Barack Obama

Robert Samuelson on Obamacare: "It's not now, and it's not 'us'"


The Washington Post economics columnist is none too impressed by the president's contributions to the health care debate:

Yeah, but Sarah Palin exaggerated that one time on Facebook!

One job of presidents is to educate Americans about crucial national problems. On health care, Barack Obama has failed. Almost everything you think you know about health care is probably wrong or, at least, half wrong. Great simplicities and distortions have been peddled in the name of achieving "universal health coverage." The miseducation has worsened as the debate approaches its climax.

There's a parallel here: housing. Most Americans favor homeownership, but uncritical pro-homeownership policies (lax lending standards, puny down payments, hefty housing subsidies) helped cause the financial crisis. The same thing is happening with health care. The appeal of universal insurance—who, by the way, wants to be uninsured?—justifies half-truths and dubious policies. That the process is repeating itself suggests that our political leaders don't learn even from proximate calamities.

Whole thing here. Samuelson's "Lessons From the Great Inflation" here.

NEXT: "He does have Republican values. Is it going to make a big splash with his current identification as a vampire? That's only for the voters to decide."

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  1. Wait. This is Robert Samuelson? Did he take a walking tour of Damascus sometime recently?

    1. His name was Robert Paulson.

      1. He was killed serving Project Mayhem, sir.

    2. Robert ? Paul

      1. Thanks, MikeP – I got the wrong Samuelson.

        Sort of like mistaking Thomas Friedman for Milton, David or Petri

  2. The same thing is happening with higher education, too. Are we starting to see a pattern here? No? Just me? Damn!

    1. Remember back during the darkest-looking times of the crisis, we kept seeing people calling for banks to forgive student loans?

  3. The points Samuelson raises are good. I especially like the data that at medicare enrollment, there was no spike in longevity. What we basically have proposed is another entitlement, by a government that refuses to pay for goodies already.
    Like more insurance, with no competition as far as price or services rendered, will control costs.
    What is most disappointing to me however, is that the incentives for bad performance remain locked in place, without any effort to change those policies.
    O silly me – we keep the bankers who make bonuses in millions for making trillions of loans without thinking if they would be paid back. And we can’t use that simple libertarian idea….O, what is it…its right on the tip of my tongue….uh….O!!! right! FAILURE.

  4. Just let The One get his paws on health care. He’ll take a good that is finite (health care) and turn it into enough for everyone (like Jesus with the bread and fishes). So, you know…

  5. I eagerly await the next thing that the Obama administration fucks up royally.

    1. Probably Iran. Or maybe the Internet. Or porn.

      1. They’d better not mess with porn…them’s fightin words

        1. Or fisting words.

          1. The silver liniing in all of this is that this has kept him and the Congressvermin so preoccupied that they haven’t been able to screw with anything else, much.

            C’mon GRIDLOCK.

      2. I’m going to guess that it’ll be some fairness doctrine type shit or, if he’s really retarded, gun control.

        1. Just give me time, I’ll get to all of them.

          I’ve got all the right folks in place to handle each of these issues.

        2. Fairness control?

        3. Fun control?

          1. Funbags control. All your tits are belong to him.

            1. Oh, that’s so wrong.

      3. Obviously, they’ll go after Iranian Internet Porn. Goodbye Ahmagonnacumonyourjaw #7.

    2. Comprehensive immigration reform is next on the agenda

  6. How did that hippy in the picture get a lab coat?

    1. Look at the beard on that bitch.

        1. Honestly, if that guy walked into my hospital room to do anything but social therapy with hand puppets, I’d be calling security.

          1. He’s obviously the Wellness Coordinator. Duh.

    2. I love the lab coats. Yep, we ran right out from the ER to stand next to the president and applaud. Why don’t they just wear some f—ing t-shirts with DOCTOR printed on the front?

      1. Maybe they should also take their stethoscope, stick it up their ass, and walk off the stage. They’d be more useful that way.

      2. Those lab coats are right up there with the smocks on that Iraqi propaganda reel during the First Gulf War with “Baby Milk Factory” on the back.

  7. “One job of presidents is to educate Americans about crucial national problems.”

    I really don’t want any president educating me about anything.

    Also, that doesn’t look too sanitary. Those doctor smocks are getting white house herpes all over them.

    1. One job of presidents is to leave us the fuck alone.

      1. What? What? Are you joking?

    2. Yeah, I just flipped through that “Constitution” thingie again and I ain’t finding anything about the president being in charge of educating people. Probably hidden somewhere in the commerce clause.

      1. Let me find that for you.

        1. If you don’t, I shall publically taunt you for a second time.

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  10. Say, what’s the deal with the lab coats? Is there a secret laboratory in the White House? None of the researchers I’ve known wear lab coats outside of the work environment.

    1. Lab coats make the people wearing them look smart. Shit, a chimp in a lab coat looks smart. Well, smarter than a chimp in overalls, at least. But nothing looks as smart as a chimp with a top hat and monocle. NOTHING.

      1. UAW chimp can still kick Tenure chimp’s ass.

        1. Not when Tenure chimp hires UFC Chimp to protect him. Jesus, haven’t you ever seen My Bodyguard? That’s, like, its exact plot.

        2. A Trunk Monkey could take them both.

          1. Where does mustache-twirling typical libertarian chimp fit in to all of this?

      2. Works for Mr Peanut.

        1. Wow, I’m impressed. SCOTUS is in Austin for the big music festival? Who knew?

      3. This reminds me of that Lab Whore Day bit on Urkobold for some reason.

    2. Not sure whether you’re joking or not, but it was a planned White House photo op to help sell their health care bill. The ones who didn’t bring their coats as asked were handed replacement coats by WH staff.

      1. Yeah, I really don’t want treatment from any physician who would expose equipment to contamination like that. Does shit like this really look more credible than if they were wearing regular smart guy shit like a sweater, as they would at any other formal physician-douchebag-seminar or banquet?

        1. The moronic marks won’t know they are supposed to be physicians without the white coats.

      2. I saw that image on CNN when it happened – on mute – and laughed my ass off. Those doctors really should be embarrassed for being massive tools who’s only reason for being there was to provide propaganda imagery.

        Even if they supported the bill itself I would hope they at least realize what massive douchebags they’re being.

        1. Obama can’t make a speech without a bleacher-full of adoring apes behind him. It isn’t Triumph of the Will but it doesn’t have to be. Democrats are more easily persuaded than Nazi-wannabees.

  11. I still can’t believe Obama and the Democrats doubled down on Health Care. Wrong bill, wrong time.

    Huge, huge failure for year one and now likely year two. Can’t believe the Republicans will get right back in to some sort of power position.

    Paul Ryan seems like the only sensible guy in Congress, by they way. Republicans need more like him. Democrats need more Paul Ryans too.

    1. STFU Lyle, we need less people in congress like Paul Ryan.

      Lyle = Ryan staffer

    2. I agree! More people in Congress who take positions that may be disastrous to their careers, though preferably not as bone-headed as social security privatization.

      1. Social security privatization was fucking stupid. What we need is social security abolishment.

        1. It just so happens that it’s happening right now, all on its lonesome.

      2. Social Security privatization worked well in Chile.

      3. As flawed as social security is it will not be changed to a private system in the foreseeable future. You have a certain age group who would be double-fucked by such an arrangement–paying taxes to support current retirees while being explicitly told that they will not see any of the money they have paid into the system for decades and must completely finance their own retirement. I’m 43 so I’d probably fall into that unfortunate group.

  12. They’re coming to take me away, ha-ha
    They’re coming to take me away, ho-ho ha-ha he-he
    To the funny farm where life is beautiful all the time
    And I’ll be happy to see those nice young men
    In their clean white coats
    And they’re coming to take me away!

  13. That the process is repeating itself suggests that our political leaders don’t learn even from proximate calamities.

    Or maybe our leasers don’t care about proximate calamities as long as they can blame someone else, keep getting reelected, and stay in a position to do favors for their cronies.

    1. Either that or they are just too stupid to understand what happened or maybe both. The end result is the same in any case. So it doesn’t really matter. They are either monumentally stupid or monumentally corrupt.

      1. …and they must be stopped by any and all means consistent with law and order.

    2. Actually now that I think about it more, it is that they really don’t understand how to economy works or how their actions could possibly hurt it. Liberals and politicians in general look at the economy as some kind of magic machine that produces wealth through processes involving sheer luck and chance. That is why they have no problem taking enormous amounts of money from the productive. They honestly don’t understand that someone like like Bill Gates made all that money by providing a valuable good or service. They think the only difference between Bill Gates and the guy living in the dumpster behind the 7-11 is pure chance and circumstance. Since they don’t understand how the economy works and thinks it works thought chance and mysterious mechanisms, they have no idea that their actions could ever negatively effect the economy. Metaphorically, they really think power comes from the plug in. So the thought that all of their stealing and good deads could ever cause the economy to crash and stop producing wealth never crosses their minds.

      1. Are you serious?

      2. I think there’s alot of truth to that, John. I also think it’s a possibility that they don’t really care if the economy goes down the shitter as long as everybody is equal even if we’re all equally poor (except them of course)

      3. I think that more of a problem is that many understand somewhat how the economy works, but still see it as a zero sum game, where wealth is just moved around rather than created. So they believe that increased wealth for some must mean that someone else is getting screwed.

  14. Education is not the president’s job. The president’s job is to bomb Arabs and, if neccessary, to exterminate the human race in a nuclear holocaust.

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  16. I have some vague notion in the back of my head that the president’s job is to execute the will of Congress. Call me nuts but I’d swear I heard that in my 8th or 9th grade government classes.

  17. Being overly pedantic, are we not? Samuelson is saying that the President, as the “face” of government, has the job of, oh, not lying to us. Allow the man to speak offhandedly; he had a lot of good stats thrown our way. So stop sniping.

  18. Shut the fuck up, jj and Tony.

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