The "jobs summit," the economy, Copenhagen (and East Anglia), Tiger Woods -- in the news an abundance of the bizarre. And let us not overlook Tareq and Michaele Salahi, that other uncredentialed couple oddly winding up in the White House.
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The Democrats are fixated on doing it. Barack Obama wants a bill, any bill, rather than no bill at all -- and has dispatched the estimable Bill Clinton to beg the Senate to borrow and steal to get it. No worries that the 4,000 pages of health-care legislation before both congressional houses would fail all three of the president's stipulations: higher quality medicine at lower cost extended to 40 million uninsured. Pass whatever bill now and amend it to socialist perfection downstream. No problem.
But there are lots of problems: plunging popular support for what the Democrats are up to on ObamaCare (or is it PelosiCare?) -- and plunging support for the president generally; a crisis of public confidence over Democratic competence. An absence of genuine bipartisanship. (Maine Republican Senator Olympia Snowe, whom the Democrats have royally courted on health care, finds them "railroading solutions along partisan lines" and -- regarding irresponsible health-care legislation -- determined "to ram it, to jam it" through Congress.)
Never mind that doing so would mean higher taxes, higher premiums, and rationing. Never mind that it would break the economy and saddle the young with unbearable carrying costs. Never mind that for instance (1) the proposed new long-term care entitlement would decimate the budget (the way Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid have not?), and that (2) mandating employers to provide health insurance would cost an estimated 1.6 million jobs through 2011 (and this with unemployment already at 10 percent). Oh, and (3) never mind that in 2020, about two-thirds of the estimated 40 million uninsured still would be...uninsured.
Barack the magic pacifist may have transmogrified into Barack the lead-dispensing war president. Let's see.
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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