John McCain and Sarah Palin may have no compunctions about stretching the truth to meet their short term goals. But every time they attempt to gain a tactical advantage, they manage to paint themselves into an embarrassing strategic corner. Take health care reform. First, Sarah Palin unveils the McCain-Palin revenue neutral tax credit during her debate with Joe Biden. Too good to be true? Well, yes, there is that sticky matter of a massive middle-class tax increase on employee health benefits purchased by employers. But, no, that won't make the tax credit revenue neutral. To balance the budget, a senior McCain policy advisor told the Wall Street Journal that McCain "always planned to fund the tax credits, in part, with savings from Medicare and Medicaid," federally funded programs that provide health care to seniors, poor families, and the disabled. Cut Medicare to pay for a $130,000,000,000 a year shell game. Just what the doctor ordered.
Honorable Sir: I am a corrupt foreign politician who has embezzled millions of dollars from my country. I have learned of your upright character and exceptional honesty. Help me laundry my money and I will give you half for your kindness. Just email me your social security and bank account numbers and PINs, and I will put the money in your accounts. When I am safe from the law, I will contact you and you send me half the money I deposited. You could keep all the money, but I know you are a fair person. Respectfully yours, There’s One Born Every Minute.
If you were in the least bit tempted to respond to this offer, then you’ll love John McCain’s approach to health care reform, because every good confidence game starts not with your confidence in the con artist but with the con artist’s confidence in you. And John McCain has great confidence in you, the extraordinary, hard working American citizen, who can carry this great nation on your back if only the parasitic government would get out of your way and out of your pocketbook.
On the other hand, if you value your money and your life, you’ll read on to see why the McCain-Palin health care confidence game may be dangerous to your financial and your physical health.
It’s difficult to hold your ground during an earthquake. And the economic earth has been shifting, fast and furiously, during a week from hell. If we could link the financial meltdown we just experienced to Al Qaeda, we’d be invoking the Bush Doctrine and preparing to invade some country with ties, however tenuous, to this continuing nemesis. But this crisis, which may cost American taxpayers more in a month than the Iraq war has cost us in five years, appears to be completely homegrown. So to quote that great political commentator, Pogo, "we have met the enemy, and they are us."
Now that both Obama and McCain have donned the mantle of change, the crucial question becomes: change to what? Everyone appears to be in favor of playing nice in Washington and special interests seem to be passé. Both Presidential candidates claim to feel the pain of hard working Americans who seem to be falling behind rather than getting ahead, and both envision a bright tomorrow in which all Americans are safe and prosperous. But there is a stark contrast between Obama’s and McCain’s vision for America as articulated in their acceptance speeches. And nowhere is this contrast starker than in their competing plans for healthcare reform.
The argument that the extraordinary cost of health care in America is at the heart of our healthcare crisis is a compelling one that both Presidential candidates appear to accept. John McCain has made it the cornerstone of his proposals for healthcare reform, but it is equally central to Barack Obama’s plan to guaranty affordable health insurance for all Americans. John McCain and his advisers have touted the McCain approach as an operationally sound free market solution and have attacked Obama’s plan as the first step in a covert plot to create a government-run healthcare system. But when free market principles are used to critique each candidate’s proposals, it turns out that Obama and not McCain is proposing the market-based reforms needed to create an effective, efficient free market for healthcare services.
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