Obama reach exceeds his grasp

As ObamaCare collapses around them and even liberals are looking for ways out of the falling house of card, we should understand that it is not Obama’s fault. Really. Obama couldn’t make it work because nobody can make it work. The larger lesson is the same one many of us learned when the Great Society collapsed in crime and ignominy. Government cannot command, control and organize the complexity of the American economy.

I just finished reading a book called "Eve of Destruction." It deals with the year 1965, the last time liberalism rode high and big government proponents tried to order America according to their logic instead of by the distributed and manifest will of the American people. Like ObamaCare, you might argue that the ideals of the Great Society were good. Like ObamaCare, they crashed into reality.

Even if we assume that Obama is really as super smart as he and his fans think he is, it is not possible for anyone to understand the complexity of American society enough to bring big changes to a big part of it at one time. It is not merely that Obama, Pelosi, Reid et al do not know how to do it. It is that it is unknowable.

The future is contingent. It is contingent on things that have not yet happened and factors not yet manifest and maybe not even imagined. Government planners, any planner, must work with experience of the past. Government planners usually are working from scripts that are at least five years old. That is the minimum time it takes for new developments to be translated into rules by which government can work.

My liberal friends accuse conservatives of not wanting ObamaCare to work. I suppose there are those who feel that way. But the conservative critique is not so much that ObamaCare SHOULD not be allowed to work, but rather that it is unworkable. That is what I have been saying all along.

If you want to change big things, you have to start with small ones. The big bang idea of revolutionary change almost always leads to failure. It is arrogant in the extreme to think we have access to enough information to make big decision, or the wisdom to make them even if we were omniscient.

The line from the poem says that a man's reach should exceed his grasp, else what is heaven for. We want individuals to strive, but that is because their scope to act is limited. We can learn from those failures at low cost. When government reaches beyond its ability to grasp, lots of people suffer. We should have the wisdom to understand that if government is not circumscribed by out discretion, it will be limited more severely by reality.

Winter is coming for ObamaCare. It will not be Republicans that kill ObamaCare sprouts. It will be the killing frost of reality.

Posted by Christine & John at November 20, 2013 7:21 PM
Comment #374424

“As ObamaCare collapses around them and even liberals are looking for ways out of the falling house of card…”

You can throw away that idea quickly. Dick Morris just wrote an article titled: “ObamaCare is disappearing”

We all know Morris’ track record for predictions. You can pretty much guarantee now that Obamacare is alive and doing fine.

I heard on AFR Talk today a guy calling it the Hindenburg of Healthcare and suggesting that in a few weeks Democrats will be the ones calling for repeal. Does anyone really believe this?

Posted by: Adam Ducker at November 20, 2013 9:01 PM
Comment #374426

Just more partisan wishful thinking. America has often accomplished the seemingly impossible, despite the naysayers and those fearful of progress and change. Getting to the moon was not without missteps and naysayers. Universal health care coverage is a goal that will be met, and missteps are a part of getting there. We are not born adult or perfect. We grow and learn our way to great achievements. Despite those future beneficiaries who fought the achievements until success was achieved. The day will come when Republicans will attempt to take credit for ObamaCare when it succeeds. That is as inevitable as universal health care is.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 20, 2013 9:12 PM
Comment #374429

Yes Remer America has accomplished seemingly the impossible. But we did it with real leadership, something we seem to be lacking now.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at November 20, 2013 10:09 PM
Comment #374433


With all the “fixes” and exceptions that Obama himself has already conceded, ObamaCare, as intended by its creators, is already dead.

I doubt it will be repealed. But it will be so changed that there will be nothing left of it. It will be like the Great Society, something tried that failed, never really repealed but gone like the snow of last winter.


Getting to the moon was broadly popular and it was a technological endeavor. Government is reasonably good at big things like that. It can marshal resources to build big things and fight wars. In fact, that is a legitimate government role.

It fails when it tries to manage the fine points of organizing society. In fact, that is an area where government’s rightful role is very much constrained. Wise leaders perceive the limits. Fools rush forward and create programs with lasting problems.

I have never said and am not saying here that government cannot achieve great things. I love government and believe that the U.S. Federal systems is one of the great and sublime achievements of mankind. It is clearly superb in what it does well, but horrible when it steps into places outside its competence.

David and KAP

It is also true that we currently suffer very poor leadership. Obama is a distracted president. Leadership in both parties is currently poor or non-existent. This is not an auspicious time to undertake a massive restructuring of the American system, even if that were your goal.

Posted by: CJ at November 21, 2013 3:53 AM
Comment #374434

The thing that seems to make no sense is YES it’s an oversight in play. A;The ones he’s trying to reach nominally don’t have internet and B; secondly why not put the goshdarn thing at the social security office for sign-up??? His website doesn’t work—-sssh mine doesn’t work—-the internet is a toy not a means to anything more than a hoard more code you’ll eventually have to write to make it optimally seemable to work for your intended purposes.

Congress doesn’t have the intel enough to know what the internet is—it’s a pile of junk. OH WAIT WE DO OUR BANKING HERE—Horse mularkey. Pay our bills here—what a crock congress has us pulled into here!!! I don’t even trust Paypal never mind the electric company online—-I give out my SS number online I’m no less than an idiot—really—right??

Posted by: Simpleheaded at November 21, 2013 7:50 AM
Comment #374435

I think Obama’s looking for the the INTRA-NET—a-ha!! That’s the word.

Posted by: simpleheaded at November 21, 2013 7:55 AM
Comment #374436

Thirdly there’s a question of eligiblity—it appears the ones, the only ones, who are eligible are those on disability payroll—Why wouldn’t they get a header in the mail they can mail back??? It’s not some kid on a pell somewhere or a senior somewhere who gets SS already—it’s disability applicants ONLY. What’s the huff? They always do things wrong, it’s a bureaucracy—right? Yeah, unheard of…

Why is Fox asking all the wrong people what they think—they aren’t eligible to recieve any of this—ever? Somebody’s lying BIG. Hey Flounder-PHI Kap you don’t get this okay, you just don’t—got it yet?? Sue and Mary street corner unless you can prove broken backs you don’t get this either—got it??? Bill and June, actor models on vacation in Boca—no such animal—got it? Why ask them?? Ask the kid who flipped his jeep there ya’ go FOX—that guy!

AND FOURTHLY—What’s this LAW crap—a program is a law now? What did Barak outlaw? You outlaw to make a law. He outlawed something here? Think about the wording it’s nuts! There’s no law made here it’s just a program that the states really do a fine enough job of anyway, so it might get rejected at all the ballyhoo cost. There’s nothing more here than a program—it’s not a law at all outward appearances—right? It’s just an un-needed overarching gov program by which apparently people can think they get eligibility too to this—they don’t.

Another one—you lie to congress it’s now against the law—baloney too. Look it up.

Posted by: simpleheaded at November 21, 2013 8:43 AM
Comment #374437

You give the Republicans enough rope they will eventually hang themselves? They become Geraldo—this is insane.

Posted by: simpleheaded at November 21, 2013 8:54 AM
Comment #374438

CJ: “With all the ‘fixes’ and exceptions that Obama himself has already conceded, ObamaCare, as intended by its creators, is already dead.”

Really though? Do you actually believe that? The parts about expanding coverage to those without insurance, increasing access to preventive care and birth control, the part that makes insurance more affordable for millions of Americans? Are those all dead? I can’t help but think this is exactly like the stimulus. Critics of the stimulus redefined the goals and expectations of the bill in order to make it easier to call it a failure. When you say President Obama himself has already conceded that, what exactly did he say?

Posted by: Adam Ducker at November 21, 2013 10:00 AM
Comment #374443

“What’s this LAW crap—a program is a law now? What did Barak outlaw?”


Posted by: kctim at November 21, 2013 11:06 AM
Comment #374450

The inflation of health care costs since 2010 has dropped dramatically, to just 1.3% above the economy wide inflation rate which is just above 1%. That was one of the stated goals of ObamaCare. Americans ARE getting health care insurance who couldn’t before. That was a stated goal of ObamaCare. Patients are going to be protected from insurance companies dropping them for pre-existing conditions, and against caps on coverage that halt treatments in the middle or force bankruptcy on the patient and their family. Another goal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act being met today. Enrollees are accelerating in nearly all the States that have established their own exchanges and extended Medicare. And they are happy with their decisions and option chosen, so far.

The program is already living up to its title, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as patients are being protected and the coverage is far more affordable for and will continue to be, for the vast majority of those signing up for Obamacare. The web site debacle will be corrected, and enrollees as well as those in employer plans, are and will continue to benefit from Obamacare through lower costs and extended insurance coverage. Then there are the Seniors who will see their RX donut hole either shrink or eliminated.

All that is needed for the majority of Americans to endorse ObamaCare is time. And Republicans KNOW this, which is why they are so adamant to REPEAL it, and reinstate the broken system ObamaCare replaced, that failed nearly all Americans one way or many.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 21, 2013 12:17 PM
Comment #374451

CJ, health care for all, like reaching the Moon, is broadly popular.

CJ said “It fails when it tries to manage the fine points of organizing society.”

No, it potentially fails when ONE party dedicates itself to failure, which Republicans have.

The irony here is that Republicans have tried everything conceivable to prevent ObamaCare and yet, the Leadership of Obama and Democrats have nonetheless succeeded in bringing ObamaCare about. Leadership is defined by success or failure, and this leadership you say is wanting, has succeeded despite all of your Party’s efforts to defeat it. That is the very definition of successful leadership in the face of great adversity and opposition.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 21, 2013 12:23 PM
Comment #374453

Hitler and Mao and Pol Pot all exhibited great leadership, right?

Posted by: tom humes at November 21, 2013 1:08 PM
Comment #374454

I know a number of you will ask yourself, “how does this relate to politics?”, but bear with me, and I’ll get there soon enough.

Let’s start with a circle. Curves are naturally hard to measure with straight units. Even our regular geometrical formulas use Pi, an approximation, in order to determine area and perimeter. However, you can measure things to a certain approximation. You take a closed shape, and either put it outside, with the sides of the object tangent to your circle, or you put them in, with the corners on the circle’s perimeter.

The idea, of course, is that as you increase the number of sides, from outside or inside, the shapes would approximated down(from outside) or up (from inside) to that circle’s area and perimeter.

What we’ve found though, is that many real world objects don’t approximate this way. Benoit Mandelbrot’s seminal paper on the British Coastline illustrates this issue.

If you start out with longer, more general yardsticks, and arrange them around the British coastline, you’ll find that many of the more “crinkly” features don’t get measured. Where reducing the size of the yardsticks with that circle yields you an approximation that approaches a certain limit as it gets finer, with this irregular coastline, the smaller and smaller the scale of your approximation, the greater and greater that coastline becomes, the increase of the length not slowing down.

Such structures are common in nature. It’s how you fit a tennis court worth of area in the volume of your lungs, an essential part of how an land animal like you can breath. It’s why our brains are so wrinkly, how we fit miles and miles of blood vessels in our body. It’s how trees can take in so much sunlight, water, nutrients and carbon dioxide. When we use clays and zeolites and other high-surface area substances to adsorb and absorb chemicals, fractal geometry is at work.

The funniest thing, though, is that all this complexity is the result of a few simple rules, and the complexity itself often follows a certain set of outcomes. People talk about chaos theory, and act like that means we can’t many any of the complexity around us, that we have to let it all just go as it is, but in truth, that’s rather misleading an interpretation.

What chaos theory will tell you is that you can’t predict when you’re going to get hit by a hundred year flood. It doesn’t tell you that there’s no use in preparing for one. What it tells you is that whether you put rules in place or not, there are going to be big collapses from time to time. What it doesn’t tell you is that these collapses often follow some very basic rules, and their destructive power often exploits some rather predictable weaknesses.

I believe there’s a point where our attempts to manage things pass our ability to perceive critical distinctions. I believe our ability to predict specific outcomes and their timing is limited. But I think there are critical weaknesses to our system that help make the inevitable black swan events that much more destructive.

And example? Fire codes in 1906 helped make a bad earthquake a literal firestorm of a catastrophe. Poor regulations on derivatives and the fact that banks had been allowed to merge down to just a handful of big competitors helped put much of America’s finance in harm’s way.

When we deal with things like the weather, we often predict them on an iterative basis. What that means in plain English is that we deal with the results of the first conditions we put into the rules, and then we stick the results of that back in to get new results.

Well, what happened with the financial markets is that we had an iterative failure, one that was only possible because there weren’t firewalls and other distinctions between critical parts. Mortgage companies over played their hand Housing market collapsed. This put pressure on the Banks, who had founded much of their assets on that market. The bank problem caused a financial meltdown in general, which in turn caused an deflationary problem and a big unemployment problem.

If there were more banks, we could have let the ones that really screwed the pooch fail,while others picked up the slack on financing. But if we had regulated derivatives beforehand, the overleveraging might not have occurred. Hell, it would have also brought the housing bubble to a quicker and less violent close.

We failed to moderate the markets on several levels, and from those failures EMERGED the problem we face today.

So, here’s what I would say: It’s time to stop reacting classically to a fractal environment. It’s time to understand the consequences of our policy in a way that doesn’t try to float around on unfounded generalities.

It’s time to stop mistaking chaos for randomness, and most importantly for the Republican’s sake, a lack of response for tacit approval, for the absence of ill-will.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 21, 2013 1:24 PM
Comment #374455
CJ, health care for all, like reaching the Moon, is broadly popular.

And this comes from what data?

he majority of Americans say that guaranteeing access to health care isn’t the responsibility of the federal government, according to a new poll released Monday. The Gallup survey shows that 56 percent of adults do not believe the government has a responsibility to ensure that Americans have healthcare coverage, compared to 42 percent who say it is the government’s responsibility. The number represents a record high, marking a 28-point increase since 2006.

Independents are more ambivalent, but a majority — 55 percent — believe the government is not responsible for guaranteeing healthcare coverage.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/poll-health-care-government-responsibility-100004.html#ixzz2lJ6PlizB

At it’s HIGH, less than 60% of the people supported government provided healthcare for all, that’s not ‘broadly popular’. And today, it is not even remotely popular.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 21, 2013 1:45 PM
Comment #374456

“And this comes from what data?”

Talking points and biased hopes, just like every other thing in there.

Posted by: kctim at November 21, 2013 2:07 PM
Comment #374457

Here’s a quote from a famous democrat. Would there be any leading, or any democrat at all today, that would make this statement?

“But the most direct and significant kind of federal action aiding economic growth is to make possible an increase in private consumption and investment demand — to cut the fetters which hold back private spending. In the past, this could be done in part by the increased use of credit and monetary tools, but our balance of payments situation today places limits on our use of those tools for expansion. It could also be done by increasing federal expenditures more rapidly than necessary, but such a course would soon demoralize both the government and our economy. If government is to retain the confidence of the people, it must not spend more than can be justified on grounds of national need or spent with maximum efficiency. And I shall say more on this in a moment.

The final and best means of strengthening demand among consumers and business is to reduce the burden on private income and the deterrents to private initiative which are imposed by our present tax system…”


Posted by: Royal Flush at November 21, 2013 2:38 PM
Comment #374468

Rhinehold, logic dictates those with health care don’t want to be separated from it. Those without health care would like to have it made available affordably. These two statements of fact constitute the majority of Americans. The majority of Americans know well the benefit of having access to health insurance, and only the Darwinians, a minority, hold the position that health care belongs only to those who can afford to profit the insurance corporations.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 21, 2013 3:55 PM
Comment #374470

tom humes, what a nutty response! It’s not even a rational response. Pure hyperbole likened to that used by Gooebels and his propaganda machine.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 21, 2013 3:58 PM
Comment #374472

David, you keep interchanging the terms healthcare and health insurance, those aren’t the same things.

If you ask most people, they would say that they would like to be able to pay for their healthcare without having to use insurance, meaning that the healthcare would be affordable, like it was in the 60s. If we look at WHY it isn’t, we can look directly at the Federal and State Governments and their interference in the market trying to manipulate it.

The real goal should be finding out why costs have risen and figure out how to change the environment so that the market works more effectively in bringing down costs as it does in all other markets when working correctly. Not further trying to manipulate the markets creating even more ineffectiveness and making it even more costly, as we have just done with the ACA.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 21, 2013 4:06 PM
Comment #374476

KCTIM; CHOICE??! Every state in the union has a healthcare system already in place for people with disabilities—even Kansas health, they aren’t being broken down in the least. They aren’t moving one iota, over sideways or anywhere.


Posted by: simpleheaded at November 21, 2013 4:13 PM
Comment #374503


Re ” The parts about expanding coverage to those without insurance, increasing access to preventive care and birth control …”

Yes, Obama has the giving stuff away part down. Most of the people who managed to sign up were getting the free coverage. I suspect that was the Obama goal all along. He pretended he wanted reform when all he really wanted was to expand welfare.

The problem is balance. He needs to get other Americans to pay for all this. This is the part that isn’t working. That is why he wanted to cancel “substandard” policies. But this is the part that he gave up.

So let’s sum up. Obama kept the give-aways, but gave up anybody to pay for it. But the bill will come due AFTER the election. Let’s not be fooled again.

Posted by: CJ at November 21, 2013 6:42 PM
Comment #374507


One of the most liberal states in the nation has said no thanks to a key Obamacare provision and instead is enacting its own version of the law.

California has decided to skirt the “Buy 1, Get 3 Free!” loophole in the Affordable Care Act, a modest piece of the sprawling health care regulation with huge implications. The provision holds the insured blameless for failing to make monthly premium payments while requiring doctors and insurers to continue to offer health care. During a three-month grace period before cancellation, subsidized policy holders can see doctors, have operations and rack up medical bills without paying for anything.

Doctors and insurers will be left holding the bag.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 21, 2013 7:26 PM
Comment #374518


Before ACA: Individuals could choose what health insurance they thought best for themselves.
After ACA: Government chooses what it thinks is best and mandates individuals must purchase it from a private business, and punishes those who refuse to do so.
Choice gone.

Before ACA: Private business could choose what product to offer its customers.
After ACA: Government mandates what product a private business must provide for its ‘customers.’
Choice gone.

That is just two, I could go on and on.
FACT is that the ACA further erodes our freedom of choice.

I have no idea why the hell you brought up disabilities, but I think you need a new key b-b-b-b-board.


IF you think the ACA is only for the handicapped, or only affects the handicapped, then you are as wr-wr-wr-wrong as Remer is.

Posted by: kctim at November 22, 2013 9:51 AM
Comment #374535

More Obamacare website issues, no not how badly it was implemented and unleashed without proper testing, actual changes designed to hide the true cost of insurance through the exchanges…


But there’s some reason to think that CNN’s story is not incomplete, and that Chao, in his response, did not tell the truth. The CNN report backs up, and seems to confirm, an October report in The Wall Street Journal, which said that the federally run insurance portal “was initially going to include an option to browse before registering, but that tool was delayed.” The Journal report included an explanation for why the function was removed—an explanation that said nothing about technical failures. “An HHS spokeswoman said the agency wanted to ensure that users were aware of their eligibility for subsidies that could help pay for coverage, before they started seeing the prices of policies.”

In other words, officials didn’t want people to see the true price of the insurance premiums on offer through the exchanges, so they created a system which only allowed for plan shopping after subsidy eligibility was confirmed.

That doesn’t sound like it was simply a question of system readiness, as Chao claimed before Congress. And if Chao lied about the test results, it’s reasonable to wonder whether he also misled about the reasoning for disabling the feature.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 22, 2013 4:12 PM
Comment #374539

Rhinehold, in the context I spoke, for the vast majority of Americans, health insurance is the vehicle to health care, and without insurance, health care, save emergencies, is not available to most. See health care costs to persons without health insurance. I chose the terms carefully and correctly for the argument made. Hope that helps your understanding of the issue, and do review the cost differential between those insured and those without insurance. It is mind boggling.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 22, 2013 5:04 PM
Comment #374540

Will the real obama please stand up and be a real leader.

As senator obama urged against using the Nuclear Option.
As senator obama urged not increasing the national debt.

As president, he told repeated lies about obamacare.

How can anyone trust this hydra-headed consummate liar?

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 22, 2013 5:37 PM
Comment #374543

“The administration also said it would delay the 2015 insurance enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act by a month, pushing it beyond the 2014 midterm elections.”

Today, NY Times

Another Phoney Baloney executive order from a Phoney President.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 22, 2013 6:36 PM
Comment #374544

A few quotes from Pat Buchanan writing in “Human Events”

Will Obamacare be the death of liberalism?

“By 1968, Walter Lippmann, the dean of liberal columnists, had concluded that liberalism had reached the end of its tether.

In that liberal epoch, the 1960s, the Democratic Party had marched us into an endless war that was tearing America apart.

Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society had produced four “long, hot summers” of racial riots and a national crime rate that had doubled in a decade. The young were alienated, the campuses aflame.

Lippmann endorsed Richard Nixon.

For forty years, no unabashed liberal would be elected president.

Jimmy Carter won one term by presenting himself as a born-again Christian from Georgia, a peanut farmer, Naval Academy graduate and nuclear engineer. Bill Clinton ran as a centrist.

So toxic had the term “liberal” become that liberals dropped it and had themselves rebaptized as “progressives.”


Posted by: Royal Flush at November 22, 2013 7:18 PM
Comment #374546


Correct - the parallels between now and the late 1960s are palpable. Liberalism, no matter the name given it, always overreaches since they are seeking to do things that human societies cannot accomplish by liberal means.

One of the stupidest things ever uttered by a leader is one sometimes still quoted by liberals. When Bobby Kennedy said, “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

Only liberals think this kind of thing makes sense.

Posted by: CJ at November 22, 2013 7:32 PM
Comment #374547

Following is a quote from a piece that is scary indeed, but not unexpected by those who follow world affairs and know the dire result our propensity to borrow and spend.

“When it comes to economics, China has been playing chess while the United States has been playing checkers. And now decades of very, very foolish decisions are starting to catch up with us.

The false prosperity that most Americans are enjoying today will soon start disappearing, and most of them will have no idea why it is happening.”

Read more at http://freedomoutpost.com/2013/11/bombshell-china-announces-end-stockpiling-us-dollars/#xA0C31pH1vJgl6JB.99

China has announced some drastic changes in its view on protecting their currency and buying our debt. If this happens, our interest rates will grow alarmingly, prices will rise dramatically, and our standard of living will fall precipitously.

The liberals never consider the future, just the present. When the Washington “freebies” disappear, and the “golden goose” of debt is finally laid to rest, the wailing will begin in earnest.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 22, 2013 7:52 PM
Comment #374556

“It’s remarkable how the president discovers stuff late into his presidency. Remember at the beginning he spends a — a near trillion dollars on the stimulus, and then discovers afterward that shovel- ready really doesn’t exist. And then he told us just a few days ago he discovered how, you know, that purchasing health insurance is not easy. It’s rather difficult. I mean, is this news to him? And now he tells us he’s discovering that this issue of adverse selection in the absence of young people who will subsidize the older and the sicker is a real issue. It’s been the problem at the heart of this all along. Why would a young person want to subsidize older people by having their premiums double, which is exactly what ObamaCare does.” –Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier”

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 23, 2013 4:09 PM
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