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One can imagine that large quantities of Tums and Prilosec OTC are being consumed at the White House of late. The first year of President Obama’s second term has not gone well. The latest manifestation of the president’s second term blues arrived October 1 in the form of massive dysfunction surrounding the website that serves as the portal to Obamacare – the president’s signal first-term legislative accomplishment.
While the president would have us believe that it’s simply a matter of deploying a “tech surge” of the best and brightest cyber minds to tackle the problem, evidence suggests that the president’s problems are much more deeply rooted.
In May of this year, the Gallup organization conducted a poll asking Americans to rank their list of priorities as it comes to public policy. Not surprisingly, given the sluggishness of the economic “recovery” that followed the 2008 recession, creating more jobs and helping the economy grow stood at positions one and two on the list.
Rounding out the top five were making the government work more efficiently, improving the quality of education received by American schoolchildren and addressing the financial problems of Medicare and Social Security.
In other words, Americans want to work rather than receive welfare, they want the economy to grow so that wealth may be created, they want a smaller, less ambitious, less intrusive government, they want their kids to get a decent education and they don’t want Medicare and Social Security to bankrupt the country.
Seems pretty much like the America I’ve always known.
So here’s the question. In the past five years, what of substance has the Obama administration done with respect to any of these priorities? Aside from wasting close to a trillion dollars in “stimulus,” which failed to create jobs or grow the economy, where has the administration proposed anything that would even begin to streamline the government, fix the schools or forestall the coming bankruptcies of Medicare and Social Security?
Why has the administration spent so much time and energy pushing gay marriage, abortion rights, immigration and gun control? None of these issues makes the top ten on the list of what most Americans are concerned about.
And with full acknowledgment that reducing the costs of health care and improving access to health care come in at position numbers six and eight respectively, when did a majority of Americans ever demand sweeping legislation such as that embodied in the 30,000 plus pages of regulations spawned by Obamacare?
Obamacare never enjoyed the majority support of the American people and now the fiasco surrounding its implementation is making some its one-time most ardent supporters run for cover.
Whether articulated in these terms or not, what we are seeing is what happens when a small number of elites presume to impose upon us their priorities at the expense of those of the majority.
When you pass a massive piece of legislation totally along party lines and without majority support of the people who must live under it, things had better go well or a stiff price will be paid. Things are definitely not going well with respect to Obamacare.
The debacle surrounding the rollout of the Affordable Care Act is a symptom. The disease is that the government’s priorities are not our priorities. The Gallup survey makes clear that our representatives are not representing us.
The growing realization of that fact, rather than technical “glitches” plaguing the Obamacare website, is what stands at the root of the extreme case of heartburn now afflicting the second term of the Obama administration.