Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thursday's throwdowns

They're at it again:
"White House economists said Thursday that the Obama administration's recovery efforts have saved or created more than one million jobs so far, an optimistic report that economists cautioned was preliminary and uncertain."
I bet they are--given that there's no way they can PROVE how many jobs they've "saved", or not "saved." Fundamental: this unprovable "saved" jobs number the Obama administration throws around is ridiculous, and we need to push the media to call them on it.

Based on what I've seen and read, NR's editors are right on in their assessment of it:
"Neither the government-heavy substance nor the dishonest and demagogic tactics have changed. The president denounced “scare tactics” — in a speech that warned that failure to go along with his plans would cause people to die. He pretended that preventive care will “save money,” even though this claim has been authoritatively and repeatedly debunked. He claimed, in defiance of every independent assessment, that the legislation before Congress will reduce costs. He denied that the legislation he supports will spend federal dollars on abortion, which can be true only if he has some private and novel definition of “federal dollars.” He denied that it will cover illegal immigrants, even though Democratic congressmen have specifically voted not to require verification of legal residence.Obama told people with insurance that “nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.” Note the careful formulation, which is technically true but deliberately misleading. The president knows full well that his plan will cause millions of people to lose their current coverage and that they are not going to catch the fact that his statement does not quite deny it. Obama said that “what Americans who have health insurance can expect from this plan” is “more security and stability.” Many of them can, in fact, expect to lose their coverage while paying higher premiums and taxes. Many other Americans can expect to lose their jobs thanks to Obama’s “employer mandate.”

And note especially NR's conclusion:
"President Obama said that “the time for bickering is over” and that he will not “waste time with those who have made the calculation that it’s better politics to kill this plan than improve it.” You would not guess it from his speech, but it is possible sincerely to believe that it is better policy to scrap this plan and start over. If by “bickering” Obama means opposition in principle to his plan to vastly expand the federal role in health care, then there has never been a better time for it."

Just so. Let's "bicker" all we can.
Interestingly, I detect a lack of enthusiasm for the president's speech in other quarters, too.
For example, in Forbe's magazine, a columnist writes:
"President Clinton's health-care legislation didn't fail in 1994 because people didn't want better health care. The White House plan failed because it was too bureaucratic, too complicated, and too expensive. Last night, President Obama's response to sixteen years (and one angry August recess) worth of bi-partisan doubt was to double down and bet even more political capital on the same approach. It's as if he expected Americans to tune in, and suddenly realize their mistake."

The San Diego Union-Tribune wrote:
"...Obama's depiction of rising public doubts about big health changes as the product of “scare tactics” and “tall tales” undercuts his assertion that he takes seriously critics' “legitimate concerns...But it is not a “scare tactic” to doubt Obama's claim his proposal to vastly expand health coverage would save money. The Congressional Budget Office says it would carry a 10-year, $1 trillion price tag. It is not a “tall tale” to question his claim that his plan would not affect individuals satisfied with their present coverage. It would give employers a powerful incentive to meet their insurance requirements by opting for cheaper government coverage and dropping their private insurers. We need to have a full and open debate about these concerns. But based on his speech last night, Obama would have us believe that he has a blueprint for a health care system that miraculously would be both much cheaper and much bigger — and the only thing that those who doubt him can offer is “misinformation.” Sorry, Mr. President. That's just not true."

The LA Times:
"The hard part [in health care reform], in terms of both policy and politics, is finding a way to pay for the expansion in coverage. And on that most contentious issue, unfortunately, Obama argued that Congress could cover most of the cost by attacking waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid -- a pain-free path that's as unrealistic as it is alluring."

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers haven't really played well the last two nights, and last night especially they failed to hit, losing to Kansas City 5-1. Minnesota is now within 5 and 1/2 games of the Tigers. I suspect they had a letdown--Detroit had won 6 in a row, including a weekend sweep of Tampa Bay, and then they went to Kansas City...unfortunately, it's natural to let down. Observers don't talk much about letdowns when it comes to baseball--teams play so often that ideas of emotion and focus don't often come up. But baseball too is partly mental, and if you lose your focus, your play will suffer. In baseball, too.
Meanwhile, the Rangers took care of business, finishing their sweep of Cleveland, 10-0. Scott Feldman has now won 16 games and lost only 4. Cy Young, anyone?
And the Cubs beat up on the Pirates again, as they always do, 8-5. But they're still 8 games out of the wild card lead. And while Carlos Zambrano won this game, it's a measure of the Cubs' troubles this year that the victory was only big Z's 8th this year.

Firt game of the season tonight--my pick?
PITTSBURGH 4.5 over Tennessee. PICK: STEELERS. They're at home, they're defending champs, they don't like the Titans much, and there's a history of defending champs being highly motivated and playing well in this special Thursday night opener. Gotta go with the Steel men here.