These jaw-dropping words were spoken by the President to John Boehner recently during budget negotiations. Much as I dislike Barack Obama, I have never thought he was stupid. I may have to reconsider. That and sheer duplicity are the only remaining options. Either he is clueless enough to believe himself when he said it or his talent for lying leaves Bill Clinton looking like a Boy Scout.
The President added, “We have a health care problem.” Hmmmmm… Are these the words of a man who purports to understand our economy? Few of us doubt that health care is in trouble; many of us doubt that it is our only, or even our main, fiscal problem. Why would the man say such a thing?
The answer may be found in Obama’s recent statements on the debt ceiling. He has made it plain that he will not negotiate over the ceiling this go-round. Yes, once again we will be treated to aimless haggling over a mechanism that only a politician could believe effective. The debt ceiling was designed to restrain Congress’s voracious appetite for spending by placing a limit on the amount it could borrow. Functioning more like a snooze alarm than a doomsday device, it has been raised well over 70 times since its inception. So much for Congress’s self-restraint.
The President has also made it plain that he means to stick it to the rich, no matter what. Never mind that the taxes to be righteously extracted from Lexus drivers will amount to naught in reducing our debt or funding the government. Those things will come from the hide of the middle class, a disturbing number of which seem to think it perfectly acceptable to get screwed as long as the perpetrator is a liberal.
Health care is the President’s problem, all right, but not in the way you may think. It is his intention, in my view, to make it more of a problem–for us. So perhaps there is a third option: The President is neither dumb nor duplicitous, but stating a position so utterly unfathomable to sensible people that they miss it completely. The “problem” is that there are still some people who resist Obama’s idea of government dominance over the lives of its citizens.
Imagine a particularly audacious military commander setting about to attack a city. Imagine further that he tells the opponent exactly what he is about to do, even though the odds are stacked high against him. He sends a message to the city’s leadership stating that he will mount a full-scale assault against the city walls. The city’s leaders, believing that the walls are virtually impregnable, figure that it is a ruse and scurry about trying to figure out what the commander really intends to do. As they waste time and energy guessing, the city is overtaken…in exactly the way stated.
Our once-common core value–individual liberty–protected us from sneaky bastards like Richard Nixon. During that fiasco, we re-asserted the principle that no person, duly elected or not, can negate that basic right. Nixon tried to hide his actions; Barack Obama has not. It is perfectly plain that he wants to jettison true liberty in favor of a collective of drones who work for government first and themselves a distant second.
I think Obama genuinely believes that we don’t have a spending problem. He thinks that no matter what the question, more government is the answer. By cramming Obamacare down our throats, the President has all but ensured the collapse of one-seventh of our economy. When that happens, he will make “necessary adjustments” which will look a heck of a lot like fully socialized medicine–what he wanted in the first place. The collateral damage from the collapse of health care will make the rest of his mission a piece of cake.
How can a man so obviously off the mark in both capabilities and sensibilities come to wield so much power? Easy. Almost no one with any influence offers principled counterarguments. Instead of having a Republican Party in opposition, we have a Republican Party in cahoots. Republicans do not sincerely forward the principle of government as defender of free people and free markets. Instead, they meekly mount opposition to Obama’s socialism while vigorously trying to preserve crony capitalism. It does not work and cannot work.
What will work is a resurrection of the most fundamental premise of American government. The government’s job is to protect and defend individual rights and stay out of the way otherwise. As long as the “opposition” party wants to use government to its own ends through big banks, big businesses, and big lobbyists, it is no less dangerous than Obama. We who believe that the individual comes first have to make our case clearly and persuasively, without apologizing for the values that drive it. If you are one, think, write, and speak as if your life depended on it. Soon it may.