Skip to comments.Why Obamacare Is Unpopular (The only enthusiasm for it comes from David Brook's 'educated class')
Posted on 06/28/2010 6:55:59 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Democrats are reportedly planning to raise $125 million for a campaign to sell Obamacare to the voting public. Apparently, the idea is that what 50-plus presidential speeches and statements and months of congressional debate could not do can be done by spending $125 million on everything from TV ads to community organizers.
Maybe. But there seems to be a more fundamental problem here. The Obama Democrats didnt set out to produce an unpopular stimulus package, an unpopular health-care bill, and an unpopular cap-and-trade scheme.
They thought these initiatives would be popular. In their view, history is a story of progress from small government to big government, and that, as historians of the New Deal wrote, progress is especially welcome in times of economic distress.
The massive unpopularity of the Obama Democrats programs suggests that view of history is defective. Let me propose another, starting with the Founding Fathers.
The Founders believed there was a tension between representative government and the right to life, liberty, and property. So they wrote the Fifth Amendment to ensure that no citizen was deprived of those rights without due process of law.
In Britain, that tension had been limited by allowing only property owners to vote. That way, those without property could not elect representatives who would steal from the rich and give to the poor.
In the early years of our republic, that precaution did not seem necessary. We were a nation of farmers, where land was plentiful and labor scarce. The large majority of citizens then considered relevant white adult males actually owned the land they farmed. There was no danger in allowing all of them to vote, as would become the general rule in the U.S. by the early 19th century, because the large majority owned property.
The definition of relevant citizens in time expanded to include blacks and women. But as Americans and immigrants increasingly clustered in enormous cities, and as large industrial factories employed thousands of low-skill workers, the percentage of property owners fell.
One hundred years ago, most urban Americans rented rather than owned their homes. Many had no bank accounts, and few had significant financial assets. Elites worried that this proletariat might rise in revolution.
In this America, the progressives argued that the Founders vision was obsolete. Property rights should be subordinate to human rights. Government should regulate economic activity and spread the wealth around, as Barack Obama told Joe the Plumber.
This view animated the New Deal in the 1930s and appealed to the non-property-owning majority. Franklin Roosevelt sowed the idea, harvested by the New Deal historians, that an ever-expanding government was both good and necessary. Democrats were referencing this when they said they were making history by passing their health-care bill.
Their problem is that the America of the progressives and New Dealers no longer exists. Government home-finance programs helped make us a nation of homeowners. Technological progress and deregulation improved transportation and communications and made the necessities of life less costly, enabling citizens to accumulate significant wealth in their working years.
True, we carried some of these things too far. Efforts to raise homeownership over 65 percent resulted in a housing-price crash. Poorly understood financial innovations resulted in the financial crisis of 2008.
But we still live in an America like the America of the Founders and unlike the America of the progressives and the New Dealers, in which a majority of citizens are or have every prospect of becoming property owners. And a nation of property owners is less willing to plunder the property of others in search of some promised gain than a nation in which most people dont and will never own significant property.
So when Susan Roesgen, then of CNN, upbraided a tea-party protester in 2009 by reminding him that he was getting a $400 tax rebate thanks to the Democrats stimulus package, she was met with utter dismissal. You dont sell out your property rights for a mere $400.
The polls and the post-2008 election results show that the purported beneficiaries of the Obama Democrats programs are unenthusiastic about voting and people with modest incomes are trending heavily Republican. The only enthusiasm for the Obama Democrats policies comes from David Brookss educated class: people who are or identify with the centralized experts tasked by the Obama Democrats with making decisions for the rest of us.
Unfortunately for the Obama Democrats, they, unlike property owners, are not a majority in todays America.
Michael Barone is senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner
What happens when you’re smarter than the “educated class”?
I read here on FR that beginning Jan 1 2011 my flexible spending account will be made less valuable by eliminating much of the tax advantage.
The “educated class” just wants there to be a bigger difference between themselves and the masses.
It frustrates them to no end that “the masses” can enjoy nearly the same perks as they can. They are entitled to far more than your “average” person.
RE: What happens when you’re smarter than the “educated” class
That could mean :
1) They are educating people to be dumber, not smarter, nowadays.
2) People are spending (wasting) lots of money in order to be educated on so much that isn’t so ( as Reagan would say ).
Their blue state America is bankrupt, the blueest states are tanking.
Real wages for Americans have decreased since 1972. We are poorer than our fathers. This first ever (to my knowledge) reduction in wealth for the average American across generations Americans occurred even after cell phones, the internet, and a million other technological advances great and small. There is an elite that is vastly wealthier; they have taken all of the increase in productivity (and then some), along with government workers, union workers, and a few groups favored by government.
Educated beyond their intelligence?
I like the idea of only property owners only voting, I even like the idea of only male property owners voting. Men seem to have more sense when it comes to practical economics. Women vote for the most handsome candidate or vote their feelings.
No where is it enumerated in the Constitution that we have a duty to be charitable to the point that we give it all away. Which is exactly what has happened. All politicians have droned on about our nonexistent “duty” to the world, no one can fulfill their expectations. From day one we were not able to afford the Welfare/Entitlement programs. Where we go from here isn't a happy picture. The horse has left the barn.
I think it would be worthwhile to run a nationwide ad campaign to remind voters what Obamacare is. Now that it has passed it is slowly shifting to the background. Third party groups need to spend an equal amount to counter the Obama lie machine.
“Real wages for Americans have decreased since 1972. We are poorer than our fathers.”
But real hourly compensation has NOT. In terms of purchasing power, today’s generation of Americans has the highest standard in all of U.S. history. The figures here:
are a bit out of date, but if the figures were extended 1 more decade, the story would not have changed appreciably. It takes far less time for the typical worker to provide food, clothing and shelter for their family than at any other time in the past.
“And a nation of property owners is less willing to plunder the property of others in search of some promised gain than a nation in which most people dont and will never own significant property.”
Hmmmm. Then explain to me why the liberal Democrats, Marxists, and other communist leaders, are very wealthy, (Soros), and still want it all? Fallen human nature?
David Brooks (born August 11, 1961) is a Jewish-American political and cultural commentator. He served as an editorial writer and film reviewer for the Washington Times, a reporter and later op-ed editor for The Wall Street Journal, a senior editor at The Weekly Standard from its inception, a contributing editor at Newsweek and The Atlantic Monthly, and a commentator on National Public Radio. He is now a columnist for The New York Times and commentator on PBS NewsHour.
Most liberals are.
Brooks is the ultimate rino. There is nothing conservative about him nor was there ever.
I think you are fighting the last war with this post and link.
The counteraruements in the weblink have a grain of truth but they were deployed against wackadoodle libs arguing against Republican Presidents by shouting out that wages have fallen and socialism is the answer. The fact is that REAL WAGES HAVE FALLEN since 1972 and the link your provided says so. Today, most intelligent and educated people recognize that regardless of who has been in power government has continued to grow every year since 1972 . . . so saying that real wages have fallen is NOT a valid argument for bigger government.
The link you provided says that the fall in real wages over 40 years it’s not as bad as it seems because:
1) Benefits have gone up so total compensation is better.
2) Per capita income is up (capital gains, stock value, etc.)
3) The Consumer Price Index overstates inflation so wages are better than they look.
One at a time:
1) Benefits are not salaries. Economically you are better off with $1 than with $1 in free medical care. Why? You may not need the one dollar in medical care but you can supply a want or a need with that $1 cash guaranteed. In other words benefits are given as a tax dodge and they suck for us! A young man may have great medical benefits when what he needs and wants is a good salary to buy a nice car and condo to impress his future wife. Etc., etc.
Second point about benefits. We’ve seen retirement benefits collapse and so I wouldn’t trust a lot of those benefits if I had them. In other words, smoke and mirrors with underfunded liabilities.
Third point about benefits. Medical inflation has grown so radically that the medical benefits have gone up and up in dollar terms for those that have them . . . but the value is still a doctor when you need them. If you can get one in a year or two with government taking over health care. What happens to the benefits argument with socialized medicine? Those benefits go away. My bet is that the wages don’t go up but down when they do go away, because overall the system will be less efficient so we will be poorer.
So I really don’t buy point one about the benefits. It sounds nice but give me better wages instead please.
2) They state that per capita income is up because of our investments even if our salaries are down. So our fathers saved, we inherited, our salaries are down but our investments are up. That’s apples and oranges. And it depends on the year you do the calculation . . . has the stock market crashed that month, the housing market? It’s not wages. It’s not the ability to earn to save to get capital gains. It’s not the ability to rise up in this society.
This argument will go away as well since net saving is 0 or negative now as well.
3) They argue that the CPI is not accurate. My view is that it is as accurate as the economists can make it. I think that the Feds shifted away from the CPI in order to cut cost of living increases on their entitlement programs, not because the CPI is innacurate.
And a nation of property owners is less willing to plunder the property of others in search of some promised gain than a nation in which most people dont and will never own significant property.
The reason is that the majority have something to protect from encroachment by government. Soros and the liberal politicians have power, so they are not as afraid of a system that they control, imho. It’s their system and the conservatives just want to leave them alone (and be left alone) so they are not really threatened even when conservatives run things.
Now if we defunded the left that would scare the !@#$ out of them.
If you are spending more work time than your father to a) put a chicken on the table; b) drive 100 miles in your car; c) provide shelter of equivalent size/quality, then your standard of living may have declined, but this is not true of the average American.
All the economists who have looked at it carefully concede that CPI overstates inflation by about 1% a year: this has HUGE consequences for whether real wages or income per capita are rising or falling over time.
Moreover, even if the CPI did a perfect job of accounting for the price of chicken, homes or refrigerators over time, it is positively lousy at accounting for new technology. The introduction of computers, cell phones, iPods and similar electronic gadgets have enormously improved the quality of life. Most of us have managed to acquire these goods to varying degrees without having to starve ourselves, our families, dress them in rags or force them to live in hovels.
Taking the entire “package” of current goods and services that can be afforded by the average worker today versus 40 years ago, how many would gladly swap today’s package for yesterday’s? If more than half would make the swap, that would be solid evidence we’ve been losing ground. Otherwise, we’ve been gaining ground on average. The share of income needed for food, clothing, shelter has steadily declined over the past century, which likewise is solid evidence we have been gaining rather than losing ground in terms of standard of living.
Medical costs . . . up or down? Are you spending less time at work today to provide medical care or are you spending more time than 40 years ago? Gas? Automobile? Higher education for your children? Vacations? I don’t even buy that people work less time for equivalent homes compared to 40 years ago. What did a 5 acre lot and house in Florida cost someone 40 years ago versus today? Dallas? Jersey? I’m not buying it.
I just don’t buy it. My bet is that if I dug into these studies you say are out there I’d find them lacking.
I left out non-medical insurance. Auto, life, property etc. have rocketed up as well.
Here’s a fact regarding car prices:
With the average new-car price topping $20,000 for the first time, it now takes more than six months of a typical family’s entire pretax earnings to buy a new car.
2008 median family income: 52,000
Avg. car price in 1972: 4,500. Median family income: 14,000.
So about 1/3 annual income for a car in 1972. About 1/2 in 2010.
(22 weeks of income in 2009 to buy a car)
Now the argument will be that the car in 2010 is better than 1972. True. BUT, shouldn’t the wage be better when we’ve had economic growth as well?
Brooks is the ultimate rino. There is nothing conservative about him nor was there ever.
Seems that way
Necroing this thread a little to give you a link to an article about Jim Rogers. Note the casual mention by him that the UK and US governments “lie” about inflation by understating it. It’s a pretty commonly held viewpoint imo.