Politicians of all stripes routinely spin facts and logic so fast they make the rest of us shake our heads in bemused wonder. Then there are those rare occasions when a prominent politician says something that clearly deserves a place in the Political Chutzpah Hall of Fame. President Obama earned a place in the pantheon with his Saturday radio address.
“It’s smoke and mirrors,” he said. “It’s bogus, and it’s all too familiar. Every time we get close to passing reform, the insurance companies produce these phony studies as a prescription and say take one of these and call us in a decade. Well not this time. The fact is the insurance industry is making this last-ditch effort to stop reform even as costs continue to rise and our health care dollars continue to be poured into their profits and bonuses and administrative costs that do nothing to make us healthy, that often actually go toward trying to figure out how to avoid covering people. And they are earning these profits and bonuses while enjoying a privileged exception from our anti-trust laws, a matter that Congress is rightfully reviewing.”
Before Obama goes much further bashing the health insurance industry, let’s review what Obama said during the 2008 presidential campaign. He made two promises that attracted crucial support from independents. He promised “a net federal spending cut” and to “cut taxes for 95 percent of American workers.” But from his first day in the Oval Office, Obama has been on a spending binge of such unprecedented magnitude that the federal deficit this year is more than $1.4 trillion, or nearly three times what it was under George Bush in 2008. If Obama’s health care reform plan becomes law, the deficit will be even bigger.
As for cutting taxes, that is a topic Obama assiduously avoids these days because he is too busy pushing massive new federal programs that will indirectly add thousands of dollars to the costs of living for virtually every American family, through more expensive health insurance premiums, skyrocketing gasoline and utility bills, and higher prices for food and other consumer goods.
In view of these facts, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that Obama’s campaign promises were just so much … smoke and mirrors. Not only were Obama’s bullying remarks Saturday harsh and hypocritical, they also sounded desperate, shrill and divisive. Not what one expects from a president promising bipartisan reform.