The Obama Watch
In his 2007 biography of Barack Obama, Obama: From Promise to Power, Chicago Tribune reporter David Mendell described the exchange he had with then-Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama just minutes before he delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston:
After Obama and I slipped through a security checkpoint and he momentarily broke free from the entourage, I sidled up to him and told him that he seemed to be impressing many people of influence in this rarefied atmosphere. Obama, his gaze fixed directly ahead, never broke his stride. “I'm LeBron, baby,” he replied, referring to LeBron James, the phenomenally talented teenager who at the time was shooting the lights out in the National Basketball Association. “I can play on this level. I got some game.”
Obama was right. He had some game, delivering a breakthrough speech that, in an analysis by David Bernstein, senior editor at Chicago magazine, “captured the nation's attention and opened the way for a run at the presidency.”
Ben Bernanke complains that there is still an “awful lot of slack” in the U.S. Labor market. He said last week that the official unemployment rate — up a tick at 7.3 percent in October — “probably understates” the problem.
Who could disagree?
As bad as it is from any historical perspective, we would be looking at the economy through rose-colored glasses if we took the 7.3 percent figure too seriously. If you include the millions of part-time workers who want full-time work, and millions more who have despaired of finding jobs and so have dropped out of the labor market, the real unemployment rate jumps to 13.8 percent, or close to twice the official rate.
Out of a workforce of 154 million people, that’s 21 million Americans who are under-employed, unemployed, or sitting on the sidelines — able-bodied but not even bothering to look for work. The U.S. labor force participation rate has declined continuously throughout the Obama presidency — from 65.8 percent of available workers in January 2009 to 62.8 percent today — the lowest it has been since March 1978.
So, yes, there’s an “awful lot of slack” in the U.S. Labor market.
How goes the captain of RMS Obamacare as water pours through the open holes and hatches of what was supposed to be a masterpiece of social engineering? How does he feel as the forward deck of his eponymous vessel sinks beneath the waves while the stern lifts high into the air -- cracking the doomed ship into two?
Does he say a prayer for those he has condemned to an early death -- like Edie Littlefield Sundby, who wrote an article (“You Also Can’t Keep Your Doctor,” WSJ, Nov. 4) describing how she has survived stage-4 gall bladder cancer for almost seven years, but how her existing medical insurance has been canceled effective Dec. 31 , leaving her with no hope of finding an affordable replacement through the government health exchange that would enable her to keep her lifesaving team of doctors in place?
President Obama is a very dishonest man.
For years, he has told us, as he did when he spoke to the American Medical Association in Chicago in June 2009, “If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period.”
Well, that period has now been followed by a comma; a semi-colon; a hyphen and, while we’re at it, let’s throw in some brackets both of the square and round variety. On Monday night, while speaking before Obamacare supporters at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C., President Obama said:
Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really like that plan, what we said was you could keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law was passed.
Wednesday evening the Obama administration extended the deadline for getting insurance coverage and avoiding the individual mandate penalty from February 15 to the end of the open enrollment period, March 31.
Administration officials said that they were just “clarifying” the law, but that’s hard to believe. Why didn’t they clarify it a month ago, instead of three weeks into a disastrous launch of the exchanges? Just a guess, but it might have something to do with the real possibility that people would pay a fine for failing to buy something through exchanges that they could not even access.
Anyway, as someone who opposes the individual mandate as a gross encroachment on liberty, it doesn’t seem like something I should get that worked up about. Yet also at issue is the “rule of law”—namely, does President Obama have the legal authority to do this? Clearly, he doesn’t.
The explanation is technical, so bear with me.