Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

There is political spin and then there are lies. The latter would be declaring that small businesses would benefit from a new health-care regime in which they choose between a mandate to insure all employees or pay an 8 percent surtax.

That might be among the reasons the Chamber of Commerce and numerous business groups and associations wrote a letter decrying the House Democrats’ plan. They explain: “The creation of a new government-run insurance plan is a step in the wrong direction. Employers currently suffer a significant cost-shift from existing public programs, and the program described in House legislation would significantly increase costs for every American who purchases private insurance. . . . We are further concerned with a proposal to mandate that employers either provide health insurance or pay huge fines or payroll taxes. This ‘pay or play’ mandate is especially bad because employers are also required to pay the majority of employee premiums. Even with some exemptions, this provision will kill many jobs.” But Obama knows best — it’s good for them!

CBO strikes again: “For the second time this month, congressional budget analysts have dealt a blow to the Democrat’s health reform efforts, this time by saying a plan touted by the White House as crucial to paying for the bill would actually save almost no money over 10 years.” If there is an award for honesty and courage in government, CBO chief Doug Elmendorf should get it.

OMB Director Peter Orszag is furious. How dare the people at CBO call it like they see it! (Apparently the arm-twisting session at the White House with Elmendorf didn’t work.)

The Washington Post urges Obama to tell Americans about all the pain health-care reform will entail. Well, that’s one way to go about it, I suppose.

Is Obama the Lindsay Lohan of presidents?

Thomas Friedman’s carbon imprint is really, really big. (h/t Glenn Reynolds)

Fred Barnes: “Obamanomics pays lip service to a free market economy. But Obama hasn’t a clue what makes it work.” Maybe if he or someone in his administration ever ran a business, it would help.

Something different: a Navy spokesman accuses a female reporter of sexual harassment.

In a must-read piece, Shelby Steele tells us: “Disparate impact and racial preferences represent the law and policymaking of a guilty America, an America lacking the moral authority to live by the rigors of the Constitution’s ‘equal protection’ — a guarantee that sees victims as individuals and requires hard evidence to prove discrimination.” The real issue, he says in bracing terms, is “under-development”: “Whites are embarrassed to speak forthrightly about black underdevelopment, and blacks are too proud to openly explore it for all to see.”

Sen. Orin Hatch, who has supported many Supreme Court appointments by Democratic presidents, says “no” on Sotomayor.

The off-message machine strikes again. “Just weeks after a summit meeting intended to show a thawing in relations between the United States and Russia, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. made blistering references to Russia’s failing economy, loss of face and a leadership that is ‘clinging to something in the past’ in an interview published on Saturday. . .. Calling the criticism ‘perplexing’ in light of the diplomatic overtures initiated by the United States and described as ‘pressing the reset button,’ the chief foreign policy adviser to President Dmitri A. Medvedev told the Interfax news agency, ‘The question is: who is shaping the U.S. foreign policy, the president or respectable members of his team?'” The only real question is why Obama lets him go out in public alone.

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