The Anchoress makes a worthwhile observation:
We’ve watched the press pretend to beat their breasts for “not asking the tough questions of Bush” in the time leading up to the invasion of Iraq. That’s a distortion; they asked plenty of questions and made plenty of noise, and in the “rush to war” – which took so long any nation could have spirited their weapons somewhere else – the administration went to the UN twice, and the Democrat leadership, from Bill Clinton on down re-iterated what they’d said since 1998: Saddam had WMD, and in the face of 9/11, he could not be allowed to keep them.
Now, we’re watching the press show zero curiosity about this “stimulus” package. They don’t appear to even know what is in it, or want to know. They’re not asking “the tough questions.” The thing is Obama’s baby so it must be brilliant and right and they are promoting it with all their might, unquestioningly. Just as they promoted Al Gore’s Global Warming Traveling Salvation Show without asking a single hard question, without wondering about a “rush to toxic lightbulbs,” the press is now pushing an extremely dubious nationalization bill disguised as healing medicine, without asking a single difficult question, without wondering about a “rush to more.”
The press is enabling a new act; “Brother Love & Sister Speak’s Dream-a-licious Economic Health Tonic” (only $200,000 a bottle!) and telling us we must lap it up or we will die from our lack of patriotism.
Sorry, no sale, here. I still remember 1976 to 1982, no matter how much you tell me that I don’t.
A bit of hyperbole aside, she is right on the money. Outside of a handful of reports that mostly try to explain “Republican opposition” to the bill, not one of the major networks has aired a serious investigative report (and by that I mean a multi-segment report or one that includes 10-15 minutes of actual reporting) that really takes apart the bill, gathers the opinions of leading experts on economics, and asks — as the press claims it should have done with the Iraq war — do we really need to do this?
Nor is the press seriously questioning the purpose of President Obama’s continual doom and gloom rhetoric or wondering whether he is using fear to sell his political agenda — all of this after piling on Bush and Cheney and accusing them of talking down the economy after the tech market meltdown in 2000.
And maybe the pork spending in the stimulus bill really isn’t what will cause the most financial damage:
Under “stimulus,” Medicaid is now on offer not to just poor Americans, but Americans who have lost their jobs. And not just Americans who have lost their jobs, but their spouses and their children. And not Americans who recently lost their jobs, but those who lost jobs, say, early last year. And not just Americans who already lost their jobs, but those who will lose their jobs up to 2011. The federal government is graciously footing the whole bill. The legislation also forbids states to apply income tests in most cases.
House Democrat Henry Waxman was so thrilled by this blowout, it was left to Republicans to remind him that the very banking millionaires he dragged to the Hill last year for a grilling would now qualify for government aid. His response? A GOP proposal to limit subsidies to Americans with incomes under $1 million was accepted during markup, but had disappeared by final passage. In this new health-care nirvana, even the rich are welcome. CBO estimates? An additional 1.2 million on the federal Medicaid dime in 2009.
Also this week, the Senate passed the massive SCHIP expansion that President Bush vetoed in 2007. The new and improved SCHIP expands the program’s eligibility to families earning up to three times the poverty level (approximately $60,000 for a family of four). The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the CBO estimates 2.4 million individuals will drop private health coverage in exchange for the expanded SCHIP benefits. How will we pay for this?
The SCHIP expansion will be financed in part by a 62 cent per pack increase in the Federal cigarette tax, and partly by the elimination of Medicare Advantage, which will effectively end supplemental Medicare HMO programs and force seniors back into Medicare-only health coverage. Ironically, the working class Americans that SCHIP is supposed to benefit will end up footing most of the bill for it. Yet in the Stimulus Bill, there is a $75 million line item for smoking cessation programs. Why are we spending $75 million to erase the primary source of revenue for children’s health care? Democrats? Media? Hello … anyone?
Last October, the State of Hawaii was forced to suspend its universal children’s health care program because of, well, freeloading:
“People who were already able to afford health care began to stop paying for it so they could get it for free,” said Dr. Kenny Fink, the administrator for Med-QUEST at the Department of Human Services. “I don’t believe that was the intent of the program.”
No kidding. Hawaii is a shining example of universal health care failure. But the lessons learned the hard way in Hawaii seem to be of little concern to Congressional Democrats, who, now that they have complete power, are intent upon incrementally pushing our nation toward nationalized, single-payer health care. Captain Ed says, “It’s hard to believe one could credibly say this, but I long for the honesty of the Clintons.”
And then there is this brilliant bit: “Obama Will Review Buy American Provision in Stimulus.” Smoot-Hawley anyone?
And all the while, the press remains incurious. We don’t need to ask ask no stinkin’ questions. Just take another swig of that dream-a-licious tonic …