Obama’s Press Conference: Rush to Judgment

At the Politico I write:

It’s easy to find, as Gallup just did, that majorities of the public want everything – guaranteed health insurance, that covers all possible problems, that lets you choose your own doctor and the treatments you need, that lets you keep your current plan – and they want it cheap. Or they’re OK with letting someone else pay. So when President Obama promises health care that does all those things, he can find a receptive audience. Still, when you ask people whether they really believe the federal government can provide more health care to more people, and save money in the process, most of them don’t. And that’s the problem Obama faces. And the reason he’s so insistent on doing it NOW is that he fears that the longer people mull that conundrum, the more they will realize the unlikelihood of a vast new federal program bringing down the cost of anything.

Obama also said that his administration “inherited an enormous deficit….have not reduced it as much as we need to and we would like to.” That’s a half-truth at best. The Bush administration and the Republican Congress spent like drunken sailors. But driving the deficit into the stratosphere is Obama’s decision. If he thought the deficit was too high, he didn’t have to push a $787 billion stimulus bill and a $3.6 trillion budget. If he thinks the effects of the stimulus are worth the enormous, unprecedented, unimagined deficits, then let him stand up and say so instead of pretending that he’s been trying to “reduce it.”