Obama: Still No Salesman
Obama’s anti-Ryan speech:
1) Obama tends to defend the welfare state in ineffective paleolib terms. It’s mostly “compassion” and taking “responsibility for … each other,” whether we work or not. But most of the welfare state is now at least in theory work-tested–and Clinton showed it is much easier to defend if you say it’s what citizens get if they go to work every day, etc.
2) The all powerful Independent Payment Advisory Board will save us! This is always Obama’s deficit solution. Democracy can’t handle the truth!(“It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels.”) But will Congress freely cede power over who gets what treatment to an unelected “advisory” board of experts? It happens with the Fed. But health care involves actual constituents living and dying;
3) The speech defines a failure to tax the rich–i.e. keeping rates where they are–as “spending.” Way too clever;
4) Social Security fixes are still in a mystery box;
5) John Ellis thinks Obama drew a line in the sand on Medicare. Technically he did. But he’s such a weak salesman I doubt the message came across, at least to people who saw the speech. And since he wants the all powerful IPAB to slash and burn (and deny his grandma her hip operation) his credentials as Defender of Medicare may be tarnished. …
Update: So the difference between Obama’s Medicare and the Ryan Plan, according to Paul Krugman is whether you get your coverage denied by “insurance company executives” or by “health care professionals.” To the barricades! … P.S.: Like I said, Obama and Ryan are on the same side when it comes to abridging Medicare’s promise to pay for “any care that helps.” …