a pot and divvy it up equally.

So how is it that all these people are flocking to him? Would these people not see that such a figure would, especially when coupled with Democrat majorities in both houses, result in the largest power grab by the federal government since FDR and the great depression? Do people not understand the risk to our economy and our nation?

My inclination is to assume that Obama is simply lying to people. He is trying to portray himself as a middle-of-the-roader himself. He is hiding the truth of his real beliefs. He is pulling a fast one on the American public - he's a liberal wolf in centrist sheep's clothing.

I must admit that until very recently, these thoughts were almost articles of faith with me - I had not yet dug deeply enough into Obama's stated positions to conclude whether or not they truly qualified for my scorn.

So, I set about to remedy my own lack of understanding. I went to Obama's website, and read up on his stated positions, and I compared them with my preconcieved notions about what they would be.

Guess what. I was right. He's a lying sack of horseballs. His website and his stated positions are so full of holes, so full of contradictions, and so full of meaningless rhetoric, that I am having trouble deciding whether he is the most masterful obfuscator in history, or whether he is just simply an idiot.

Let's look at his health care plan, just for one. Obviously, it's a much larger topic than can be reasonably handled in a short blog post, but after five minutes looking at it, a general theme unfolded - there's all savings, and no cost. Everything gets better, but nothing costs more. It's magic. He has discovered alchemies which have eluded witches and warlocks for millenia! He can turn iron into gold!

A couple of examples which stood out:

  • Obama will save money to pay for a part of the increased cost of his health care plans by eliminating the restriction on direct negotiations with drug companies for prescription drugs. Fine. He thinks this could save $30 billion. Fine. Apparently, he also believes that this $30 billion is free. This is breathtakingly ignorant. Drug companies spend about 50% of their free cash flow on R&D and the rest they dividend out to shareholders. If Obama has his way, approximately $15 billion of critical drug R&D will vanish. Swoosh. With regard to dividends, Obama needs to understand that it's something of a zero-sum game. If a company's earnings available for dividends decreases, that company will reduce their other costs commensurately so that they can maintain a certain percentage of dividends. That means jobs, other r&d, overhead expenses, etc. etc. etc. In a flash, $30 billion disappears, and it's got to be accounted for somewhere else! If he's proposing $15 billion of federal drug R&D, that's one thing, but he's not. It's free! The same logic, by the way, can be applied to his idea to reimport drugs from lower cost countries (which, by the way, negotiate with the drug companies!). If he has a plan to get other countries to pay more for their drugs while we pay less, then fine. But in the absense of that, again, it's a zero-sum game.
  • Obama thinks that his health care plan will save American families approximately $2,500 by, among other things, making investments in healthcare IT. This is one part arrogance and one part ignorance. First, guess what! IT investment requires, get this: investment! It costs money! Second, if he doesn't think that every single health care CEO in this country already has gobs of incentive to save costs by making their IT work better, then he's got another thing coming to him. They're doing the best they can. To suppose that Obama is going to come along, wave his wand, and make it all work better is, I dare say, a tad arrogant. I think Hillary found this out it 1993.
  • He wants to reduce health care expenditures by making health care universal, and thereby reducing spending on uncompensated care. Sorry, but somebody's got to explain that logic to me. If he's saying that doctors charge payors more for uncovered patients than for covered patients, then we're back to the zero-sum game logic. If those doctors are then going to charge the uninsured less because they're now insured, then they're going to charge the rest of us more for the foregone incremental earnings! It's not free! He can't get free health care for uninsured people by making them insured! Am I the only one who has noticed this? As they say, where's the outrage?
  • Mandatory coverage for children. Barack Obama will mandate that all children will be covered by medical insurance. Ah, the children! But what does this mean? Are children more important than other people? What about their parents - aren't they important too?Will children get healthcare insurance but their parents won't? This is a platitude masquerading as a policy. It has no place in serious discussions, and it makes me think little of Barack Obama. And don't say that I don't love children. I know that all conservatives are baby-killers, but I, for one, am not. I love children, but if they have healthcare, I want mine, too.
  • Other, more general inconsistencies in the plan: First, Obama points out that health care costs have been rising dramatically lately (true). Then, he states that his plan will save the average family approximately $2,500 per year (great!). Finally, after all that cost savings, here's what you're also going to get: guaranteed eligibility and comprehensive benefits for all of the uninsured in the nation; subsidies for low-income families; expansion of medicaid and SCHIP; employer contributions (think: zero-sum); support for small businesses; etc. etc. BUT, it's going to cost you $2,500 per year less! What he doesn't tell you, is that your taxes are going to have to go up by many multiples of that number. Net, net, you're way, way behind. But you'd never figure that out from listening to Obama, or reading his puff pieces. You'd actually have to read it, and think about it like I have.

I could go on and on. He's pulling a fast one on the American public.

Honestly, I don't have a problem with people who favor nationalized health care, but are honest about the implications for our economy, tax structure, etc. Reasonable people can disagree. This is different.

My conclusion: I don't care which one it is. He is either a liar or an idiot. Either way, he is dangerous to freedom in America.


maggi said...

I hope you're not linking FDR to the Great Depression! I'm sure you wouldn't want to lead young people astray by giving them false information. FDR had nothing to do with the Great Depression...except to clean up the mess that Herbert Hoover made! Please get the facts straight before you post them.

Evan said...

Perhaps Obama isn't perfect, but another 4 years of republican rule seems to have the potential for apocalypse. At the current rate of American decline we will be a third world nation by 2012 thanks to the republicans. I don't particularly care for the nanny state the left advocates but it seems fairly obvious that the right is leading us down the road of greed and aggression. Perhaps this self destruction is intentional. After all, Jesus won't come back to you until the end of times.

mixerjim said...

I too agree that Obama and his marxxest ideas are going to be the downfall of the United States and people don't seem to care

American Infidel said...

At my age, I've experienced many administrations. I have also been a small business owner and entrepreneur. I have been preaching the same dialog to all the blogs and comments I can, but the liberals and Democrats keep coming back even more vociferously. I sincerely believe that the Democrats have finally stirred up enough anger to sway many people. And the media is in an all out attempt to sway an election, especially this one. And when you add the racial aspect, you have a combination the media and the Democrats can use as a club.
Reading your article, I could see depth to your education. This seems to be a withering component in our society. Another reason the media can conquer the masses through their visceral contrivance.
With the ability of the media and Democrats to publish and legislate their version of morality, I'm afraid we are going to see this adolescent rebellion succeed in a significant destruction of a large part of the American way of life. It is truly saddening. I only hope I can survive the destruction and be of use in the recovery.

Steevesna said...


Are you trying to tell me that FDR was president during the great depression? I hear that was a terrible time when people couldn't even afford cable television. Had to watch fireside chats on their radios, shudder.

The Lizard said...

Great Post.

Maggi, It was the excesses of the 1920's that caused the great depression not Hoover. Hoover just happened to be in office. This is much the same as we are seeing know. The excesses of the 1990's and early 2000's have created this mess not Bush.

The current financial crisis was caused by bad mortgages. The bad mortgages were mandated by Clinton. As early as 2001 there was noticeable problems with our lending standards. But because of the ever expanding housing market combined with record low interest rates created a huge bubble. Houses were being sold for much more than they were really worth. We are seeing that know as the price of a house declines. People were insane. When banks said they could borrow so much money people went looking for houses at the maximum or near maximum they could get in the form of a loan. This was irresponsible. People were living outside there means and when the bubble burst our country is faced with bailing out irresponsible persons. The administration will get the blame but the blame belongs to our government in general. Look at what Evan says. He believes partisan politics will get us out of the mess. Hardly! We need someone that would govern from the middle. We should be voting for the candidate that represents reform of our government not the one that represents a change in political parties. This mess is bi-partisan and it will take bi-partisanship to get us out of it. Obama is the ultimate partisan. Never has Obama worked across the aisle for the good of the country on contentious issues. On contentious issues he has either voted party lines or in the case of the State Senate he voted present. That my friends is not leadership. The lack of leadership is what scares me about Obama. He is a follower that will be no better than Carter was. Obama has never shown that he has any ideas to correct the problems. As such his weakness will allow a democratic congress to move of far to the left. The extreme left wing will take the party over and Obama will become nothing but a figurehead.