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Obama's Three (of Many) Great Lies

June 29, 2009

We've all heard the joke that about the three great lies that begins with "the check is in the mail." There is a new joke on Americans but it isn't funny. It's Obama in general and what he has said in the past about his socialized healthcare plan in particular.

There are so many Obama contradictions it would take a professional to catalog them all. Even in the same speech Obama can say one thing and then announce something else in direct contradiction. The "government news media" as Rush Limbaugh likes to call them, does not make any effort to call attention to these 'Obamaisms' and will do anything to suppress whatever Obama says or does that might open him up to criticism. Remarkably, this same news media howl when accused of bias.

For most Americans the present healthcare system is quite satisfactory and they would not change it if given half a chance to vote on it "directly." I say directly because it is widely assumed - mostly by Obama, Democrats and the news media - that the last election expressed voters' desire for "change," including in the healthcare system. However I believe the election result may reflect a wish to replace George Bush with a new face (a more or less black one at that), but voters were not actually approving either the Obama "spread the wealth" message or voting for socialized medicine. Certainly, Americans had no idea they were in effect voting for nationalization of private industry and financial institutions. Do you think voters had any idea their vote would bring about another government Czar, one who would dictate the pay of executives?

But getting back to the three great lies masquerading as truths, consider what Obama first said and what he now advocates as part of his plan to take over the healthcare industry, fully one-seventh of the entire US economy.

During the campaign Obama's lame opponent came up with some pretty outlandish ideas; for example, John McCain actually at one point said we should consider taxing healthcare benefits. Obama and his media allies jumped all over this. Obama said on the campaign trail (Newport News, Va., October 4, 2008):

"So here's John McCain's radical plan in a nutshell: he taxes health care benefits for the first time in history... Well, I don't think that's right."

So the first great Obama healthcare lie concerns taxing such benefits. What is Obama's position on this now? Obama ally Senator Max Baucus told the Washington Post that Obama is now willing to tax employer-provided health benefits. Baucus said: "Yeah, it's something that he might consider. That was discussed. It's on the table."

"Limiting or ending the tax-free status of health benefits makes sense if it's used to cut other taxes and put all health insurance-employer-provided or not-on a level playing field. The existing benefit is an artifact of World War II-era price controls and creates a tax penalty for people who buy their own insurance." (President Barack Obama)

Yeah sure; other taxes will be cut if healthcare benefits are taxed - Brooklyn Bridge for sale anybody?

Interestingly, the Obama healthcare benefit tax plan would go much further than even the hare-brained McCain idea. Unlike the McCain plan, which would have taxed employer-provided health benefits and used the money to pay for a new health care tax credit, the plan now being considered by Obama and the Democrats would tax employer-health benefits to fund increased government health care spending. For the 250 million-plus Americans who already have health insurance, this is an especially raw deal-they pay more taxes and get nothing in return.

In another speech on the campaign trail Obama laid the basis for big lie number 2 - "You won't be forced to buy health insurance."

Here's what Obama said on the campaign trail (Janesville, Wis., February 13, 2008):

"The main difference between my plan and Senator Clinton's plan is that she'd require the government to force you to buy health insurance and she said she'd 'go after' your wages if you don't and I won't."

Obama has later said, and repeated in his current healthcare plan described in a letter to Democratic Senators Ted Kennedy and Max Baucus - using the new code word "responsibility" to refer to the same kind of mandate he slammed in Hillary's plan:

"I understand the Committees are moving towards a principle of shared responsibility - making every American responsible for having health insurance coverage, and asking that employers share in the cost. I share the goal of ending lapses and gaps in coverage that make us less healthy and drive up everyone's costs, and I am open to your ideas on shared responsibility."

There is no reason to have a mandate other than to force people to buy insurance who don't want to, mostly young people who are healthy, and think they'll never die and want to spend their limited income on their careers, families or just having a good time. According to the Census Bureau, about 60 percent of the uninsured are under age 35, with the highest rates in the 18-24 bracket (28.1 percent uninsured) and the 25-34 (25.7 percent uninsured) bracket. This is about forcing some people who don't want health insurance to pay for other people through a new government program. It's more of "spreading the wealth around."

The first time around when Hillary proposed her healthcare "reform," the health insurance companies were major opponents and sponsored the "Harry and Louise" TV ad that helped to derail HillaryCare. This time Obama learned his lesson and inserted a provision to buy off insurance companies; he and Democrats learned a lesson from the 1993 HillaryCare fight when the insurance companies stopped a Washington health care takeover. The Obama mandate is a giveaway to insurance companies to buy their support this time by forcing healthy young people who use less health care to pay insurance premiums.

For big lie number 3, let's look at his tax proclamations. Obama made a big thing during his campaign that only rich people would see their taxes raised. Here's what Obama said on the campaign trail (September 12, 2008, Dover, N.H.):

"I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes."

Like in the other examples given, Obama has changed his tune now that the election is over and he sits comfortably in the Oval Office.

These days new ideas are floated every day, but they all would involve taxing people who make less than $250,000. In fact, even his income tax hikes for the rich have now been dropped down to start at considerably lower than the $250,000 threshold. In addition we now see proposals for a soft drink excise tax, cap-and-trade energy taxes, and most recently the VAT, a form of national sales tax that is actually the first "non-progressive" tax if unaccompanied by tax payments to the "poor" (like the so-called earned income tax credit). And of course the tax on health benefits I mentioned above would also break the only-tax-the-rich pledge.

It's easy to see what the Obama "three great lies" have in common: those working for a living will all pay huge amounts, likely trillions of dollars, in higher taxes for "free" government health care. In fact, probably the biggest lie of all is that government health care is free.

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Copyright ©2009 Vincent Gioia