Is Obama Trying Backdoor Socialism?

Posted on June 15th, 2009 by admin in Political Economy

Last week, President Obama’s White House Economic Advisor, Dr. Larry Summers,  forcefully asserted that the president has no intention to socialize the US economy. Summers, in a speech said the government interventions in the economy would be unwound as soon as possible. He said contrary to what many have been saying, the government is not attempting “backdoor socialism.”

Then president today spoke to the American Medical Association meeting in Chicago. According to the NY Times( p1, 6-15-09):

“The public option is not your enemy,” Mr. Obama said. “It is your friend, I believe.” Saying it would “keep the insurance companies honest,” the president dismissed as “illegitimate” the claims of critics that a public insurance option amounts to “a Trojan horse for a single-payer system” run by the government.

Mr. Obama twice referred to the use of such “fear tactics” about “socialized medicine” in past legislative battles, without pointing out that the A.M.A., a traditionally Republican-leaning group, was among those using the charge, as in the mid-1960s debate over creating Medicare for people 65 and older.

Let’s examine this. First, the veiled claim that the insurance companies are dishonest because they lack real competition is fantastic. There are already over 1000 competing insurers, and if there were a private monopoly, we are certain the Anti-Trust Division of the  Justice Dept. would be having a frenzy of prosecutions. Lack of competition is a non-issue.

Second, Mr. Obama has continually made statements that are direct contradictions to what he actually is doing, brilliantly packaged statements, but fully deceptive. Consider his quotes above. The reality is this: any form of goverment competition with the private sector will, as surely as the sun rises in the east, become a collector of everyone’s medical coverage, all quite voluntarily. Why? Simply because the government’s costs are already subsidized by you the taxpayer, and so it will inevitably promise more service for less premiums, luring people in. Then the private insurers will fail and only one insurer will remain. Uncle Sam.

Third, the republicans who said Medicare would become socialized medicine were right. That’s what Medicare is. The single payer is Medicare for those over 65.

We are in for some truly life-altering decisions about health care and the economy. Mr. Obama is urging fast action for a final bill, thus ensuring inadequate analysis and weakly discussed counter-proposals to his ideas. This unnecessary desire for speed to change the extraordinarily complex health care system will shut off public debate and give us an obscenely bloated set of new laws, new spending, and unintended (but fully expectable) unknown and damaging consequences…called Black Swans.

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