Wanna Die? Try Government-Run Healthcare in the United Kingdom – Daniel J. Mitchell – Townhall Finance Conservative Columnists and Financial Commentary

Wanna Die? Try Government-Run Healthcare in the United Kingdom – Daniel J. Mitchell – Townhall Finance 

I’m not a fan of the American healthcare system. It suffers from huge inefficiencies because of problems such as third-party payer, which is caused by government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid along with a system of tax code-driven over-insurance in the supposedly private sector.

But regardless of how much I grouse about the damage government causes in the United States, I can say with considerable confidence that the government-run system in the United Kingdom has even larger problems.

Here are some of the shocking details from a report in the UK-based Daily Mail.

Patients having major surgery in NHS hospitals face a much higher risk of dying than those in America, research has revealed. Doctors found that people who have treatment here are four times more likely to die than US citizens undergoing similar operations. The most seriously ill NHS patients were seven times more likely to die than their American counterparts. Experts blame the British fatality figures on a shortage of specialists and lack of intensive care beds for post-operative recovery. They also suggest that long waiting lists mean diseases are more advanced before they are treated. Researchers from University College London and Columbia University, in New York, studied 1,000 surgery patients at the Mount Sinai Hospital, Manhattan, and compared them to nearly 1,100 people who had similar operations at the Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Portsmouth. The results showed that just under ten per cent of British patients died in hospital afterwards compared to 2.5 per cent in America. Among the most seriously ill cases there was a seven-fold difference in the death rates.

Here are some additional findings.

Professor Monty Mythen, head of anaesthesia at University College London and Great Ormond Street Hospital, said: “In America, after surgery, everyone would go into a critical care bed in a highly-monitored environment. That doesn’t happen routinely in the UK. …Prof Mythen said waiting lists in the NHS would “put patients at greater risk”. He added: “We would be suspicious that the diseases would be more advanced simply because the waiting lists (in the UK) are longer.”

Since I’m in London right now, I guess the moral of the story is to stay healthy.

On a slightly more serious note, I wish I had this story in front of me when I was guest-hosting Larry Kudow’s show a couple of years ago and my lefty British co-host got all agitated when I said the British system was worse for patients.

I think I saw this guy at the Paddington tube station this morning

And on a completely serious note, the point of this post is not to say the United States has a perfect system. I hope that’s obvious from my opening paragraph. And nor am I asserting that the UK system is universally bad. In my limited understanding, British doctors and nurses do a fairly good job with basic medicine and emergency medicine.

But any system is likely to deteriorate and suffer adverse effects as government takes a larger role. I’ve had fun over the past few years with anecdotal horror stories about government-run healthcare in the United Kingdom. But as you can see from all the links in this post, I sometimes share those just for the enjoyment of mocking Paul Krugman.

The academic study linked above is far more important if you want to assess the damage of giving politicians and bureaucrats even more control over healthcare.

That’s actually a good rule for just about everything. As shown in this poster, if you ever think the answer is more government, you’ve asked the wrong question.

UK’s Death Panels Kill, Obamacare Won’t Be Different – westernjournalism.com.

UK’s Death Panels Kill, Obamacare Won’t Be Different – westernjournalism.com.

By

Obamacare Rationing Board SC UK’s Death Panels Kill, Obamacare Won’t Be Different

Obamacare-like “Death Panels” are already emptying out hospital beds in the United Kingdom. According to one report last year the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) euthanized  130,000, mostly expendable seniors. Its benignly named “Care Pathways”, kills almost 360 people every day.

Now it’s Obamcare’s turn to euthanize undesirables. The Supreme Court gave Barack Obama the right to start his own extermination program. Anybody who needs “a little bit too much care” will get put on Obama’s list.   If you were born before January 1, 1953 he has put a target on your back. You had better not get sick and you had better pray someone derails Obamcare’s euthanasia train before a “Death Panel” gavel comes down on your life. When Obama’s verdict is death for you there can be no appeal – that’s in the bill.

This system needs your death to appear to work. That is the reality of the Supreme Court’s ruling – make believe that’s not a clear and present danger and you are fooling yourself – it’s that simple and that serious.

Government programs NEVER cost near what the liars in Washington tell us they will. Simple observation tells us Obamacare is a giant Ponzi scheme. Under Obamacare, you will become a number and government bureaucrats will kill off “numbers” to make their program seem to work. They will ration care and kill off the old (60 plus) the mentally and the physically challenged.

Democrats rightly claim  the phrase “Death Panels” does not appear in Obamacare’s 2000 plus pages, but why should it? They don’t want us to recognize what they are really up to; liberals never do. Saying Obamacare has no “Death Panels” because those two words aren’t in the bill is a cynical lie. The Nazis never sent Jews to “Extermination camps” or gas chambers; they sent them to “Work camps and showers.”

Liberal Paul Krugman got it right when he slipped and said, “Some years down the pike, we’re going to get the real solution, which is going to be a combination of death panels and sales taxes…..”  

Obamacare is early death wrapped in government double talk disguised to keep us from understanding the truth. Some years down the pike, we’re going to get the truth. That truth is that to these people we’re all just numbers they will spend their careers trying to find ways to reduce. Let’s do something about it now. Vote conservative in November.

Photo credit: terrellaftermath

Economics for dummies – Tea Party Nation

 

Cover of "Economics For Dummies"

Cover of Economics For Dummies

Economics for dummies – Tea Party Nation.

Posted by Judson Phillips on December 16, 2011

A few days ago, Congressman Barbara Lee, from where else but California, was on MSNBC claiming it was imperative that unemployment benefits be extended for an additional 14 weeks.  They already are at 99 weeks. 

 A day earlier, I had stopped at restaurant for lunch.  Sometimes voice carry in places and the people next to me were talking loud enough I could easily hear the discussion. 

 There were two people there, a man and a woman.  The woman said her unemployment benefits were running out and she was hoping Congress would extend them.  If not, she said, she would have to go out and get a job paying $7 or $8 an hour until she could get a real job.

 I have no idea what this woman normally does for a living, but right now, she is taking a two-year vacation at taxpayer expense. 

 The unemployment fiasco is just another indication that liberals have absolutely no clue about economics.   Of course, why learn when you can be a liberal and the drive by media never calls you on your stupidity.

 Any economist, perhaps even one as absolutely brain dead as Paul Krugman, will tell you that anytime you subsidize something you get more of it. 

 If you subsidize beans, you get more beans.  Subsidize corn and you get more of it.  Subsidize more unemployment and you get more unemployment. 

 Let’s take our unknown diner for example.   She may not make as much money collecting unemployment as she would if she were working, but the difference for her is not enough to make want to go out and get a job.  So she remains one of the 14 million unemployed Americans.  

 Ms. Unknown Diner apparently believes she could easily go and get a job but the pay difference is just not enough to move her out of the unemployment line.

 I had heard of stories like Ms. Unknown Diner but had never I had never dealt with anyone personally who was milking unemployment just to have a paid vacation.

 Not everyone who is drawing unemployment is mooching off the system.  Many people who are freshly laid off thanks to the great Obama depression certainly need the money.   Unfortunately, there are many out there who are just using lengthy unemployment benefits as an excuse for some paid vacation.

 The good news is because the Democrats are so clueless on economics; they will be the victims of their own policies.   As long as the Democrats keep subsidizing unemployment, we are going to keep getting unemployment. 

 As long as unemployment is north of 9%, Obama can pretty much kiss his reelection good bye.

BRANNON & BATKINS: Absurdity of regulatory Keynesianism – Washington Times

BRANNON & BATKINS: Absurdity of regulatory Keynesianism – Washington Times.

Belief that hiring more workers to implement rules can lift economy is fanciful

By Ike Brannon and Sam Batkins – The Washington Times

President Obama’s latest plan to create jobs by spending government money appears dead on arrival on Capitol Hill as the administration struggles to gain the support of Democratic lawmakers, let alone Republicans. But the White House is trying a different method to use government-directed spending to supposedly create jobs. By tightening current regulations and writing new ones, says the administration, businesses will be forced to spend more money to comply with the new rules, which, in turn, will create jobs and spark economic growth.

This idea has emerged just as Congress and the courts have begun pushing back against costly regulations of questionable merit that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its regulatory brethren have issued.

Even EPA has retreated somewhat, announcing this week that it would save farmers from potentially onerous “farm dust” regulations, and earlier this month it made an effort to lessen the burden on states and utilities from its $2.7 billion Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.

In response to these perceived setbacks, the administration and its left-wing allies have trucked out the “regulation creates jobs” story, or “regulatory Keynesianism.”

One of the most ardent proselytizers of this idea is far-left columnist Paul Krugman. In fact, Mr. Krugman has criticized the White House for not being committed enough to the regulatory Keynesianism story. The Obama administration recently acquiesced on proposed standards for ground-level ozone after affected industries voiced serious concerns that the standards would increase operating costs and reduce employment. Mr. Krugman dismissed those concerns: “Tighter ozone regulation would actually have created jobs, forc[ing] firms to spend on upgrading or replacing equipment, helping to boost demand. Yes, it would have cost money – but that’s the point!”

Mr. Krugman isn’t the only one arguing that costlier regulation will create jobs. A report by a group of environmentalists and labor unions claims that the proposed tightening of two air pollution rules would create as many as 1.5 million new jobs. The report’s authors would have the public believe that the rules’ estimated $200 billion cost wouldn’t hurt employment or the economy. One wonders: If these two proposed rules would create 1.5 million jobs, why doesn’t the report call for another 10 new rules and return the U.S. economy to full employment?

The economic and rhetorical sleight of hand being performed here is truly awesome. Instead of treating the proposed rules as imposing a “cost” on businesses – and eventually consumers – the administration and its supporters repackage that cost as a boon for job creation. In their analysis of the air pollution report they note that that “constructing such new capacity and installing pollution controls will create a wide array of skilled, high-paying jobs.”

Regulatory Keynesianism is already deeply ingrained in the Obama EPA. In several of the agency’s recent analyses, the EPA treats the cost of hiring new workers and buying pollution-control equipment as a regulatory benefit, theorizing that “an increase in labor demand due to regulation may have a stimulative effect that results in a net increase in overall employment.” Not surprisingly, reclassifying these costs as benefits bolsters expensive rules that undergo cost-benefit analyses.

To pretend that forcing businesses to hire new workers to comply with a regulation represents a benefit to the economy rather than a very real cost is the reductioadabsurdum of the administration’s cynical abuse of economics. It is also a manifestation of their contempt for the voters’ intelligence.

We all want our economy to create more jobs, but placing more constraints on the private sector and hiring more regulators to enforce those constraints is not a recipe for success. The government needs to stop pretending that it can spend or regulate its way to a recovery. Instead, it needs to get out of the private sector’s way. It is non-intuitive thinking for the American left, but the EPA seems to be getting the idea with its recent pullback on dust and interstate pollution regulations. Unless Mr. Obama accepts the idea that regulations don’t create jobs, he’ll watch another president follow that ethos in 2013.

Ike Brannon is director of economic policy and Sam Batkins is director of regulatory studies at the American Action Forum. Their paper “Obama, Ryan and the Future of Regulatory Reform,” appears in the fall issue of Regulation.

Liberal Myths – John C. Goodman – Townhall Conservative

Liberal Myths – John C. Goodman – Townhall Conservative.

Did you know that Paul Krugman is more compassionate than you are? Or so he says.

In fact, just about everybody who is left of center is more compassionate than everybody who is right of center, Krugman explained in a recent New York Times editorial.

“American politics is fundamentally about different moral visions,” he wrote. If you identify with Milton Friedman’s “Free to Choose” vision you are today part of the “free to die” crowd.

That last bit is a reference to Republican presidential candidates foolishly stumbling over a Wolf Blitzer question about what should be done with a man who willfully chooses to be uninsured and then discovers needs lifesaving medical care. No, in case you are wondering, none of them said “let him die.” But Krugman would like you to believe that is the position of the entire Republican Party.

[Democrats, by the way, would also have trouble with that question. In fact there is nothing in Obama Care that guarantees health care for someone who ignores the government mandate and remains uninsured.]

Krugman is not alone. Writing at Health Affairs the other day, Princeton University economist Uwe E. Reinhardt described the current budget impasse in Washington by declaring that this country has been in:

…a long ideological war fought over the distribution of economic privilege in this country, a war that has been raging unabated for over three decades now.

One side in this war believes that the current distribution of income and wealth in this country is fair, as it rewards generously those who contribute commensurately to the economy and properly gives short shrift for those who do not — e.g., unskilled workers…

The opposing faction believes that the current distribution of income and wealth no longer is the product of a genuine meritocracy, and even if it were, that health care, education and legal care are so-called social goods to which rich and poor should have access on roughly equal terms, regardless of their own ability to pay.

Although Reinhardt doesn’t engage in the kind of ad hominem personal character attacks that are Krugman’s stock in trade, the message is still the same: one side cares about the unfortunate and the other side doesn’t.

Before going further, there is something you should know. There is no evidence whatsoever – zero evidence – that liberals are more compassionate than conservatives. In fact all the evidence points in the other direction. More about that in a moment.

Since Krugman is a Nobel Prize winning economist, I would like to turn first to the science of economics, just as Adam Smith did more than 200 years ago. What Smith realized was that it’s not compassion, or any other feeling that is going to eliminate most deprivation and suffering around the world. It’s sound economic policies, produced by rational thought.

Several years ago, I was at a conference at the Vatican and I heard another Nobel laureate, University of Chicago economist Gary Becker, make a remarkable statement. Becker said, “I believe in capitalism. The reason: capitalism confers its greatest benefits on those at the bottom of the income ladder. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t be a capitalist. And Milton Friedman thinks the same way.”

Non-economists are generally unaware of how much evidence there isin support of the Becker/Friedman position. If you look around the world, you will find that the bottom 10% of the income distribution gets about the same percent of national income in countries with the least economic freedom (2.5%) as they do in the countries with the most economic freedom (2.6%). Whether a country is capitalist or socialist doesn’t seem to matter. But there is a huge difference in the absolute level of income. In fact, the bottom 10% gets almost ten times more income ($8,474 per persons per year vs. $910) in capitalist countries than in non-capitalist countries.

Given that disparity, what is the most compassionate economic system? It is the system advocated by the University of Chicago economists and other classical liberals: a system that leaves people free to use their intelligence, their creativity and their innovative ability to pursue their own interests. In other words, it is a system in which people are “free to choose.”

That freedom and free enterprise are good for poor people is a fact of economic science. It has nothing in particular to do with compassion. But since the issue has been raised, who are the most compassionate people? It turns out, they are not liberals. In an exhaustive study of this issue American Enterprise institute president Arthur Brooks discovered that:

In 2000, households headed by a conservative gave, on average, 30 percent more money to charity than households headed by a liberal ($1,600 to $1,227). This discrepancy is not simply an artifact of income differences; on the contrary, liberal families earned an average of 6 percent more per year than conservative families, and conservative families gave more than liberal families within every income class, from poor to middle class to rich…

The differences go beyond money and time. Take blood donations, for example. In 2002, conservative Americans were more likely to donate blood each year, and did so more often, than liberals. If liberals and moderates gave blood at the same rate as conservative, the blood supply in the United States would jump by about 45 percent.

What about Krugman, personally? I don’t know him. But the next time he is on television, mute the sound and focus on the image on the screen. Is there anything about Paul Krugman that seems to be the least bit compassionate? Not to me.

Paul Krugman is Insane – John Ransom – Townhall Finance

Paul Krugman is Insane – John Ransom – Townhall Finance.

We always knew that Krugman couldn’t add or subtract. As an economist, the guy is a terrific writer. And fantasy is his genre.  

But the fact that he thinks that we’ve all been secretly ashamed of our reactions to 9/11 for the last ten years should be enough to place him in observation for indulging in too much fantasy.

“What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not,” writes Krugman as his sick 9/11 tribute, “was deeply shameful. The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue.”

Way to unify us Paul.

“Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush,” says Krugman “raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.”

This is not a country that has a great fear of expressing itself. We have way too much self-love for that. If we were secretly ashamed, we’d go on Oprah and proclaim our secret shame to the world, as many liberals like Krugman have done. Or we’d write a book about it.      

There were no fake heroes, as Krugman has called Rudy Guiliani and George W. Bush, after 9/11. No one was anxious to cash in on the war that was declared by Osama bin Laden in 1996 against the U.S.

Mistakes? Yes. There were many.  

As Winston Churchill observed, wars are made of up surprises and disappointments. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth waging.   

Contrast Bush’s reactions at 9/11 to the “Osama bin Laden is still dead” World Tour that Obama engaged in after he watched Seal Team Six dispatch bin Laden on his TV set.

All that was missing in front of Obama was popcorn and a Snuggie. No fake hero there.

Just a faux one.  

The outpouring after the cowardly attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon was universal. So was the coalition that went into Afghanistan to kick out Al Qaeda and the Taliban sheltering them.

You had all the elements that liberals love including UN authorization, abuse of women, oppression, blight, gobs of government grant money and Congressional approval to wage war in Afghanistan.

Oh. That’s right. Scratch that last one. Liberals don’t care about Congressional authorization as long as Obama’s doing something to hurt Israel and support jihadists in North Africa.      

Certainly the war that we have waged against radical Islam since 9/11, including the war that has still produced the Arab world’s only true democracy in Iraq, has cost America something.

But there has been no democracy in Egypt or Syria or Libya or any of the clients of the so-called Arab Spring. There are exactly two democracies in the Middle East: Israel and Iraq. If thriving democracies aren’t in the best interest of the United States in the Middle East, I don’t know what the hell is.  We fought for them in Europe. Why should we do less for the Middle East and Central Asia when it improves our own security?   

I will admit that the global war on terror- including the one in Iraq- is responsible for the much of the uncertainty and fear in the financial markets over the last ten years. We lost the peace dividend we gained after winning the Cold War.  

And I don’t think we’ll get back to robust financial markets until we’ve gone a much longer way towards crushing Islamists out of existence including stabilizing Iraq.

But to pretend that everything would have been great had we not invaded Afghanistan or Iraq gets you about as far as pretending Al Qaeda didn’t attack the United States.

It’s like pretending the world would have been a much better place if we hadn’t stood up against Stalin and waged the Cold War, which is exactly what some liberals would have had us do.   

And to pretend that somehow lobbing cruise missiles at Moammar Gadhafi in Tripoli is morally superior to ground operations in Iraq or Afghanistan is a logically flawed proposition.

Say what you will, but both liberals and conservatives- with the Ron Paul exception- have waged war in their own way for their own reasons.

Mr. Krugman would do well to respect those reasons.   

We have not created the conditions of subjection and oppression in the Arab world that more than anything else is responsible for the attacks of 9/11, the war in Iraq, the uprisings in the Islamic world. But he is right that we do control our actions and must be responsible for them.

But ashamed of them?

Only one American should be ashamed by his reaction to 9/11.  But the insane often feel no shame. 

KUHNER: Obama and the lunatic left – Washington Times

KUHNER: Obama and the lunatic left – Washington Times.

President and his followers intend to end America’s greatness

By Jeffrey T. Kuhner  – The Washington Times

President Obama is politically insane. This is the real meaning of his speech Thursday night in front of a joint session of Congress. Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over, expecting

a different result. By that definition, Mr. Obama is a lunatic leftist.

Much of his speech called for more of the same – government activism; massive spending on infrastructure, bridges and roads; extending the payroll tax cut; and more public aid to states and municipalities. In short, he seeks to perpetuate the dismal policies of Obamanomics. He is a reckless ideologue masquerading as a pragmatist.

Mr. Obama’s presidency has been dominated by one seminal reality – failure. His nearly $1 trillion stimulus; record budget deficits; unprecedented levels of public spending; the government bailouts of the auto, insurance, housing and banking sectors; billions heaped on “green jobs”; Obamacare; Dodd-Frank to reform Wall Street, and huge outlays for food stamps and unemployment benefits – all have failed to restore the economy.

In fact, they have done the opposite. Unemployment is 9.1 percent. Growth is anemic. In August, no new net jobs – none – were created. Consumer confidence is low. Inflation is rising. The value of the dollar plummets. Burdensome regulations are strangling business. America is being buried under a mountain of debt. For the first time in history, its credit rating has been downgraded. The country is not only on the verge of national bankruptcy, but of economic collapse.

Any reasonable person would change course – but not Mr. Obama. He is a big-government liberal who worships at the altar of statism. The fact that we are broke and can no longer afford his borrow-and-spend policies means nothing. Like all fanatics, he is disconnected from reality.

Contrary to popular myth, liberalism is not politics committed to science or rational thought. It is a substitute religion – a secular philosophy similar to Marxism that seeks to replace Christianity and provide believers with existential meaning. Hence, it must be defended at all costs, even in the face of irrefutable evidence or logic. Mr. Obama is not an anomaly among progressives. They share his stubbornness. Reassessment is not possible. If Mr. Obama truly were to tack to the center, it would represent a fatal admission of error. The liberal faith would collapse.

This is why left-wing Democrats are demanding that he defy the Tea Party – and reality. Rep. Maxine Waters of California is urging Mr. Obama to pass another trillion-dollar stimulus. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argues that Obamanomics has not spent, borrowed or taxed enough. The problem is not Keynesian liberalism, but the lack of sufficient zeal. In Bolshevik Russia, hard-core communists criticized Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin for not completely abolishing private property. They argued that it was Lenin’s “deviationism” from Marxist orthodoxy – not central economic planning and state socialism – that explained the failures of the Soviet system. For liberals, Mr. Obama is now the new Lenin.

Yet, Mr. Obama – like Lenin – cannot escape the consequences of his disastrous worldview. Whether it’s $300 billion, $1 trillion or $10 trillion – no amount of “stimulus” or public spending will provide a long-term cure for the ailing economy. The reason is simple: Government does not – and cannot – create wealth. Only the vibrant free market can.

This is why liberals are now left with only two options: lie about Mr. Obama’s record or engage in dangerous demagoguery. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is more of a cheap propagandist than a serious party spokesperson. Mrs. Wasserman Schultz insists that Mr. Obama’s stimulus “worked.” The “facts” speak for themselves, she says. They don’t. In 2009, Mr. Obama vowed that if the stimulus were passed, the jobless rate would remain under 8 percent. Under his tenure, America has lost more than 2 million private-sector jobs. Mrs. Wasserman Schultz is the equivalent of a Stalinist-era hack jabbering about the Soviet economic miracle. No one believes her – not even her staunchest supporters.

This leaves political gangsterism. Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa recently said that it’s time for unions to declare “war” on Republicans and Tea Partyers. “President Obama, this is your army,” Mr. Hoffa thundered at a Sept. 5 Labor Day rally in Detroit. “We are ready to march. Let’s take these SOBs out and give America back to an America where we belong.” Mr. Hoffa’s comments were vile, reprehensible and could foment civil violence. Labor unions, such as the Teamsters, have a long history of street brawls and physically intimidating opponents. Once these kinds of furies have been unleashed, it is difficult to contain them.

The Democrats’ hypocrisy is staggering. For days following the Tucson shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others, leading Democrats and the liberal media blamed conservative talk radio, Sarah Palin and a “climate of hate” for the massacre. Mr. Obama even called for a “new civility” and “tone,” tacitly chastising his critics. Yet, now that a key ally has called for blood to flow in the streets, the White House is silent.

Mr. Obama is a man of the hard left. He deeply loathes everything America stands for – capitalism, limited government, individual freedom and Christian civilization. In particular, he despises our exceptionalism. His stated goal is to create a “post-American world” where the United States is simply one of many countries – no bigger, better or stronger. He exhibits a form of madness, a self-loathing, reminiscent of the late pop singer Amy Winehouse. Mr. Obama keeps injecting the heroin of class warfare and socialism into our national bloodstream. And he can continue to play on the biggest stage and boast a huge audience. In the end, however, it leads to the same result: insanity and death.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute.

Obama is a Bad President: An Answer to Jonathan Alter – John Ransom – Townhall Finance

Obama is a Bad President: An Answer to Jonathan Alter – John Ransom – Townhall Finance.

Progressive Jonathan Alter is outraged that everyone is ready to “fire” Obama.

“I want to know,” wrote a snippy Alter on Bloomberg.com, “on a substantive basis, why you think he deserves to be in a dead heat with Mitt Romney and Rick Perry and only a few points ahead of Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann in a new Gallup Poll. Is it just that any president — regardless of circumstances and party — who presides over 9 percent unemployment deserves to lose?”

I was tempted to treat Alter with the “What? You got to be kidding,” routine. Any Republican should be way ahead of the president. But Alter seems to be one of the few still genuinely shocked that Obama has lost support from all segments of the American public who consider hugging the president to be inappropriate.   

So, since Alter asked sincerely, I will answer with five reasons based on substance, although I could probably come up with twenty reasons easily.

But for now, five will do.  

Each reason will come in two parts. The first part will be substantive arguments as to why Obama is a bad president because of a failed or flawed policy. The second part will put that argument into context with a campaign promise.

Reason Number One: Obamacare

Part One:

Obamcare legislation is flawed. Badly flawed. It doesn’t address the real need to bring down costs in the healthcare.

There were two reasons to reform healthcare in this country. The first purpose was to bring down runaway costs; the second was to expand coverage. At this point, it’s fair to say that even if fully implemented, no one knows what the exact outcome of Obamacare will be as to costs, although it’s safe to say coverage will expand.

Then-House Speaker Pelosi was right when she said that no one would really know what was in Obamacare until it was enacted. If that’s not an indictment of the legislation crafted by the president, I don’t know what is. I think at a minimum legislation ought to have known outcome, especially something as ambitious as Obamacare.

Instead of the “less than trillion dollars” figure that was trumpeted when Obamacare finally passed, the CBO says that the figure for the first ten years will come in north of $2 trillion. The increase will have to come from tax increases and benefit cuts.  

This isn’t a “narrative” or message problem. This is continued unease by the American public that was relatively happy with their healthcare choices and costs. And they were forced to take a replacement that isn’t going to work.         

And more and more evidence is cropping up that suggests that Americans’ fears that they would not be able to keep their current insurance under Obamcare was a legitimate concern. Because of the mandate provision, businesses are starting to make the simple decision to get rid of coverage, which is what critics said would happen.  

Poll after poll shows that 70 percent or more of Americans were already happy with their health coverage. And candidate Obama promised to make sure that Americans could keep their insurance if they were happy with it.

It was a key difference between the candidates Obama and Clinton during the primary.

“But the big difference is mandates,” wrote Paul Krugman in the NYTimes in February 2008, “the Clinton plan requires that everyone have insurance; the Obama plan doesn’t.”

“If Mr. Obama gets to the White House,” continued Krugman, “and tries to achieve universal coverage, he’ll find that it can’t be done without mandates — but if he tries to institute mandates, the enemies of reform will use his own words against him.”     

Because of the mandates that candidate Obama said he didn’t favor- and that is the key provision of Obamacare- the legislation is the largest expansion of federal government power since the Great Society, maybe ever. It imposes draconian measures on people who refuse to buy something from the federal government.

This is something that candidate Obama said he wouldn’t do.  

Bad president, bad, bad president.

Part Two:

“Under my plan to reform healthcare,” says candidate Obama under this hypothetical, “we’ll imprison anyone who doesn’t buy health insurance. And to enforce the requirement we will put 16,500 more IRS agents on the street.”

Reason Number Two: Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq

Part One:

Say what you like about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Bush did secure Congressional approval for the military actions there. Obama didn’t even bother to consult Congress before fighting a de facto war in Libya.

You can try sophistry to argue why Obama took the measures he did, but it’s only that, sophistry. Any other president would come under the same scrutiny, especially when they argued previously that to fight a war without Congressional approval would be unconstitutional.

Bad president, bad, bad president.

Part Two:

“As president of the United States,” says candidate Obama in the hypothetical, “I will deploy our forces in and around Libya. I will authorize the use of force in Libya for a period not less than six months without first- or ever- securing the approval of Congress because you can’t make me.”

Reason Number Three: If You Can’t Budget You Can’t Govern

Part One:  

Despite having big majorities for the first two years of his presidency, Obama has failed to get any budget passed. Ever. His last budget didn’t even get one vote in the Senate. Not one.

Obama’s Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt said in 2006 “If you can’t budget, you can’t govern.”

That might be the reason why we have historic budget deficits without much to show for it. The reason why the public got so involved in the debt ceiling debate is directly tied to the indiscipline shown by the White House when it comes to budgets. 

There is give and take in any budget process that’s key to building support in any organization. Too often it’s Obama’s way or the highway. And the country ends up drifting.    

John Spratt was defeated for reelection in 2010 after first being elected to Congress in 1983. That was Obama’s bad.

Bad president, bad, bad president.

Part Two:

Under my plan for economic growth and recovery,” says our hypothetical candidate Obama, “we won’t even pass budgets. We’ll run up historic deficits and raise the debt ceiling, something that I condemned my opponents for. But we’ll do it without any systematic support or budget process.”

Reason Number Four: Regulatory Overhang

Part One:

We’ll leave aside the great uncertainty that Obamacare is creating amongst businesses and concentrate on two other industries that are vital to economic recovery: Banks and Energy.

Like it or not, banks and energy are vital parts of the economy. If you want to understand why the economy is struggling to create jobs, you only have to look at what’s happening in those sectors to get why Obama’s policies have failed.

Banking: The president has used the full faith and credit of the United States to essentially guarantee the banking industry and below that real estate, which is the cornerstone of banking. Despite the guarantee and despite huge amounts of cash, banks aren’t loaning money. Part of that is demand driven, but part of it is the uncertainty surrounding Dodd-Frank banking reform.

It was clear from the mortgage crisis that banking needs better regulation. But it was also clear that part of the problem in banking was that the federal government became a partner in crime, so to speak, along with taxpayers and home buyers. Everyone was happy that the price of homes and real estate was going up. And the government created the framework for that to happen by originating about half the mortgages in the country.

The sub prime mortgage market that was created was inconceivable without the government providing the inflationary oomph that only government liquidity can really stoke.

Dodd-Frank was supposed to fix that. But it hasn’t tried to address the systemic problems of too-big-to-fail in any real way.  In fact, the administration has pandered to public outrage by demonizing bankers while keeping the banking system intact, warts and all.

We now have fewer banks in fact with larger pools of concentrated assets.

What could Obama do differently? He could break up the banks. He could bring back Glass-Steagall. Glass-Steagall was specifically designed to prevent the too-big-to-fail scenario by allowing banks to operate only in contiguous states and by forcing them out of the investment business. And it worked, until European mega-banks, not encumbered by Glass-Steagall, forced US banks to lobby for repeal saying this time things were different.

The way to address too-big-to-fail is not through Dodd-Frank, which doesn’t really touch the subject, but to make sure any one bank isn’t so big to force the rest of the system to fail. Dodd-Frank regulates every part of the banking business except for the part that keeps it from failing.  

Included in that reform should be the break up and private sale of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The government should be out of the mortgage business entirely with the exception of VA loans.

You can only get rid of too-big-to-fail by addressing the too-big part first.

Bad president, bad, bad president.

Energy: The president- and the left- has a huge ideological blind-spot when it comes to energy. The result of his policies in energy have been to make energy more expensive, to kill jobs in the US in energy and subsidiary industries at a time the country can’t afford it.

But really, there is no time the country can afford the rainbows and unicorns plan the left is following. Despite decades of research and promise, the magic bullet of renewable, plentiful, without-cost energy isn’t attainable. Ever.

After a much ballyhooed speech on energy policy that was supposed to lay out a new vision for energy in America, the New York Times was forced to issue the following correction:

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: March 30, 2011

A previous version of this article misstated how many of the president’s proposals to reduce the country’s reliance on imported oil were new in his speech on Wednesday. None of them were, not one of them.

The president can’t have it both ways.

He can’t claim that his sole focus is on jobs while he’s shuttering the power plants and oil rigs, sources that account for most of the energy we produce while he has no viable alternative of his own. America has the resources to be importing less foreign energy while creating real jobs.  

The president should stop getting in the way of developing those resources.    

Bad president, bad, bad president.

Part Two:  

“We won’t pursue natural gas, oil, coal or any other fossil fuel development under my administration. Instead we’ll focus solely on developing ‘alternative’ energies like solar and wind power by giving select companies loans, grants and cash subsidies. It hasn’t worked before but this time is different. We’ll make the alternative energy business so big that it will be too big to fail.”

Reason Number Five: The Selective Presidency

Obama is president when he wants to be, and AWOL when things are hard.

Here’s an example.

On the debt debate he was unengaged until the last minute. Then he compounded his error by scolding members of Congress like they were lazy- all while he planned vacations.

I don’t begrudge a guy a vacation, but to pretend that when Congress goes into recess they are slacking off is playing politics with it. The president doesn’t come across as the offended innocent then when he packs off to Martha’s Vineyard as the stock market tanks because of dissatisfaction with the cuts in the debt deal.

Where was Obama on the debt deal in February when he was presenting a budget that called for much bigger deficit spending?

Again: Obama wants it both ways. He wants to call for more spending in February, but in July he’s a deficit fighter. Which is it? People expect the president to have some core principles that he sticks to, that they can rely on. If he truly thinks that another $2 trillion in spending can get us out of the hole on unemployment, then he should argue for it.

Part Two:

“If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”- actual statement of Obama from an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer on Feb. 1, 2009.

Make a case for it, be presidential.     

Instead, Obama lectures and preens and blames everyone else. It’s S&P’s fault, or Congress’, or George Bush’s, or the rich’s, or it’s the greedy bankers, or oil companies, or insurance companies.

He’s one of the most eloquent presidents that we’ve had during an age when eloquence can reach everywhere. Yet few people now believe anything he says.

What does that say?

Bad, bad president.

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