2008 record      


Health Reform: The president used an illuminating choice of words to describe the transformation of the health system Congress is set to enact. We are indeed "on the precipice" — staring into an abyss of statism.

After emerging from a White House meeting with Senate Democrats Tuesday, President Obama said: "We are on the precipice of an achievement that's eluded Congresses and presidents for generations, an achievement that will touch the lives of nearly every American."

It was another of history's memorable Freudian slips.

Neville Chamberlain in 1938 disembarked from his plane and told the crowd, "This morning, I had another talk with the German chancellor, Herr Hitler, and here is the paper which bears his name upon it, as well as mine." Forever, he will be remembered for waving his worthless "piece of paper."

President Bill Clinton a decade ago told the grand jury investigating whether he committed perjury that "it depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is." Forever, he will be remembered for twisting language into pretzels to avoid the truth.

President Jimmy Carter in his infamous 1979 "Malaise Speech" blamed Americans for a national "crisis of confidence" and "loss of a unity of purpose for our nation." Carter's solution: Carpool and "set your thermostats to save fuel. ... I tell you it is an act of patriotism."

Carter didn't know it, but he was describing a crisis of leadership — his — that Americans, unified in purpose, fixed the next year by electing Ronald Reagan. Forever, Carter will be remembered as the personification of American self-doubt and decline.

Has Barack Obama just written his own historical epitaph? Will he be the figure who pushed America off the precipice, into a bottomless pit of socialism?

Much of what the president said in his Tuesday statement was patently false. With its heavy regulations, the Senate bill, even stripped of its destructive "public option," won't mean that "families will save on their premiums." Independent studies make it clear that premiums will go up by thousands of dollars.

It also isn't true that "this will be the largest deficit-reduction plan in over a decade" — and to hear such a promise from the biggest-spending president in his first year in office in history is hard to take.

The president claims "the CBO has said that this is a deficit reduction." But as Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, who sits on both the appropriations and banking committees, recently told Fox News' Neil Cavuto, the definition of "deficit-neutral" that Democrats have been using "means it's going to cost you over $1 trillion, and we are going to find $1 trillion either in Medicare cuts or increased taxes, so that we end up with the same number at the bottom line."

Speaking of the Congressional Budget Office, after candidate Obama last year promised a $2,500 annual reduction in health premiums annually for average families, the CBO has warned of premium increases of about $5,000 a year.

"Precipice" is right, Mr. President. But with public support at 41% according to IBD/TIPP and 35% according to Gallup — not to mention two-thirds of doctors opposed to Congress' plan, as IBD/TIPP also found — most Americans clearly don't want to take a plunge like this.

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