Americanly Yours

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President Obama’s First Year: Failure As Far As The Eye Can See

January 26, 2010 By: Phred Category: Uncategorized

The phrase “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” works for Presidents too.  President Obama’s first year in office has been marked by failure after failure.  His only remarkable legislative success, last year’s “stimulus” bill is itself a failure.  But just how has the  first year of Mr. Obama’s Presidency been a failure?  Lets take a brief look:


The economy continues to deteriorate under President Obama’s leadership. When President Obama pitched the “stimulus” bill to the skeptical American public, we were told that if this “crucial” bill was not passed soon (ie, before Congress had ample time to read the bill) then the economy would face devastating consequences.  This was of course a well calculated and bold faced LIE.  The fact of the matter is that the majority of the spending in the “urgent stimulus” bill were not going to be spent for over a year.  We were warned by the Administration that failure to pass the bill would cause unemployment to skyrocket and could cause it to reach as high as 9%, but passing the bill would keep unemployment from raising above 8% (see this chart put out by the Obama Administration to urge support for the “stimulus”).  So, we passed the bill and despite (or because of) this, the official unemployment rate surged past 9% and currently sits at 10%.  Of course, the 10% figure is a lie as well.  Previous administrations changed the way that the unemployment rate was measured in order to disguise how bad things really were.  This U-6 unemployment figure is still reported by the government, however, the government now uses U-3 as the official unemployment number.  While U-3 unemployment is 10%, U-6 unemployment is 17.3%.  This figure was 13.5% one year ago.  Simply put, things are bad.  But, government data collection is shady and should not be trusted as definitive.  Shadow Government Statistics, a private data collection/analysis website places unemployment at over 22%!

Ben Bernanke failed to see the impending collapse even shortly before the economy tanked.  While a candidate for President, Mr. Obama repeatedly criticized the economic policies of the Bush Administration.  By choosing to reappoint Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, President Obama was giving his tacit approval to the policies of the Bush Administration.

The administration has also increased the national debt to dangerous levels.  The US is now in serious risk of having its credit rating downgraded.  Any hopes of an economic recovery would be shattered if this were to happen.

Foreign Policy:

Candidate Obama repeatedly attacked the Bush Administration on three fronts: the economy, the wars, and foreign relations.  President Obama has failed to correct the errors of the Bush Administration on any of these areas.  As mentioned above, President Obama has continued the “stimulus” and bailout policies initiated by President Bush.  His reappointment of President Bush’s Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke confirms the fact that President Obama’s economic policies are not notably different than those of President Bush.

The second area where candidate Obama frequently attacked the Bush Administration was his handling of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Mr. Obama criticized President Bush’s Iraqi surge, falsely claiming that it was not a success.  If I were a candidate who ran on a platform of change and who repeatedly criticized the previous administration’s military policies, I surely would not have allowed the previous President’s Defense Secretary to continue serving.  Furthermore, if I had attacked the former President’s Iraqi surge strategy, I would not have employed a similar strategy in Afghanistan.  However, President Obama has done both of these things.  He kept Defense Secretary Robert Gates in his position, and he has sent an additional 68,000 troops to Afghanistan since taking office (many of those troops were sent in the weeks following the President’s claiming of the Nobel Peace Prize).

Candidate Obama promised to have all of the combat troops out of Iraq within 18 months after taking office.  That leaves him less than six months to remove over 100 thousand troops from Iraq.  Id put the chances of this happening right at zero.  More likely, President Obama will declare that the troops in Iraq are no longer combat troops (despite the fact that they will almost surely be engaging in combat).

President Obama missed a historic opportunity to improve relations with Cuba.  Since taking over, Raul Castro has introduced many positive reforms, introducing notions of private property, increasing wages for productive workers, and allowing Cubans to take advantage of certain technologies.  Raul Castro’s Cuba still has a very long way to go, but any movement in the right direction should be seen as positive.  Candidate Obama pledged to improve relations with Cuba.  Instead, President Obama has continued to support the same policies towards Cuba which have failed for the past 48 years.  Of course, this si just one example of this administration’s failed foreign policy.

Candidate Obama pledged to repair our strained relations with foreign nations.  President Obama has failed at this as well.  He has been publicly scolded by Russia’s Putin, Israel’s Netanyahu, France’s Sarkozy, and other allies.  In fact, I would argue that our foreign relations have not noticably improved with a single foreign nation since President Obama’s inauguration.


President Obama has almost completely failed in his efforts to push his agenda during his first year.

Remember, this President was the candidate who vigorously campaigned on a platform of “change.”  There have been few noticeable changes in the previous year.

With sizable majorities in Congress and a public eager for change, President Obama should have had a relatively easy time pushing through at least some major parts of his agenda.  The only major bill that President Obama was able to push through Congress during his first year in office was the “stimulus bill.”  This was a bill which was passed by using intimidation, threats, fuzzy math, erroneous estimates, and down right lies.  The “stimulus” bill was a costly mistake that did little if anything to stimulate the economy but will cost taxpayers around $1 trillion when the time comes to repay the costs of financing this bill.

Congressional Democrats pushed various health care reform bills for well over 6 months.  During this time, President Obama showed almost zero leadership on this issue, basically promising to sign any bill that came out of Congress.

Had President Obama taken a leadership role and urged Congress to pass a series of smaller health care reforms instead of trying to push a sweeping bill down the throats of an adamantly opposed American public, he could have signed several of these reforms months ago and moved onto other pressing issues.  Instead, Democrats wasted the better part of a year, alienated a large portion of American voters, and came up empty handed.  Democrats might now adopt the strategy of pushing through smaller, incremental reforms, although it could even be too late for that approach.

Opponents of government controlled health care can thank President Obama’s complete lack of management abilities for preventing the nationalization of health care that seemed to be a foregone conclusion several months ago.

The President’s inability to lead has also prevented the passing of cap and trade and several other government intrusions into the lives of individuals.  He has placed his coalition in danger time after time, and now seriously risks losing the House of Representatives in November.  Things also look increasingly likely that the Senate may be in play in November as well.  More ont his in a future article, but it is beginning to look very likely that Democrats will lose President Obama’s former Senate seat, Vice President Biden’s former Senate seat, Harry Reid’s Seat, and possibly Hillary Clinton’s seat.  This would have been unthinkable only one year ago, but then again so would a Republican winning Ted Kennedy’s former Senate seat.  President Obama has alienated Democratic voters to a degree that even the most optimistic Republican would have thought to be impossible a year ago.

President Obama should follow the lead of Domino’s Pizza: soak in and address the valid criticisms, revamp his “product,” and use his rhetorical skills to sell his new image to the public.  Failure to do so can only lead to a changing of the guard in the 2012 Presidential election.

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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Democrats Plan Fines Americans Who Refuse To Buy Health Coverage

July 03, 2009 By: Phred Category: Uncategorized

The new nationalized health care bill from Senators Kennedy and Dodd just keeps getting worse.

According to the AP:  “Americans who refuse to buy affordable medical coverage could be hit with fines of more than $1,000 under a health care overhaul bill unveiled Thursday by key Senate Democrats looking to fulfill President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority.”

I thought this was America.  I thought this was the land of the free.  I thought that people in this Nation were allowed to live their personal lives as they choose.

Apparently I thought wrong.

Who do these Senators and this President think they are?

Congress and President Obama have no right to fine people for choosing not to purchase health coverage.

If the President and others can justify abortion by citing privacy rights and the right to choose, cant the same rights be applied to those who privately choose not to purchase health insurance?

And what will happen if you dont purchase health insurance and then you refuse to pay the fines?  Will the government have you thrown in prison?

In lingo straight out of the socialist phrase book, these fines will be called “shared responsibility payments!”

Shared responsibility payments?  Are you kidding me?  I share absolutely NO responsibility for the health and well being of others. The punishment for not purchasing health care coverage should come in the form of denied or increased cost for services rendered, not a government imposed fine.

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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Democrats Health Care Plan Incentivizes Businesses That Drop Employee Coverage

July 02, 2009 By: Phred Category: Uncategorized

Senators Chris Dodd and Ted Kennedy have introduced a new health care bill to the Senate.  This bill will keep the same basic government run insurance plan as their previous bill.  Yet, this new plan also hits “large” businesses (defined as businesses with over 25 employees!!!) with “fines” of $750 for failing to provide employees with health insurance. The bill’s authors argue that this “fine” will force businesses to provide their employees with health care and will save the government money.  According to Senators Christopher Dodd and Ted Kennedy, this bill “virtually eliminates the dropping of currently covered employees from employer-sponsored health plans.”

Senators Dodd and Kennedy are either lying or are unbelievably stupid.

In fact, this bill only encourages employers to drop coverage for their employees.  According to the National Coalition on Health Care, “The annual premium for  single coverage [employer health plans] averaged over $4,700.

Under this plan, employers can drop their employees coverage, knowing that the government will pick up the tab.  Doing so will result in a “fine” of $750 per full time worker, but will actually result in cost savings around $4000 per employee!  This is a massive subsidy for corporations who choose not to insure their employees.

This plan will encourage employers to abandon their private insurance plans knowing that their employees will still be covered.  This will lead to a “race to the bottom” among companies because dropping coverage will lead to massive cost savings.

For example, at the end of last year Microsoft employed around 56,000 workers in America.  If they were to drop all of their employees’ health care plans, they would be subjected to fines of around $42 million  However, considering that the average health care plan costs employers around $4,700 per person, Microsoft would actually save around $221.2 million per year–after paying the “fines” by dropping coverage.

This new bill is a rotten one that will destroy private health insurance.  It will cause employers to drop coverage for their employees and will result in more Americans using the government “option.”

This bill will cost Americans a lot of money, will subsidize corporations who drop employee coverage, and will destroy the private insurance industry.  This bill will be ironically called the “Affordable Health Choices Act.”  Please call your Senator at 1-800-833-6354 and voice your opposition to this bill.  It will only take you two minutes.

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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Overblown: The Non Existent Crisis Of The Uninsured

June 25, 2009 By: Phred Category: Uncategorized

In debates on health care, one number seems to pop up repeatedly:  the claim that 45 million Americans are uninsured.  Proponents of government controlled health care argue that it is immoral to allow approximately 15% of our fellow citizens to be left without health care.

But, there is something that they arent telling you:  many (if not most) of those without health care in this country choose to not have health care.

Yes, at least 45 million Americans are not currently insured (according to most studies, but Ill get back to that later), but a closer look at the numbers tells a different story than the one that you have probably been told in the past.

I recently read John C. Goodman’s paper titled “Solving the Problem of the Uninsured,” and although I do not support the same solution that he does, I found his paper to be quite interesting.

Dr. Goodman took a hard look at the numbers and facts about the uninsured in this country and found some surprising information.

He wrote that the lack of health insurance can be compared to an experience like unemployment–many people experience it at one time or another, but it rarely is a long term problem.  For example, “75% of uninsured spells are over within 12 months.  Less than 10% last longer than 2 years.”

Many of the uninsured are actually eligible for government or job related health care, but chose not to that advantage of it: “there are between 10 and 14 million people who are theoretically eligible for Medicaid and SCHIP (for low income families who do not qualify for Medicaid) but do not bother to sign up.  This is almost one in every four uninsured persons in the country.”

“Furthermore, in most places people are able to enroll in Medicaid up to 3 months after they receive medical treatment.  Because these people can enroll at the drop of a hat, even after they have incurred medical expenses, are they not de facto insured even without the necessity of formal enrollment?”

“A lot of other people are also voluntarily uninsured.  For example, about 9 million people (more than one in five of the uninsured) are eligible for employer insurance and decline to enroll even though the employer share of the premium is usually nominal.”

Many of the uninsured in America actually have the money to purchase insurance, but for one reason or another chose not to:

“The largest increase in the number of uninsured in recent years has occurred among higher-income families.”

“Further, over the past decade, the number of uninsured increased by 54% in households earning between $50,000 and $75,000 and by 130% among households earning $75,000 or more.  By contrast, in households earning less than $50,000 the number of uninsured decreased approximately 3%.”

“Some information about middle-class families who are voluntarily uninsured is provided by a California survey of uninsured with incomes of more than 200% of poverty.  Forty percent owned their own homes and more than half owned a personal computer.  Twenty percent worked for an employer that offered health benefits, but half of those declined coverage for which they were eligible.  This group was not opposed to insurance in general, however, because 90% had purchased auto, home, or life insurance in the past.”

Now, lets add all of this up:  we have 10-14 million who are eligible for Medicaid or SCHIP, but do not enroll, and an additional 9 million that are eligible for benefits at work but do not sign up and we have between 19 and 23 million people in these two situations alone who are eligible for health insurance, but decline (or choose not to sign up for) it.

This takes a huge chunk out of the original 45 million number, bringing it down to a range between 22 and 26 million people who are uninsured and do not have the option to become insured.  This is a much smaller number, especially when you remember the above statistics that the vast majority of people who are uninsured are uninsured for less than a year.

But, there are also several reasons to doubt the 45 million number itself.  Dr. Goodman’s study cites a study by the CBO which “estimated the actual number of uninsured may be as low as 21 million.”  He also cites “another report [which] finds that, even using Census Bureau methods, the 45 million number is about 25% too high, or off by 9 million people.”  So, if those studies are correct, we have reduced the number of uninsured to 21-36 million.

And, if (and this is THE BIG IF) those two studies that he cited are correct and the number of uninsured is actually between 21-36 million, then it is safe to say that there is no major “insurance crisis” going on in this country.

Why?  Well, at least 19-23 million Americans are eligible for health insurance or coverage but do not take advantage of it.  Combining these numbers and the above numbers from the two studies (one of which came from the CBO), we are left with a range of anywhere from -2 million to 13 million uninsured.  13 million might seem like a huge number, but it is only around 4% of our population (and remember 13 million was the maximum).  There has got to be a way to take care of this small percentage of Americans that will cost less than President Obama’s $1,000,000,000,000 [$1 trillion] health care initiative.

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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