Political Hay

The Disgrace of the Ruling Class

For starters, we now have confirmation that Barack Obama truly loves poor people.

By 9.22.10

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We now have confirmation that Barack Obama truly loves poor people. Because he is creating so many of them.

The Census Bureau reports that America suffers with more people in poverty now than ever before in its history of reporting on poverty -- 44 million. That's up nearly 4 million in the last year alone, with the poverty rate shooting up to 14.3%. One in seven Americans now suffers in poverty.

That follows the report that foreclosures hit their all time high in August, up 25% over a year earlier in August, 2009. As Stephen Meister reported in Monday's New York Post, "That makes the ninth straight month repos have increased on a year over year basis."

Before that was the August jobs report, which showed the economy still losing jobs, and the unemployment rate still rising, up to 9.6%, 32 months after the recession began. Nearly 15 million remain unemployed, with over 6 million long term unemployed for 6 months or more, the highest since the Great Depression. Also still rising in August was the nearly 9 million stuck working part time for economic reasons, up another 331,000. Another 2.4 million "wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job in the prior 12 months," but had given up. That makes 26.2 million Americans unemployed or underemployed.

On Monday, the National Bureau of Economic Research declared that the recession had technically ended in June, 2009. But with the average recession since World War II lasting 10 months, and the longest previously lasting 16 months, this sorry record above 32 months after the start of the recession only shows how badly Obamanomics has failed the American people.

Moreover, the economic growth we have experienced has been less than half the growth we have enjoyed after similarly severe downturns. The economy grew by 7.7% in the first four quarters of Reagan's recovery in the early 1980s. Even under President Ford, real GDP grew by 6.2% in the year after the 1974-75 recession. Yet, under President Obama's policies, economic growth is again in a tailspin already, falling from 5% in the fourth quarter of 2009, to 3.7% in the first quarter this year, to 1.6% in the second quarter, portending a renewed, double dip recession. That double dip is a lock if the crazy, Obama/Democrat tax piracy increases go through next year.

Indeed, a year after the recovery supposedly got under way, GDP still remains below its last previous peak in the fourth quarter of 2007. By contrast, in the Reagan recovery, the economy soared past its previous peak in 6 months. The boom then lasted effectively for another 25 years, which we are not going to see this time. Not until Obama is removed from office, and his policies reversed, with Reaganomics restored.

Most recently, somehow Obamanomics now seems to be reviving inflation as well, with prices for gold and silver last week rising to record levels. We haven't seen that stagflation since Jimmy Carter's 1970s, the last time the throwback Keynesian economics at the center of Obamanomics was in power.

The Disgrace of Obamacare Authoritarianism

Soon exceeding even this disgrace of Obamanomics will be the disgrace of Obamacare. As the lies told to win passage of President Obama's national health care takeover are now becoming exposed, the Administration is resorting to authoritarian measures to cover them up.

President Obama barnstormed the country for his health care takeover plan promising that despite adopting or sharply expanding three entitlement programs, it would actually reduce the deficit. He was not honest in failing to disclose that this was based on $5 trillion in Medicare cuts over the first full 20 years of Obamacare, as documented in my own article in the September 9 Wall Street Journal, based on the government's own Annual Report of the Medicare Board of Trustees.

These are primarily cuts in Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals for the health care services they provide to seniors. Moreover, these are cuts for seniors that are already retired today, not future retirees. This is like trying to maintain our national defense while refusing to pay the people who make the bullets, guns, bombs, tanks, planes and ships. How long do you think our nation's defenses would last under that policy? That policy will similarly create chaos in health care for America's seniors. If the government is not going to pay, then doctors and hospitals are not going to provide the health services on which America's seniors rely.

Similarly, President Obama barnstormed the nation telling us over and over that his government takeover health plan would reduce health care costs and "bend the cost curve downward" for "our families, our businesses, and our government." Yet, just last week, there he was, saying, "As a consequence of us getting 30 million additional people health care, at the margins that's going to increase our costs -- we knew that." This doubletalk was not honest. (The plan doesn't even get 30 million additional people health insurance coverage, either. Truly, you can't believe a word the man says).

Moreover, before a national TV audience, President Obama scorned the idea that his health insurance mandate forcing all workers to buy the health insurance he chooses was a tax. Now his lawyers are in court arguing that it is constitutional because it is a tax.

True, given the polls, the only people President Obama fooled with his health care dishonesty were Congressional Democrats. But the American people expect their President to tell them the truth. Congressional Democrats will learn that anew this fall.

In a desperate attempt to avoid that result, we now enjoy Venezuelan style authoritarianism from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Earlier this month, Sebelius wrote to the health insurance industry trade association America's Health Insurance Plans condemning insurers for attributing their 2011 premium increases to ObamaCare, and warning that "there will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases."

As the Wall Street Journal explained on September 13, "The tone of Ms. Sebelius's letter suggests that she doesn't understand that money is exchanged for goods and services, and that if Congress mandates new benefits, premiums will rise." Indeed, many of us warned from the beginning that Obamacare would increase health costs. Now it is just starting to do so, precisely as we predicted.

Recall the health care summit hosted by President Obama at the beginning of this year, just before Obamacare was rammed through Congress. Senator Lamar Alexander was trying to tell Obama that even CBO, under the authority of Congressional Democrats, had said that Obamacare would cause health insurance premiums to rise. But Obama imperiously disputed him as "not factually accurate," and then launched into a confused and convoluted argument as to why CBO had really said health insurance premiums would be going down. He insisted that he was sure he was right, and that he had gone over and over this with CBO, challenging Alexander to resolve the issue publicly "before we leave today" because "this is an example of where we've got to get our facts straight."

But Obama and the Democrats never did get the facts straight, insisting to this day that the Obamacare critics are just misrepresenting the truth. But the truth is that 2+2=4, and that is what the Democrats are continuing to deny. If they mandate additional benefits, that costs money, and it is just a matter of math that health care premiums must rise to pay for it. And if they create incentives to cause health care demand to soar, while causing health care supply to decline, as Obamacare does, the inevitable result is to increase health costs further. CBO just scratched the surface.

But the Democrat strategy is to demagogue these inevitable cost increases as the insurance industry's fault, on their fundamental political assumption these days that the public is stupid and easily fooled and manipulated. Sebelius's letter takes this a step further, to outright authoritarianism, threatening to run insurers out of business if they tell the public the truth about Obamacare causing cost increases. Indeed, Sebelius demands that insurers hide the costs by eating the losses rather than increasing premiums to cover them. The Journal continues, "In other words, insurers must accept price controls now or face the retribution of a de facto ban on selling their products to consumers four years from now. This is nasty stuff and an obvious attempt to shift political blame for rising insurance costs before the election." This is exactly what is going on in Massachusetts right now, under their earlier adopted version of Obamacare.

But since 2+2=4, Sebelius's demands do not add up. Insurers don't survive in the marketplace eating losses. Ultimately, her demands will just drive private insurers out of business altogether. Smarter Democrats know, and, indeed, hope for that. For that will leave them with the complete socialized medicine they foolishly desire.

This manipulative authoritarianism, however, is not American. It reflects the emerging third world authoritarianism of the Obama/Democrat regime, which the American people need to remove from power before they lose the freedom to even do so.

The Death of Media Bias

The disgrace of what has been rightly termed The Ruling Class extends now to the Establishment Media as well. Following his Saul Alinsky rulebook, Obama has decided to demonize, mock and ridicule John Boehner, who would be the Speaker of the House under the new, emerging Republican House majority.

Right on cue, the New York Times follows this party line with a front page exposé featuring the new anti-Boehner theme. Bob Schieffer chimes in on CBS. The most they have got on Boehner is his excessive tan, and that as a long time member of Congress he has met with lobbyists representing industry. But they seem to think that is enough.

Anyone who is still looking to these old media dinosaurs for their news does fit the bill of easily fooled and manipulated. Media "bias" is dead, because bias does not remotely cover what these manipulators are up to. The New York Times, the Washington Post, NBC, CBS, ABC, are not journalistic enterprises with a "bias." They are partisan political activist organizations posing as journalistic enterprises.

Even on the editorial pages, you can't get analysis that reflects the real world. Witness E.J. Dionne's column in the Washington Post on September 16. Dionne approvingly quotes Mike Castle just defeated in the Delaware GOP Senate primary as saying that the domination of a party by its most ideological wing "is a more extensive problem right now in the Republican Party than in the Democratic Party."

The Democrats are led by the most left-wing President in American history, with a fully documented past of associating with Marxist extremists, and even worse, which he has never remotely disavowed. Their Speaker of the House is the ultra-left San Francisco Democrat Nancy Pelosi. The Democrat House leadership includes the equally ultra-left Barney Frank from Boston, Henry Waxman from Hollywood, John Conyers from Detroit, Pete Stark, and David Obey, among others. Party councils are dominated by the SEIU, ACORN refugees, and the most extreme left-wing revolutionaries of the labor movement. And the Democrat Party has just nominated in that same Delaware Senate primary another self-avowed Marxist who supports all of Obama's tax hikes, spending increases, record shattering deficits and debt, Obamacare, cap and trade, card check, etc.

But they tell us the domination of the party by its most ideological wing is a bigger problem for the Republican Party than the Democrat party. What most readers do not know is that Dionne himself is an unrepentant prep school Marxist, as reflected in the pages of the Harvard Crimson during his college days.

In his column, and the column by David Broder alongside, the Tea Party primary victories are explained by the assertion that so many people have left the Republican Party that it is shrunken down now to only its right wing. This is the same Republican Party that sports a record double-digit lead in the generic polls for Congressional races, where just an even split would imply a Republican House majority. Do these folks understand American politics today enough to even write about it? We will find out soon enough.

The defeat of Mike Castle is an enormous conservative victory that will reverberate in GOP politics for many years to come. Every Republican Senate candidate opposes cap and trade now, and is rightly a confirmed skeptic on global warming. Christine O'Donnell's victory over Castle seals that as party orthodoxy. Defeated as well is the willingness to engage in the old Bush 41 style budget deals trading permanent tax increases for transient spending cuts, which would tip the economy into a depression today. Both Dionne and Broder bemoan that.

Those conservatives and Republicans who have badmouthed O'Donnell have poorly served the party, true conservatives, the Tea Party movement, and America, which is in mortal danger right now from what Newt Gingrich has rightly called the secular socialist machine. The idea that Delaware voters will unavoidably flee now to an avowed Marxist with the above extremist positions is daft. True patriots will keep the focus there where it belongs.

When the Democrats are not led by Marxists these days, they are led by literal clowns like Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, Tina Fey, and Michael Moore. The message from the clowns to Delaware voters is that they must vote for the Marxist because O'Donnell is literally a witch. You can't make this stuff up. If only that were true. Then O'Donnell could cast a spell over voters to ensure her victory.

Whether O'Donnell goes on to win or lose, the Tea Party victories are precisely rejuvenating and rehabilitating the Republican Party. They redeem the Reagan message from the 1970s, which I have struggled to advocate among a previously disheartened grassroots, that conservatives should not split off into a third party, but take over the Republican Party. That is what the Tea Party involves, a conservative takeover of the Republican Party, with far more force than even in 1980. By 2013, that force will be taking us well beyond even 1981.

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About the Author
Peter Ferrara is Director of Entitlement and Budget Policy at the Heartland Institute, General Counsel of the American Civil Rights Union, Senior Fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, and Senior Policy Advisor on Entitlements and Budget Policy at the National Tax Limitation Foundation. He served in the White House Office of Policy Development under President Reagan, and as Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States under President George H.W. Bush.