By Thomas Sowell
September 11, 2009
“Hubris-laden charlatans” was the way a recent e-mail from a reader characterized the Obama administration. That phrase seems especially appropriate for the Charlatan-in-Chief, Barack Obama, whose speech to a joint session of Congress was both a masterpiece of rhetoric and a shameless fraud.
To tell us, with a straight face, that he can insure millions more people without adding to the already skyrocketing deficit, is world-class chutzpa and an insult to anyone’s intelligence. To do so after an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office has already showed this to be impossible reveals the depths of moral bankruptcy behind the glittering words.
Did we really need CBO experts to tell us that there is no free lunch? Some people probably did and the true believers in the Obama cult may still believe the President, instead of believing either common sense or budget experts.
Even those who can believe that Obama can conjure up the money through eliminating “waste, fraud and abuse” should ask themselves where he is going to conjure up the additional doctors, nurses, and hospitals needed to take care of millions more patients.
If he can’t pull off that miracle, then government-run medical care in the United States can be expected to produce what government-run medical care in Canada, Britain, and other countries has produced– delays of weeks or months to get many treatments, not to mention arbitrary rationing decisions by bureaucrats.
Obama can deny it in words but what matters are deeds– and no one’s words have been more repeatedly the direct opposite of his deeds– whether talking about how his election campaign would be financed, how he would not rush legislation through Congress, or how his administration was not going to go after CIA agents for their past efforts to extract information from captured terrorists.
President Obama has also declared emphatically that he will not interfere in the internal affairs of other nations– while telling the Israelis where they can and cannot build settlements and telling the Hondurans whom they should and should not choose to be their president.
One of the secrets of being a glib talker is not getting hung up over whether what you are saying is true, and instead giving your full attention to what is required by the audience and the circumstances of the moment, without letting facts get in your way and cramp your style. Obama has mastered that art.
Con men understand that their job is not to use facts to convince skeptics but to use words to help the gullible to believe what they want to believe. No message has been more welcomed by the gullible, in countries around the world, than the promise of something for nothing. That is the core of Barack Obama’s medical care plan.
President Obama tells us that he will impose various mandates on insurance companies but will not interfere with our free choice between being insured by these companies or by the government. But if he can drive up the cost of private insurance with mandates and subsidize government insurance with the taxpayers’ money, how long do you think it will be before we have the “single payer” system has he has advocated in the past?
Mandates by politicians are what have driven up the cost of insurance already. Politicians love to play Santa Claus and leave it to others to raise prices to cover the inevitable costs.
Politicians have driven privately owned municipal transit systems out of business in many cities, by simply imposing costs and restricting the fare increases needed to cover those costs. The federal government can drive out private insurance the same way that local politicians have driven out private municipal transit and replaced it with government-run transit systems.
Barack Obama’s insistence that various dangerous policies are not in the legislation he proposes sounds good but means nothing. Unbridled power is a blank check, no matter what its rationale may be. No law gave the President of the United States the power to fire the head of General Motors, but TARP money did.
When there are “advisory” panels on what treatments to approve and the White House’s existing medical advisor has complained of Americans’ “over-utilization” of medical care, what does it take to connect the dots?
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His Web site is http://www.tsowell.com.
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