Obama Goes Postal, Lands in Dead-Letter Office
Commentary by Caroline Baum
Aug. 18 (Bloomberg) -- “UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. It’s the Post Office that’s always having problems.” -- Barack Obama, Aug. 11, 2009
...When Obama compared the post office to UPS and FedEx, he was clearly hoping to assuage voter concerns about a public health-care option undercutting and eliminating private insurance.
What he did instead was conjure up visions of long lines and interminable waits. Why do we need or want a health-care system that works like the post office?
What’s more, if the USPS is struggling to compete with private companies, as Obama implied, why introduce a government health-care option that would operate at the same disadvantage?
These are just two of the questions someone listening to the president’s health-insurance reform roadshow might want to ask.
Impromptu Obamanomics is getting scarier by the day. For all the president’s touted intelligence, his un-teleprompted comments reveal a basic misunderstanding of capitalist principles.
For example, asked at the Portsmouth town hall how private insurance companies can compete with the government, the president said the following:
“If the private insurance companies are providing a good bargain, and if the public option has to be self-sustaining -- meaning taxpayers aren’t subsidizing it, but it has to run on charging premiums and providing good services and a good network of doctors, just like any other private insurer would do -- then I think private insurers should be able to compete.”
Self-sustaining? The public option? What has Obama been doing during those daily 40-minute economic briefings coordinated by uber-economic-adviser, Larry Summers?
Government programs aren’t self-sustaining by definition. They’re subsidized by the taxpayer. If they were self-financed, we’d be off the hook.
Llewellyn Rockwell Jr., chairman of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, and editor of LewRockwell.com, put it this way in an Aug. 13 commentary on Mises.org:
“The only reason for a government service is precisely to provide financial support for an operation that is otherwise unsustainable, or else there would be no point in the government’s involvement at all.”
Everyone makes a mistake or flubs a line when asked questions on the spot, including the president of the United States. We can overlook run-on sentences, subject and verb tense disagreement, even a memory lapse when it comes to facts and figures.
The proliferation of Obama’s gaffes and non sequiturs on health care has exceeded the allowable limit. He has failed repeatedly to explain how the government will provide more (health care) for less (money). He has failed to explain why increased demand for medical services without a concomitant increase in supply won’t lead to rationing by government bureaucrats as opposed to the market. And he has failed to explain why a Medicare-like model is desirable when Medicare itself is going broke.
The public is left with one of two unsettling conclusions: Either the president doesn’t understand the health-insurance reform plans working their way through Congress, or he understands both the plans and the implications and is being untruthful about the impact.
Neither option is good; ignorance is clearly preferable to the alternative.
This is what you get when you elect a man with no other experience other than a rabble rousing community organizer, a state senator and a brief time as a U.S. Senator. He hasn't the experience around which to erect a core of wise values!