Sunday, March 1, 2009

President Obama Throws Down The Gauntlet

President Harry Truman was known for his references to the "do-nothing, good-for-nothing" Republican-majority Eightieth Congress, criticisms that inspired his supporters to yell, "Give 'em hell, Harry!"

In words that are especially relevant today, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt criticized the "...economic royalists [who] complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power."

It was gratifying to see President Obama join the ranks of his feisty Democratic predecessors during his latest weekly address. Obama outlined the goals of the budget he sent to Congress: a tax cut for the majority and a tax increase on the wealthy beneficiaries of the Bush years, investments in renewable energy, affordable health care for all Americans, making college more affordable. All are worthy goals, regardless of the fact that Rush Limbaugh and his minions view them with horror. Then the president stated that he's ready to stand up to today's "economic royalists" who have a vested interest in blocking change:

"I realize that passing this budget wont be easy. Because it represents real and dramatic change, it also represents a threat to the status quo in Washington. I know that the insurance industry won't like the idea that they'll have to bid competitively to continue offering Medicare coverage, but that's how we'll help preserve and protect Medicare and lower health care costs for American families. I know that banks and big student lenders won't like the idea that we're ending their huge taxpayer subsidies, but that's how we'll save taxpayers nearly $50 billion and make college more affordable. I know that oil and gas companies won't like us ending nearly $30 billion in tax breaks, but that's how well help fund a renewable energy economy that will create new jobs and new industries. In other words, I know these steps won't sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they're gearing up for a fight as we speak. My message to them is this:

So am I."

To which I say, "Give 'em hell, Barack!"


mjmand said...

I didn't know where to post this so I thought I'd add it as a comment to your post. This is in reference to the rising health care costs that President Obama wants to address. I believe that some sort of universal coverage is inevitable, because, this extremely interesting link asserts, health care costs (as with other non-efficient services) will always rise at a rate higher than the rate of inflation. Every year an additional section of the population will find health care unaffordable until only the extremely wealthy will be able to afford basic coverage. The phenomena I am referring to is called Baumol's Cost Disease, and I first read about it in The New Yorker in an article by James Surowiecki, published on its financial page on July 7, 2003. Link:

In light of what's happened in our economy since then, Baumol's warning becomes even more worrisome. As much as it may hurt me financially, as I am in the health delivery business, I believe that we need some form of health care reform in the United States. This, unfortunately, is a task of mammoth proportions.

Jeff Tone said...

MJMand: I agree with you, and I also think that the longer we wait the worse it will get. Perhaps now, when medical costs are out of control for individuals, families and businesses, there will be more support for universal coverage.