The Affordable Care Act (AKA “Obamacare”) was to be President Obama’s signature program — the one that defines his presidency. I suspect it will be, but not in the way he envisioned.
The botched roll-out of its website and the failure of healthy youth to sign up for expensive insurance designed to subsidize the unhealthy and those with pre-existing conditions is yet another case of dream-meets-reality.
This is not the first time the president’s dreams have crashed. Virtually all his visions of a socialist utopia have gone “poof” when exposed to the light of reality. Here is a rendition.
The Dream of Green Energy:
During the 2008 campaign, Obama promised to make the U.S. energy independent and create 5 million new green energy industry jobs over the next 10 years. Well, the U.S. is on a path to energy independence, but not because of renewable green energy.
Hydrofracking has opened massive new oil and natural gas fields in the U.S. and Canada and sent prices of fossil fuels plunging. This is a major set-back for green energy, which requires a price of $6 a gallon for gasoline to be economically competitive. The net result: billions of federal dollars poured into green energy with only 250,000 new jobs created — just 5 percent of what the president promised.
The Dream of World Peace:
Obama was in office only 9 months when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize — not for any achievements, but for his commitment to nuclear non-proliferation and his promise to create a “new climate” in international relations by reaching out to the Muslim world.
Has world politics changed? We still have soldiers being killed and maimed in Afghanistan, and when they depart, that country will again be ruled by corrupt drug lords. The Egyptian military had to overthrow the Obama-endorsed, anti-Christian Muslim Brotherhood to restore order in that country. And Iraq is now a client state of Iran, a radical Shiite nation on the verge of developing nuclear weapons.
Osama Bin Laden may be dead, but terrorism is not. In 2012, there were more than 8,500 terrorist attacks worldwide, and they killed nearly 15,500 people — a 69 percent rise in attacks and an 89 percent jump in fatalities from 2011.
The Dream of Transparent Government:
During the 2008 campaign, Obama promised to make our government open and transparent: “No more secrecy,” he declared. But even the radical left is alarmed by revelations of the NSA spying on U.S. citizens, the Obama administration’s use of the IRS to target the President’s opponents, and Eric Holder’s Justice Department’s secret raiding of the phone records of up to 100 Associated Press reporters. (The DOJ was apparently trying to identify the news organization’s private sources.)
A scathing report by the Committee to Protect Journalists — hardly a right-wing organization — states: “In the Obama administration’s Washington, government officials are increasingly afraid to talk to the press. Those suspected of discussing with reporters anything that the government has classified as secret are subject to investigation, including lie-detector tests and scrutiny of their telephone and e-mail records.”
The Dream of Racial Equality:
Martin Luther King dreamed of a society where people are judged by their character and not the color of their skin. Obama’s election was greeted by many as the fulfillment of that dream: a sign we are now living in a post-racial society.
But to describe Obama as our “first black president” is not quite accurate. He is our first mixed-race president. None of his relatives experienced the atrocities of slavery or the struggle for civil rights. And he grew up in an international environment that he frequently touted when he was a student at Harvard.
So how has the black community done under the Obama presidency? According to a study by the Pew Research Center, not much has changed on the employment front, as black unemployment remains double that of whites.
The biggest obstacle to black economic success has been poor education, and the most promising development in the black community is growing support for charter schools. Where does Obama stand on this issue? He favors public schools with their bureaucracy and teacher unions that are widely blamed for the poor-quality education black children have suffered.
The Dream of Healing the Earth:
In his victory speech after he received the 2008 presidential nomination, Obama said people would look back years from now and declare “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
There has been little change in the earth’s surface temperature for the last 16 years, but sea levels continue to rise at a rate of 1 to 2.5 millimeters (.04 inches to .2 inches) per year. It is not clear whether climate change and the rising seas are due to human activity or natural causes, but either way, it is almost certain the U.S. government can do little to prevent it. Nevertheless, the president is set to launch a whole new set of regulations on coastal residents.
The Dream of Building the Middle Class:
Obama frequently speaks of “building the middle class.” This is ironic because the middle class is the hallmark of capitalism. Throughout history, there has been the wealthy ruling class and the impoverished peasants, with few people in between. Only in the capitalist countries has a large middle class developed.
The symbols of American culture are blue jeans, not suits; beer, not champagne; football, not polo; and hamburgers, not lobster.
So how is the middle class doing under Obama? Average household income has fallen, home ownership is down, and the number of food stamp recipients have doubled.
Now we are confronted with President Obama’s signature dream: affordable healthcare for everyone.
How does he plan to achieve this? Not by increasing the number of doctors, nurses and healthcare practitioners; nor by opening more clinics, cutting regulations and paperwork, and promoting competition. His plan is to force everyone to buy government-defined medical insurance financed by tax dollars.
Wherever this has been tried — and the examples are many — the result is always the same: a two-tiered healthcare system where the wealthy can get high quality medical care, often by coming to medical facilities in the U.S., while average citizens wait for long periods in public clinics for their government-rationed care.
Can Obama’s dream world supplant economic reality? His track record says it all.