Does Obama not get it?

It’s time! Dump Rahm Emanuel and listen to the people!

By Jack E. Lohman

When is President Obama going to govern for the people and not the health insurers, bankers and pharmaceutical interests?

Yes, we want health care reform, but not the kind Obama has chosen to shove down our throats. Two-thirds of Americans support a single payer Medicare-for-all system and over half oppose his current industry giveaway. We weren’t even given single-payer as an option, because — get this — it would work!

But that’s the last thing the industry wanted, and that’s what campaign contributions can buy ($20 million to Obama and $125 million to congressional members). But the public wants nothing of it.

Even if Obama wins this health care package it would doom his next term.

So I think underneath he’s happy with this new excuse to back off. Mandating insurance purchases is not the extending of care the public expected. Massachusetts learned that under RomneyCare, thus they voted for change. (Sound familiar?)

We are already spending 31% of health care dollars on the private insurance bureaucracy, and Obama wanted to add massive new administrative costs to the system. Waste would have increased to 40% and costs to 20% of GDP (from 16.5% today).

Massachusetts sent another message: a referendum against Obama’s direction. This win went to the middle and far-right conservatives that have mobilized to take their country back and run it their way. And while I support some of their ideas, others are pretty far out and the Left best be aware.

The Tea Party is also not going away, and as this plays out we’ll see angry Righties and angry Lefties agitating for their favorite political party. Hopefully we’ll not see violence, but I fear that we will.

And all because of the one root cause that neither party has chosen to deal with, campaign finance reform. We have a corrupt political system that (a) affects both political parties and (b) is as unsustainable here as it is in any other country. But we cover our eyes.

The insurers and Pharma own health care, the bankers own the financial system, the oil industry owns our energy needs, and the country as a whole is owned by everybody but the voters. Most seriously the Chinese.

We have a serious problem with financial inequality, but our elites love it. Look at this chart. If more and more money is taken from the economy and given to the wealthy, can we then wonder why that economy is now dramatically suffering?

Can we allow our unfettered free-for-all market to continue? Can we allow banks to give more in bonuses than they make in profits, and then bail them out when they crash? Can we allow credit card companies to take advantage of the public?

We must continue capitalism, but with limits.


— Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti and our hats off to the multinational cooperation. We didn’t hear about FEMA and that’s probably good. But it is clear that better coordination is needed for future disasters.

— Given the choices — of being under-taxed and barefoot versus overtaxed and wasteful — I’d probably prefer the latter. We’ve seen what the former can do to us, and at least some of the waste helps grow the economy.  (Though I am generally fiscally conservative and socially liberal.)

— But as well, if we can get the special interest money out of the political system we can eliminate much of the waste.

— Right now we need banker reform, but also shareholder reforms that give them a binding vote on executive wages and bonuses.

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