When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do? -- John Maynard Keynes

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Obama, A Victim of His Own Success

Elected without a clue as to how Washington really works (nor the world, as noted by Bill Clinton), the inexperienced freshman Senator from Illinois, rode a wave of Hope and Change right over the Clinton machine, the economic collapse of 2008, and the disastrous Bush Presidency, straight into the White House. People were joyous, Hope and Change were on the way!

Unfortunately, with few exceptions, it turned out to be more of the same. More of the same Bush administration policies-- more NSA, secret Courts, secret wars a/k/a drone attacks, more Police State, more intrusions and infringements of freedoms, including freedom of the press and other Constitutional rights, more Wall Street bailouts, more federal prosecutions for leaks, more Patriot Act insanity, more out-of-control and wasteful government bureaucracy and spending (how could anyone forget the infamous GSA scandal--which is only the tip of an iceberg of continuing gross US government waste). Meanwhile comprehensive tax reform, comprehensive entitlements reform, immigration reform, and investments in infrastructure languish because a President doesn't know how to get things done. All he can do, all he is good at, or good for, -- and after all, these are the only things that got him elected in the first place (other than just the excitement of the prospect of having the first African-American elected President) -- is make speeches, blame Republicans, and attend political fund-raising events and ceremonial functions.

His one signature achievement—health care insurance reform via the so-called Affordable Care Act a/k/a Obamacare, passed in his first term when Democrats controlled both the House and Senate—has now turned out to be an unmitigated disaster, a major embarrassment, or as one Democrat Senator predicted earlier this year, a huge train wreck.

Poor Obama, with no prior management or executive experience—in either business or government—he is now at wits’ end on how to get things done, especially now when things (e.g., Obamacare) invariably turn out bad, as they often do when allowed to just develop on their own.

I think of Ike—Dwight Eisenhower—on the eve of D-day. An historic, unprecedented massive invasion of a continent, coordinating multi-national forces (and egos), unknown risks, high probabilities of failure (even Churchill was greatly apprehensive), months in the planning—but Eisenhower was in command, he planned and knew the details, and on the eve of the launch of the operation, where was he? He was not ensconced at headquarters, surrounded by subservient staff and a sycophant news media. We know where Ike was because we have the photographic evidence-- he was with the troops, their faces already blackened in preparation for the invasion. And yet, Eisenhower had already prepared a statement taking total and full responsibility for a failed invasion, should it have occurred. That’s leadership.

In comparison, the launch of the ACA a/k/a Obamacare should have been a piece of cake. The website?—it’s not rocket science, but it does require careful planning, testing, and execution by engineers, programmers, and designers, prior to launch—ask Amazon, Google, etc. The cancelled policies? Obama (and other Democrats) should have never promised that “if you like your current health insurance policy you can keep it. Period." He (and other Democrats) either knew, or should have known, at the time, that was not true. I’ll take Obama’s word that he thought it was true at the time he said it – many, many times he and others in his administration said it -- including as recently as last year’s Presidential campaign for re-election. That fact alone shows inept leadership. He didn’t even know the consequences of  his own health insurance reform legislation! And yet he was making irresponsible, untrue promises about his program which has now negatively impacted millions of Americans whose own affordable health care insurance has been cancelled due to the requirements of Obamacare.

Mr. Obama is now in a predicament of his own making. He cannot just issue an order for all policies to be renewed, like he would have everyone believe—sorry, not only is Obamacare itself at risk of "death spiral" by the effects of such an edict, but insurance companies are regulated by both federal and state governments. (See: The White House’s Obamacare fix is about to create a big mess). Insurance policies have to be approved by state regulators. Many of those cancelled policies cannot be renewed as a matter of state law and regulation. In preparation for the roll-out of Obamacare and its requirements, the Obama administration told the states—here are the criteria ALL policies have to meet. In reliance on the instructions and regulations issued by the Obama administration, each of those fifty states over the past year(s) formulated plans and approved policies for 2014 and beyond, and told insurance companies which policies could not be issued or renewed after 2013. And now Obama changes his mind? You’re kidding right? Unfortunately for Obama, and the millions of Americans with cancelled health insurance due to Obamacare, that is not how the world works.

More on this subject:
Why Obama Can't Just Uncancel All Those Insurance Plans - Businessweek

If Healthcare.gov Isn't Fixed By December, What's Obama's Plan B? - Businessweek


The Big Picture

Financial Crisis - The Telegraph

JohnTheCrowd.com | The Sailing Website

Craig Newmark - craigconnects