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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Point Counter Point Weekly Address

Boy, this latest weekly address sounded like something I had heard before. That's because it was. The president focused on the economy and about a minute in he made the segway to health care reform. Again, he said that he inherited an economy and the brink. He said the economy had come a long way since when he took over and we were losing about 700,000 jobs monthly. He said all of this to soften the blow from the latest jobs report which showed that we lost 264,000 jobs. By comparison, it certainly looks better.

On health care reform, we heard all the same talking about again. Health care costs are unsustainable, they're crushing small businesses, and his health care reforms will do all the same things: curb costs, cover those with pre existing condtions, and give coverage to everyone.

The only thing of note was the president's naivite on health insurance's costs on small businesses. If health insurance is killing small businesses, the right question isn't how to make it cheaper for small businesses but why our system is designed so that businesses are expected to give them health insurance. Instead of designing a system that would drive health insurance away from employers, which would free up all sorts of money, the president is designing a system that he says will make it cheaper for small businesses to get health insurance for their employees.

That doesn't fix the problem. Because health insurance is tied to employment, all sorts of employment decisions are made with that in mind. In my opinion, proper reform moves health insurance away from the employer and to the individual. Instead, the president is designing a system that, in theory, makes it easier for employers to give their employees health insurance. That seeems to me to feed the problem.

Congresswoman Candice Miller of the 10th District of Michigan delivered the Republican response. Just as President Obama defended his policies in light of the latest jobs report, Congresswoman Miller attacked them. Obama's problems on the stimulus, beyond its policies, are entirely self inflicted. He made all sorts of unrealistic promises and now those promises are used against him. The Republicans' use of his promise not to have unemployment not go above 8% has become a broken record. Congresswoman Miller took that card out again for this speech. She also pointed out that he promised that jobs would come back immediately.

Both those promises were silly and unrealistic. We were in the middle of a deep and wide recession and near a depression. No one knew just how bad it would get and he used the 8% number boldly. That will haunt him most of his administration. Most stimuli, be it fiscal or monetary, takes at least six to nine months to filter into the economy. Yet, he promised that jobs would come back immediately. It's simply about mismanaging expectations. He should have prepared the country for much greater difficulties and he'd be on better footing now.

Congresswoman Miller also attacked the cap and trade, or tax as you will, bill. She pointed to the recently released White House memo that said that cap and trade will cost the average family about $1800 in energy bills. Obviously, increasing energy costs is a bad idea in most times and certainly now especially. Congresswoman Miller pointed this out.

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