Cutting Through The Crap

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Right Idea, Wrong Reality


Candidate Obama was right when he said real change comes to Washington, and not from it, implying it was the continued strong demands of the public that might actually make things happen. The proof of how right he was is in his failure to get Congress to do anything meaningful. It's not his fault: they're a bunch of idiots, all of 'em.

On the right side of the aisle, there is not only willingness to lie and distort; it's the overt and admitted game plan. Is there a one of them that hasn't referred to Obama's plans for health care reform as "socialism?" Are they not all marching to the microphones and claiming under "Obamacare" the government will be coming to the doors of seniors and demanding that they die?

On the left, there is disorganization, disconnectedness, and displays of beholden to the same special interests as those of the right. For the life of me, I can see no reason to base "reform" on the same old system of private insurers sucking money out of the system.

One side cries "rationing" while ignoring the fact that it happens every day as people lose their insurance or are denied coverage of a particular illness. They pound the idea of "government bureaucrats" between you and your doctor, when there are now countless insurance bureaucrats who actually ARE there, and whose only concern is to avoid spending money on you. Your money, I might add.

Meanwhile, all the media go for the story of the minute and the faux media trots out mouth after orifice to claim Obama hates white people, is an illegal alien, and is deliberately trying to destroy the economy as some sort of "reparation." For the injustices done to him, I guess: forcing him into good schools, making him president, stuff like that.

In other words, despite his absolute accuracy in his electoral assessment, and despite the rightness of his ideas, it's business as usual in Washington. Everyone continues in their designated roles. Why? Because, in the final analysis, we are not as great a people as Obama's formulation would require. We're NOT -- not in enough numbers, anyway -- able to keep the pressure on. We're NOT -- and never were -- able to sort through disingenuous (to put it most kindly) rhetoric that distorts and ignores the truth of things. The Republicans do what they do because it works. Their decision to be the party of "No" is as clever as it is cynical.

In the final analysis, we the people are too scared, too selfish, too thoughtless to carry out any plan that's difficult. The desire not to rock the boat, to avoid hard choices, to believe in magic (tax cuts increase revenue, deregulation solves all problems, "the market" will do what's right, god is guiding us) is simply too much a part of who we are, and has been since Ronald Reagan. (Okay, he wasn't that into god, but he was happy to pretend he was.)

Obama bet on our inherent goodness and intelligence, on our willingness to come together when the times demand it. Congressional Democrats hope it's not true so they can play their usual games. Congressional Republicans assume it's not true and base their very existence on it, steal from us on it, retire to Argentina on it.

Barack Obama's mistake has been to let Congress have its way; he's too much of an optimist, I think.

I don't consider him perfect, godlike, a savior. I do consider him right. His concepts were our last best hope. We are facing unsustainable health care costs, destructive dependence on fossil fuels, accelerating climate change, and the worst economic meltdown in eighty years -- if, with all this going on, the most charismatic and intelligent president we've had in decades can't rally the people enough to force Congress seriously to address our problems, then no one can, at no time, under no circumstances. If he can't get us to rise above ourselves, now, of all times, in enough numbers to be meaningful, it will never happen. Period.

This was our only hope. And, in letting Congress off the hook, in becoming distracted by false arguments, in falling victim to deliberate lies and scare tactics, rewarding with airtime and giving credence to the lying liars, letting the majority party fritter, we've blown it entirely. I really believe that. We are becoming a failed nation and it's too late to do a damn thing about it. For a moment there, it looked like we had a chance. President Obama didn't fail us. We failed ourselves.

I've been to war. I've tried and failed to save people from diseases. I've seen the premature deaths of wonderful people in my own family. I've lost half my savings. These things weighed heavily, nearly too much some times. But nothing has depressed and disappointed me more than the spectacle of how my country -- not every last person, but enough to make the difference -- has responded to the crises we face. The parade of idiocy and deceit on the right; the incompetence on the left; the absolute dereliction by the press; the easy manipulability of citizenry. In crisis, we did not rise up, we fell back. To paranoia, to victimhood, to small-mindedness. Selfishness. Magical thinking. Ignorant ignoring.

We were called to greatness. But we left the phone off the hook.

12 comments:

Frank Drackman said...

Lost 1/2 your savings?!?!?!?!? WTF, who does your investment planning, Bernie Madoff???
Sure, my agressive growth funds took it in the shorts last year, thats why ya gotta DIVERSIFY...Surprised an affirmative action supporter like you didnt know that... Even GM can go bankrupt, but they ain't makin any more 1956 Mickey Mantle cards...
Too bad I can't find mine..

Frank

Beer Bottle said...

Well, it's a tough sell to the people when its salesman-in-chief admits he doesn't know what's in it, the ones who would impose it on us won't subject themselves to it, and openly mock the idea that they should read it before voting for it, since they wouldn't understand it anyway.

As much as you hate the free market, what's good about it is it is thousands of experiments, to see what works well. Obamacare will be one giant experiment, with no good way back when it fails. No wonder we the people aren't excited about it.

Will it work better than the "stimulus", guaranteed to halt unemployment at 8% (9.5% now), and declared a success? Promised to work immediately, now touted as expected to work over two years?

Will it work as well as "cash for clunkers", a clear disaster?

Has the Gifted One thought this through as carefully as he did his declaration that Cambridge cops are "stupid"? Gee, I sure hope so!

Sid Schwab said...

That's why I still post here, BB: your comments are like a breath of fresh air. It's a useful insight to know you consider a program that is so popular it used up all its allocated money and has just had double the amount allocated, "a clear disaster." Sort of puts context on all the rest of the bilge. So thanks for that. Just in case anyone might actually be tempted to take your opinion seriously.

Beer Bottle said...

BO's foresight and planning allocated enough money to run the program for four days. Does that sound like sound planning to you? Will the Obamacare program last several weeks before it runs out of money? Maybe that will seem like a success by comparison.

Dealers report a certain confusion in the whole deal:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/02/us/02cars.html?hpw

And perfectly well-running cars are destroyed, rather than being donated or sold for less to deserving families.

Cars qualifying for new purchase don't fit families, by the way. Nice job, BO!

Sid Schwab said...

Cars qualifying for new purchase don't fit families

Explain.

The fact that popularity was underestimated does not really count as a major strike. It's also being fixed. BFD.

Beer Bottle said...

I'd say the program was popular since it was just a give away scheme. People with a car worth $200 were given $4500 for it. What's not to love?

Of course, then a working car was destroyed. A loss.

It's not can BO make a popular program. Giving away money will always be popular. The point is BO's planning allowed $1 billion to last until November. That would be over 4 months. It lasted 4 days. Not thought through very well, you'd have to admit.

Maybe Obamacare will be the same way. He'll offer free" healthcare, and wildly underestimate its popularity. There will be much, much more demand than anticipated, and funds will run out.

In fact, that's exactly what we all fear.

"Cars qualifying for new purchase don't fit families"

The car you purchase has to qualify. Local media here reports people with medium sized families can't find a car large enough to fit two adults and three kids. Maybe this works for childless couples...is that good enough?

Sid Schwab said...

I'd say the program was popular since it was just a give away scheme. People with a car worth $200 were given $4500 for it. What's not to love?

Cars have to be newer than 25 years, drivable, and owned for over a year. Maybe some are worth only 200, but not many.

Of course, then a working car was destroyed. A loss.

The point was to get guzzlers off the road.

It's not can BO make a popular program. Giving away money will always be popular. The point is BO's planning allowed $1 billion to last until November. That would be over 4 months. It lasted 4 days. Not thought through very well, you'd have to admit.

Bush gave away money with his tax cuts. And with the TARP program. What program was ever perfect from the beginning? Adjusting is bad? Well, it's true that Bush thought so.

Maybe Obamacare will be the same way. He'll offer free" healthcare, and wildly underestimate its popularity. There will be much, much more demand than anticipated, and funds will run out.

In fact, that's exactly what we all fear.


A reasonable fear. He's said it will be paid for. Unless you believe that there's no problem in the trajectory of our health care system, you'd agree something needs to happen. And then tweaked as needed. I've written that I think no plan will work until there's a single payer. Time will tell, but I'll be dead.

"Cars qualifying for new purchase don't fit families"

The car you purchase has to qualify. Local media here reports people with medium sized families can't find a car large enough to fit two adults and three kids. Maybe this works for childless couples...is that good enough?


The parameters are based on the amount of gas saving, which is the point. In the situation where it doesn't apply, it doesn't apply. It wasn't (despite your characterization as a giveaway) designed to give money if there was no benefit in gas savings. And, as you must know, the 4500 is the max. Cars that don't save the right amount of gas will get a lower rebate, It's how and why it was designed. If you think we should give money to people who buy cars that don't save gas over their current car, write your Congressman, not me.

Beer Bottle said...

"Bush gave away money with his tax cuts."

If you consider all money to belong to the government, then yes, a tax cut is giving away money. I would think of it as letting people keep money they earned.

"And with the TARP program."

And I've never defended that. And we're not talking about Bush anyway, are we? That's not the point of your post, as you would say.

"He's said it will be paid for."

And the CBO said it will be paid for with a trillion dollars.

"If you think we should give money to people who buy cars that don't save gas over their current car, write your Congressman, not me."

I don't think we should give money to people who buy cars, period. A short term flash, long term problems.

My congress "men" are Democrats (women, actually) and I doubt they're listening.

Sid Schwab said...

Actually, none of this has been related to what the post is about. In this case, I carried on with your comment, but you're right: I shouldn't have, and won't again.

Anonymous said...

Cash for Clunkers is a clear demonstration of Obama's total lack of understanding of economic principles. He has no clue how an effort to take gas guzzlers off the street will affect multiple groups.

In the middle of a significant economic downturn, the govt goes and makes a plan that destroys thousands of cheap used cars.....the kind of cheap used cars poor families buy to drive themselves to work. A family with 4 kids often can't afford a bunch of new cars, but can maybe afford a few cheap used cars. So, he's making life harder for poor families by creating an artificial paucity of cheap transportation.

Then let's talk about used car dealers. He has taken a large portion of their market, lower middle class families torn between buying a gently used car or a new one, and provided a handout to get them to buy new cars. Too bad for the used car dealer. At least he can sell cheap used cars to the low income market. Oh WAIT! The govt just DESTROYED many of those cars!

Well, surely at least the family who has bought a new car is benefitting, right? Well, they got a free $4500, but of course there will be a tax increase somehow somewhere to pay for this program, along with inflation that make that free $4500 a break even proposition.

And to add insult to injury, the govt chooses a time when the value of scrap metal is extremely low to offer this program. (In good times, one can get ~$250 for scrapping a junk car, and right now they can get about $50) So, not only is the govt not recouping much money when they crush these cars to help offset the $4500 they gave out for free, but they are also contributing an artificial increase in supply of scrap metal which, coupled with the current low demand, will delay an increase value of scrap metal.

But at least the members of the UAW (Large donors to Obama) are busy making new green cars.

It's also very telling that the govt completely underestimated the "demand" of this "successful" program. It doesn't take a degree in quantum physics to know that people will line up for $4500 free dollars, just like they will line up for free healthcare. The CBO seems to understand that.

And of course, this abstractly relates to your original post. You describe Obama as the man who has what it takes to set the country straight, and vaguely infer that the citizenry is too incompetent to seize the moment.
In my humble opinion, Obama is charismatic, smart, and "educated"......but either lacks the real world experience and wisdom necessary to understand the ripple effect of his policies, or worse understands but doesn't care as he prefers to keep his major monetary support groups happy.

I've long given up expecting politicians to lead us to any form of utopia. My favorite politician is the one who taxes people the least, lets them do as they choose, and skims less off the top than his other fellow politicians.

Anonymous said...

oops....

Regards,
Precordial Thump

Sid Schwab said...

Lest we forget Bush's spin on cash for cars, at a time when the danger of oil dependency was most clear: remember this?