THE RICH LOWRY COLUMN
By Rich Lowry
The Obama team is saddled with a foundering health-care strategy. But it has a fallback plan — relying on the sheer dimwitted gullibility of the American public. How stupid do they think we are?
Stupid enough to think that a new $1 trillion health-care entitlement is just the thing to restore the country to fiscal health.
Stupid enough not to know that almost every entitlement known to man has cost more than originally estimated, with a congressional committee in 1967 underestimating by a factor of 10 Medicare’s cost by 1990.
Stupid enough not to realize that it is through budget trickery — the taxes begin immediately, the spending is put off for a few years — that the program in the House shows “only” a $239 billion deficit over the first 10 years.
Stupid enough not to focus on how the gap between the House plan’s revenue and spending steadily grows after the first 10 years, making it a long-term budget buster.
Stupid enough to think increased preventive care will save the government money, just because President Barack Obama constantly repeats it despite all the independent studies to the contrary.
Stupid enough to believe that a program with no cost controls that can be discerned by the Congressional Budget Office will control costs.
Stupid enough to consider it wise to use several billion dollars in cuts from Medicare to create a new entitlement rather than to forestall Medicare’s own looming insolvency, currently projected for 2017.
Stupid enough not to see through Obama’s sudden insistence on calling his plan “health insurance reform” as empty poll-tested phrase-making.
Stupid enough to consider Obama’s reform a good deal when its insurance regulations would increase premiums for most healthy people.
Stupid enough to think that the very real problem of people with pre-existing conditions locked out of the insurance market can’t be alleviated short of a 1,000-page bill reordering the entire health-care system.
Stupid enough to buy Obama’s cockamamie stories about unnecessary tonsillectomies and amputations — undertaken by greedy doctors to pad their profits — driving health-care costs.
Stupid enough to get gulled by rhetoric attacking special interests when almost all the special interests are backing Obama’s plan for cowardly and self-interested reasons.
Stupid enough to consider new taxes on employment — imposed by the so-called employer mandate — a good idea during a weak economy with a 9.4 percent unemployment rate.
Stupid enough to condemn ordinary people angry and frightened enough to show up at town-hall meetings in every corner of the country as the product of an “astroturfing” conspiracy.
Stupid enough to blame nefarious Republicans for the faltering public support for an expensive, ungainly and contradictory health-care program passed out of four congressional committees on strict party-line votes.
Stupid enough to trust the good faith and public-spiritedness of an administration operating on Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s ram-it-through-now credo that a crisis should never go to waste.
And stupid enough not to be offended at how contemptibly stupid they think we are.
(Rich Lowry is editor of the National Review.)
© 2009 by King Features Synd., Inc.