Obama's Attention Deficit Disorder

Posted: Oct 25, 2013 12:01 AM

The hallmark of Barack Obama's zig-zag presidency is that he never focuses on a problem for very long. He shifts from one to another in a desperate search for an issue that will save his legacy.

One moment he's threatening to bomb Syria's poison gas depots. The next, he's embracing a sneaky delaying strategy from the Kremlin, letting Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad freely resume his brutal attacks on his own people.

Remember Syria? A mere two months after Assad gave the go-ahead to launch a grisly sarin gas attack on Syrian civilians, "the episode appears to have been forgotten" in the Oval Office, the Washington Post observed last week.

Russian President Vladimir Putin offered a deal to begin long term negotiations that would eliminate Assad's stocks of chemical weapons. Negotiations are to begin late next month in Geneva. But this deal -- which Putin and his pal Assad put together -- will take many months if not years to achieve -- as Assad proceeds with his deadly suppression of Syria's rebellion.

Assad has resumed bombing the civilian population in urban centers, and has been blocking food supplies in an attempt to starve his people in a brutal effort to put down Syria's rebel uprising once and for all.

The deal that was so eagerly embraced by Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry is accomplishing just what Russia and Assad wanted: time to finish their evil deeds without a peep from Washington.

Of course nothing will come from the meeting in Geneva, which is likely to turn into a lengthy exercise in diplomatic mumbo-jumbo. Assad has made it clear he does not plan to leave office, and the U.S. has no serious proposals that could force him to step down.

"The West's problem is that the camp it supports in the negotiations is divided and has no control on the ground," Assad said in a recent interview with the Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar.

Meantime, the blood bath continues, a messy subject the president avoids talking about.

"Perhaps it's no surprise that it's Mr. Assad rather than Mr. Obama who wants to talk about this. For the United States, it's a bleak and shameful picture," the Post said in a lead editorial.

But for the Obama administration, that was yesterday's crisis, and they've moved on to other problems, like the approaching collapse of Obamacare.

First came the bungled rollout of the on-line, sign-up process that prevented untold thousands of people from completing the complicated and lengthy application forms.

Then came revelations that the sign-up system failed to pass test runs just days before its official launch. A mere 2,000 test users tried to finish the first step but the system crashed. Incredibly, the administration went ahead with its rollout anyway.

That has forced the White House to extend the deadline to purchase health insurance through online market places for another six weeks before the government penalty kicks in for those who do not obtain coverage.

(Note the Obama administration still refers to a punitive "penalty" for failing to buy insurance, and not to a "tax," the term that was at the core of the Supreme Court's finding that Obamacare passed Constitutional muster.)

"It is the latest sign that the health care law remains a moving target," the Post said Thursday.

More than that, it's a further example of a deeply flawed national healthcare law that critics have long said cannot work and should be repealed. It will lead to higher health care premiums in the insurance market, force businesses to drop their employee plans or lay off workers to cut their costs, and erode the kind of quality health care we have come to expect in our country.

While the White House was frantically attempting to tape together a plan that was rapidly coming unraveled, other issues were looming on the horizon that will define the Obama years.

There was the lackluster, part-time Obama economy where it has become harder than ever to find good paying, full-time jobs in our country. Businesses are not hiring the way they did in previous administrations.

Over the past five years, Obama has demonstrated that he does not understand what produces jobs and a healthy economy. He is still pushing the same old public spending, snake oil medicine for what ails the economy -- remedies that he was peddling back in 2009.

Last week, with his job approval polls sinking into the low 40s, he offered some suggestions about how to reshape the budget to "create jobs." Except, that it was the same old recipe he has offered again and again to a Congress that has ignored his recommendations, even among the Democrats who run the Senate.

He called for closing "corporate tax loopholes that don't help create jobs, and frees up resources for the things that do help us grow -- like education and infrastructure and research."

But enormous expenditures on roads, bridges and rail projects have had no permanent impact on our economy, and neither have growing education and R&D budgets which are very long-term investments anyway.

This economy needs a strong booster shot in capital investment and that can come from closing tax loopholes and using the savings to cut the tax rates for businesses and individuals. Democrats and Republicans are working on this idea right now, but Obama has been ignoring their plan that has always worked in the past.

There are similarly large economic and social disasters looming ahead for our country, but Obama is oblivious to them, too.

A new economic report out this week finds a majority of Americans who have 401(k)-type investment accounts are going deeper into debt faster than they're saving for their retirement.

Before the Obama years, 46 percent of such workers were piling up debt faster than they were building their savings. That figure has now risen to 64 percent.

The Gallup Poll reported Thursday that 43 percent of Americans surveyed said they were "struggling" in this economy.

When will Obama get around to that problem, or even acknowledge it exists?

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