As he suffocated to death at the US Consulate in Benghazi on the 11th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the US, did US Ambassador Christopher Stevens understand why he and his fellow Americans were being murdered?
From what we have learned of this man since he was killed, it is clear that he was extremely courageous. He stole into Benghazi in April 2011 on a cargo ship to serve as chief US liaison officer to the rebel forces fighting Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. He did the business of the US government in makeshift offices and moved from safe house to safe house under what can only be considered dire conditions of combat.
But did he understand the forces he was unleashing?
Stevens arrived in Benghazi at an early phase of US involvement in the rebellion against Gaddafi, a former US foe who had been neutered since 2004. But even then it was clear that the rebels with whom he worked included jihadist fighters associated with al-Qaida. Their significance became obvious when just after the regime fell in November 2011, rebel forces foisted the flag of al-Qaida over the courthouse in Benghazi.
Did Stevens understand what this meant? Perhaps he did. But his boss, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, certainly didn’t. Following Tuesday’s attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Clinton said, “Today, many Americans are asking – indeed, I asked myself – how could this happen? How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction? This question reflects just how complicated and, at times, how confounding the world can be.”
Clinton, the bewildered stewardess of US foreign policy, then proclaimed with utter certainty that there is nothing to be concerned about. “We must be clear-eyed, even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group – not the people or government of Libya,” she said.
Of course, what she failed to mention was that after the rebels felled Gaddafi’s regime – with US support – they began imposing Islamic law over large swathes of the country.
Clinton was not the only senior US official who didn’t understand why Stevens and three other Americans were murdered or why the US Consulate in Benghazi was reduced to a smoldering ruin.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, thinks that the party responsible for the Muslim violence against the US on the anniversary of September 11 is a kook in Florida who enjoys saying nasty things about Islam.
The day after the murderous assault on the US Consulate in Benghazi, and in the face of an ongoing mob assault on the US Embassy in Cairo, and on US embassies in Yemen and Tunis, Dempsey called Pastor Terry Jones in Florida and asked him to withdraw his support for a film that depicts Muhammad in a negative fashion.
Dempsey’s spokesman Col. Dave Lapan told Reuters, “In a brief call, Gen. Dempsey expressed his concerns over the nature of the film, the tensions it will inflame and the violence it will cause. He asked Mr. Jones to consider withdrawing his support for the film.”
Dempsey’s belief that a third-rate riff on Muhammad supported by a marginal figure in Florida is the cause of the terrorist attacks on US embassies is not simply shocking. It is devastating.
It means that the senior officer in the US military is of the opinion that the party to blame for the assaults on US government installations overseas was an American pastor. To prevent the recurrence of such incidents, freedom of speech must be constrained.
And Dempsey is not the only senior US military commander who harbors this delusion.
A similar response was voiced by Gen. George Casey, the US Army chief of staff, in the wake of the massacre of US forces at Ft. Hood in November 2009 by Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan. Hassan, who had been in contact with al-Qaida commander Anwar al-Awlaki and described himself as a “soldier of Islam,” was clearly acting out of Islamic jihadist motivations when he shot his fellow soldiers.
And yet, responding to the attack, Casey said that worse than the massacre itself – that is, more sacred than the lives of his own soldiers – was the notion that “our diversity” should fall casualty to Hassan’s murderous attack. In his words, “Our diversity not only in our army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.”
A word about the much mentioned film about Muhammad is in order. The film was apparently released about a year ago. It received little notice until last month when a Salafi television station in Egypt broadcast it.
In light of the response, the purpose of the broadcast was self-evident. The broadcasters screened the film to incite anti-American violence.
Had they not been interested in attacking the US, they would not have screened the film.
They sought a pretext for attacking America. If the film had never been created, they would have found another – equally ridiculous – pretext.
And here we come to the nature of the attacks against America that occurred on the 11th anniversary of the September 11 jihadist attacks.
A cursory consideration of the events that took place – and are still taking place – makes clear that these were not acts of spontaneous rage about an amateur Internet movie. They were premeditated. In Egypt, the mob attack on the embassy followed the screening of the anti-Islam flick on jihadist television. It was led by Muhammad al-Zawahiri – the brother of al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The US’s first official response to the assault on its embassy in Cairo came in the form of a Twitter feed from the embassy apologizing to Muslims for the film.
The day before the attacks, al-Qaida released a video of Ayman al-Zawahiri in which he called for his co-religionists to attack the US in retribution for the killing – in June – of his second in command Abu Al Yahya al-Libi by a US drone in Pakistan.
Zawahiri specifically asked for the strongest act of retribution to be carried out in Libya.
As for the attack in Libya, it apparently came as no surprise to some US officials on the ground. In an online posting the night before he was killed, US Foreign Service information management officer Sean Smith warned of the impending strike. Smith wrote, “Assuming we don’t die tonight. We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures.”
The coordinated, premeditated nature of the attack was self-evident. The assailants were armed with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns. They knew the location of the secret safe house to which the US consular officials fled. They laid ambush to a Marine force sent to rescue the 37 Americans hiding at the safe house. And yet, Clinton and Dempsey either could not fathom why the attack occurred, or blamed an irrelevant pastor in Florida.
Like Dempsey, the US media were swift to focus the blame for the attacks on the film. The New York Times was quick to report – falsely – that the film’s creator was an Israeli Jew. It took an entire day for that bit of misinformation to be dispelled. But the campaign to blame the attacks on the movie creators continued.
By Wednesday afternoon the media shifted the focus of discussion on the still ongoing attacks from the film to an all-out assault on Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Romney became the target of media attention for his temerity in attacking as “disgraceful” the administration’s initial apologetic response to the attacks on the embassies.
FOLLOWING THE September 11 attacks, the US Congress formed the bipartisan 9/11 Commission and charged it with determining the causes of the assault and recommending a course of action for the government to follow to prevent such attacks from happening again. It took the commission members nearly three years to finish their report. In the end, they claimed that the chief failure enabling the attacks was “one of imagination.”
Unfortunately for the US, the commissioners had things backwards. It wasn’t that imagination failed America before September 11. It was that imagination reigned in America. And it still
It’s just that the land of make-believe occupied by the US foreign policy elite has shifted.
Until September 11, 2001, the US foreign policy elite was of the opinion that the chief threat to US national security was the fact that the US was a “hyperpower.”
That is, the chief threat to the US was the US itself.
After September 11, the US decided that the main threat to the US was “terror,” against which the US declared war. The perpetrators of terrorism were rarely mentioned, and when they were they were belittled as “marginal forces.”
Those forces, of course are anything but marginal. The Islamic ideology of jihad is the predominant ideology in the Muslim world today.
The rallying cry of al-Qaida – the shehada – is the cry of Muslim faith. Jihadist Islam is the predominant form of Islam worshiped in mosques throughout the world. And the ideology of jihad is an ideology of war against the non-Islamic world led by the US.
Then-president George W. Bush and his administration imagined a world where the actual enemies of the US were marginal forces in Islam. They then determined – based on nothing – that the masses of the Muslim world from Gaza to Iraq to Afghanistan and beyond were simply Jeffersonian democrats living under the jackboot. If freed from tyranny, they would become liberal democrats nearly indistinguishable from regular Americans.
With President Barack Obama’s inauguration, the imaginary world inhabited by the American foreign policy elite shifted again. Obama and his advisers agree that jihadist Islam is the predominant force in the Muslim world. But in their imaginary world, jihadist Islam is a good thing for America.
Hence, Turkish Prime Minister Recip Erdogan is Obama’s closest confidante in the Middle East despite his transformation of Turkey from a pro-Western secular republic into a pro-Iranian Islamic republic in which secularists are jailed without trial for years on end.
Hence Israel – the first target of jihadist Islam’s bid for global supremacy – is a strategic burden rather than an ally to the US.
Hence the US abandoned its most stalwart ally in the Arab world, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, and supported the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power in the most strategically vital state in the Arab world.
Hence it supported a Libyan rebel force penetrated by al-Qaida.
Hence it is setting the stage for the reinstitution of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
It is impossible to know the thoughts that crossed Stevens’ mind as he lay dying in Benghazi. But what is clear enough is that as long as imagination reigns supreme, freedom will be imperiled.
Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.
Hamel: “When Washington Tries to ‘Win the Day,’ Americans Lose”
In the Huffington Post Public Notice Executive Director Gretchen Hamel editorializes, “‘Win the day’ is a common refrain in politics. Win enough days and you win the campaign/debate as the logic goes. The Price of Politics, the new book by Bob Woodward, chronicles Washington’s failure to compromise on a strategy to spur the economy while reining in widening deficits. It centers around the big policy fights from President Obama’s first term: health care, stimulus, the debt ceiling and tax cuts but the strategy at the heart of it all: ‘win the day.’ The result is a president and Congress too focused on what the other side is doing wrong and too timid to make bold decisions or compromises needed to get our economy back on track.” Click here to read the full op-ed.
“View from the Capitol: Free Cupcakes on the Hill”
The National Journal reports, “Bankrupting America, an education project of the nonprofit Public Notice, threw Capitol Hill staffers a ‘Not-So-Sweet Sixteen’ party Thursday, handing out more than 500 free cupcakes to commemorate the country reaching $16 trillion in debt. The cupcakes were provided by the food truck Cupcake Joy. Flavors included sweet potato, lemon and everyone’s favorite, red velvet. Event planners seemed surprised at how quickly the sweets disappeared.” Click here to see photos from the event.
New Bankrupting America Political Cartoon: A Not-So-Sweet 16 Party!
Unfortunately for America’s this Not-so-Sweet Sixteen comes with the bill as well. Check out our latest political cartoon below as the us national debt passes $16 trillion for the first time in history here: http://www.bankruptingamerica.org/political-cartoon-a-not-so-sweet-sixteen-party
Fed Pledges $40B Monthly Bond-Buying, “eclipses any concerns about inflation for now”
Bloomberg reports, “Ben S. Bernanke for the first time pledged that the Federal Reserve will buy bonds until the economy gets closer to his goals, cementing his place as the Fed’s most innovative chairman and signaling the battle against unemployment eclipses any concerns about inflation for now. The central bank yesterday announced its third round of large-scale asset purchases since 2008, with the difference that it didn’t set any limit on the ultimate amount it would buy or the duration of the program. Instead, Bernanke said stimulus will be expanded until the Fed sees ‘sustained improvement’ in the labor market.” According to The Hill, Bernanke commented on the decision saying, “‘We’ve seen unemployment basically in the same place it was in January. … We’ve seen not enough jobs growth to bring down the unemployment rate, and what we need to see is more progress. We’re just trying to get the economy moving in the right direction…”
Coming Soon: Lame Duck Kicking A Can
Roll Call reports, “Amid all the bluster about how high the stakes are and the vows by both parties to play out the game of chicken until they win, the approaching lame-duck session is more likely to come down to what lame ducks almost always come down to: punting until the next session of Congress. It has long been clear that Congress and the White House are leaving until after the elections the big questions about the renewal of Bush-era tax rates and whether to roll back pending spending cuts. While both sides seem to believe an electoral victory for their party will force the other to capitulate, those dynamics have rarely played out in lame-duck sessions of the past, and Congress as a whole has been more apt to defer to the next duly elected Congress on long-term decisions for the country’s fiscal policy.”
House Approves Short-Term Spending Bill, Fiscal Cliff Still Looms
The Associated Press reports, “Congress is moving to quash the threat of a government shutdown, but the prospect of a one-two punch of tax increases and slashing, automatic spending cuts will still confront lawmakers when they return to Washington after Election Day.
The House on Thursday passed a six-month stopgap spending bill to keep federal agencies running past the end of the budget year, the elections and into the spring. It effectively scratched a major item off of Congress’ to-do list heading into a potentially brutal postelection, lame duck session.
The bipartisan 329-91 House vote for the measure sent it to the Senate, which is expected to clear it next week for President Barack Obama’s signature, capping a year of futility and gridlock on the budget despite a hard-fought spending and deficit-reduction deal last summer. … While taking the possibility of a government shutdown out of the equation, the so-called fiscal cliff — a combination of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes set to slam the economy in January — still hangs over Congress and President Barack Obama.”
“Greece denies report it will need third bailout”
Reuters reports, “Greece’s finance minister on Thursday denied a report citing the country’s representative to the IMF as saying Athens would need a third bailout package. The euro weakened against the dollar on the report, which was later also denied by the official quoted in the article and came as international inspectors are mulling handing over the next tranche of Greece’s second aid package. … Cash-strapped Greece must come up with nearly 12 billion euros of extra cuts for the next two years to get the money, and it has fallen behind in reforms.”
“Last night in his speech President Obama invoked FDR. Then he saw the unemployment numbers and invoked WTF.” –Jay Leno
“Everyone is still talking about Bill Clinton’s speech last night in Charlotte. It was a remarkable speech, 45 minutes long and 6,000 words. Like the political version of the guitar solo from ‘Freebird.’” –Craig Ferguson
“We got some bad economic news. The United States has slipped further down the global ranking of the world’s most competitive economies. We’re now #7. Switzerland is number one. Romney said, ‘See, that’s why I keep my money there.’” –Jay Leno
Before jumping into the state-by-state news, take note of this current polling chart from RealClearPolitics which the Democrats are hoping you will overlook because it shows Republicans currently in a position to win back a Senate majority in November….
In Virginia, more troubling news for the Democrats as a new poll from NBC/WSJ/Marist poll finds that former DNC Chairman Tim Kaine has lost 6 points since their last poll back in May and is now under-performing President Obama on the ballot by three points, while George Allen is over-performing.
- And Virginia Watchdog reports that George Allen continues to remind voters in the Commonwealth that Tim Kaine was the number one cheerleader for President Obama’s failed policies. Allen, for his part, has used numerous ads highlighting Kaine’s term as chairman of the Democratic National Committee to tie him to President Barack Obama, hoping a tepid economic recovery will provide a distinctive choice in voters’ minds.
- Meanwhile, the NRSC reminded Virginians of Tim Kaine’s liberal, job-killing record on energy. Despite Kaine’s election year posturing, he’s actually been a staunch supporter of President Obama’s job-killing cap-and-trade proposal. Additionally, Kaine has also fought against offshore energy exploration, which would create thousands of jobs and lower the price of gasoline. “Former DNC Chairman Tim Kaine’s ad is incredibly misleading, because not only does he oppose offshore energy exploration – which would create jobs and lower gas prices – he also supports President Obama’s job-killing cap-and-trade proposal,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) spokesman Brian Walsh. “With a record like that, it’s clear Chairman Kaine’s record on energy is wrong for Virginia.”
In Connecticut, today released its newest ad entitled “Pattern.” The ad highlights Congressman Chris Murphy’s disturbing pattern of behavior as an elected official by revealing several questionable facts about his inability to handle his personal finances and his lack of attention to the demands of his taxpayer-funded job in Congress.
- And Murphy is still playing defense into the weekend as the CT Mirror reports that he’s refusing to release his credit score or any documentation related to his sweetheart mortgage loans. The U.S. Senate campaign of Democrat Chris Murphy says it will not release his application for a $43,000 home-equity credit line that Republican Linda McMahon claims was a sweetheart deal from a political ally, Webster bank. Murphy’s campaign spokesman, Ben Marter, responded with a one-word answer when asked by The Mirror if the candidate would disclose the application, related documents or his credit score: “No.”
- Meanwhile, Hearst News reports that McMahon is winning the news cycle day-after-day while defining her opponent as Chris Dodd 2.0. Politics 101: define your opponent before he can define himself. Linda McMahon is following the syllabus. After a week of winning the news cycle against Chris Murphy thanks to opposition research that the congressman was threatened with foreclosure, McMahon is overtly trying to tie Murphy to fellow Democrat and former Sen. Chris Dodd. In a news release this morning, McMahon labels Murphy “Chris Dodd 2.0,” harkening back to the Countrywide VIP loan scandal.
In Massachusetts, it’s a bad sign when even your hometown newspaper turns on you but even the Harvard Crimson is lamenting the state of their Professor Elizabeth Warren’s campaign these days – Warren Struggles In Home Stretch….
- The Harvard Crimson: “Almost a year to the day since Elizabeth Warren declared her candidacy for the U.S. Senate outside a South Boston MBTA station, Democratic political consultants and professors said that the Harvard Law School professor still faces the same uphill battle that has beguiled her campaign since its earliest days.”
- The Crimson: “Now, with a year of campaigning behind her, Warren is anything but inexperienced, but political consultants and political science professors said she has failed to grasp the heart of the problems facing her campaign.”
- The Boston Globe’s Joan Vennochi: “Agreed: Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren wasted millions on ads that turned her into every man’s worst nightmare: a smarter-than-thou older woman sporting granny glasses and sensible hair.”
- Democratic Strategist Dan Payne in the Crimson: “My critique of it is simple: it’s not about Massachusetts. … It’s as though she’s running a national campaign. Brown, on the other hand, his advertising is very attached to the state.”
- Meanwhile, Worcester Politics reports – Republican Senator Scott Brown announced another addition to his “Democrats for Brown” coalition on Friday, former Democratic Mayor and current Lowell City Council, Rita Mercier. Mercier has sat on the City Council since 1996, and she was the third woman ever to hold the office of Mayor in the City of Lowell when she took on the role back in 2002. Mercier joins the likes of former Democratic mayors Konnie Lukes of Worcester, Ray Flynn of Boston and Charles Ryan of Springfield in crossing the aisle to support the Republican Senator this November. Brown has now picked up support from former Democratic mayors in the Commonwealth’s four largest cities.
In Ohio, The Hill reports that Josh Mandel is reminding voters that liberal Democrat Sherrod Brown has missed over 350 votes, while voting to increase his pay 6 times. Republican Josh Mandel’s campaign is out with a new ad in his fight for Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-Ohio) Senate seat, this time attacking the senator’s attendance record during his tenure in Congress. The ad points out that Brown missed over 350 official votes, a tally that comes from the site GovTrack, which keeps record of all congressional votes. It also highlights his votes in favor of bills that would result in a pay raise for members of Congress.
In Florida, the Orlando Sentinel reports that Connie Mack is up with a new ad that reminds voters that Bill Nelson voted for ObamaCare. Republican U.S. Senate nominee U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV has released a new TV commercial in which he focuses on what he says are the three differences between himself and incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson: ObamaCare, taxes and belief in free enterprise. Mack’s take: Nelson voted for ObamaCare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, and he votd against. Nelson voted for tax increases, whiile Mack voted for tax cuts. Nelson believes in government, while Mack believes in “you, free enterprise, and the spirit of the American people.”
- Meanwhile, the Palm Beach New Times reports that on October 17, Connie Mack will debate Bill Nelson’s job-killing record. The Bill Nelson-Connie Mack race is pretty much America’s most closely watched Senate race. And now incumbent Nelson — the Democrat — and Mack — the Republican — have agreed to the only confirmed statewide televised debate on October 17.
In North Dakota, The Hill reports that Rick Berg is calling on Heidi Heitkamp to pull a false political assault ad. Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.) slammed Democratic challenger Heidi Heitkamp on Thursday for what he called a “false political assault” in a new ad from her campaign that attacks his business record, calling for her to remove the ad from the airwaves. Berg flew back from Washington, where Congress is currently in session, to North Dakota on Thursday — the same day the ad was released — to address the claims made in the ad. “North Dakotans know that political campaigns are hard-fought, but expect them to be fought fairly. Heidi Heitkamp’s claims are 100 percent false. I’m disappointed in Heidi, as I’m sure so too are the people of this state,” Berg said during a press conference held Thursday morning to address the ad.
- Meanwhile, Huffington Post reports that while Heidi Heitkamp tells North Dakotans she’s for fracking, her #2 contributor is an anti-fracking law firm based in New York. According to campaign records tallied by the Center for Responsive Politics, Heitkamp’s second-largest group of contributors are employees of Weitz & Luxenberg, a mass tort law firm that has represented those arguing the harms of fracking in the past. The law firm’s employees have given Heitkamp at least $22,400.
In Montana, the Associated Press reports that Denny Rehberg is demanding that we get the farm bill passed. U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg is increasing his criticism of party leaders and demanding a farm bill amid pressure from state agricultural groups. Rehberg says he is signing onto a bipartisan resolution to force GOP House leaders to bring the farm bill out for a vote. Without it, many programs popular with farmers will expire. Rehberg says he understands the move will put a “burr under the saddle” of his party leaders, but says election year politics can’t get in the way of a farm bill.
In Nebraska, where Deb Fischer has a very comfortable lead, the Associated Press reports that Fischer continues to hammer Bob Kerrey for his time in New York City. With roughly 35 million head of cattle grazing on nearly half the state’s land, ranching retains an iconic status in Nebraska. So it’s no surprise that Republican U.S. Senate candidate Deb Fischer’s campaign ads show her leaning up against fence posts while she’s described as a rancher who is “sharp as barb wire, tougher than a cedar fence post.” Her opponent, Democrat Bob Kerrey, is a former governor and senator who for a decade was president of a university in New York. Fischer’s campaign frequently emphasizes the contrast between their occupations, clearly betting that it will play well with Nebraska voters who have become more conservative and suspicious of government since Kerrey left the Senate in January 2001. … Polls indicate she retains a solid lead in the race.
- Meanwhile, the Weekly Standard reports that Deb Fischer is out where a new ad telling Nebraskans where she stands on the important issues. Republican Senate candidate Deb Fischer of Nebraska has a new television ad out. “In Nebraska we solve problems by governing responsibly and sticking to our principles,” Fischer says in the ad. “Time Washington did the same.” Watch the ad below: “Here’s where I stand: Let’s repeal Obamacare and replace it with a fair market system that doesn’t raise taxes,” Fischer says. “Raising taxes will only hurt job creation. And besides, you pay enough already.”
- Finally, Roll Call reports that Deb Fischer has agreed to the third and final debate against New York liberal Bob Kerrey. State Sen. Deb Fischer (R) and former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D) have agreed to a third debate, according to the Associated Press. The debate will take place on Oct. 1 and will air statewide on public television, radio and online.
In New Mexico, a monkey made an appearance at Martin Heinrich’s office to symbolizes his vote for the failed $825 billion stimulus, which spent money to see how monkeys would react to cocaine. As KOB-TV in Albuquerque reports: Well the guy in the monkey suit is to represent two things – first he’s to represent that we’re tired of politicians like Congressman Heinrich who are monkeying around in Washington – but the other thing he’s to represent is specifically some of the foolish money that was spent for the 800 billion dollar stimulus bill that was spent to observe monkeys fighting.
In Arizona, the Lake Powell Chronicle reports that Jeff Flake hammered President Obama and Richard Carmona for their war on coal. Rep. Jeff Flake, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, spoke to a packed house at the Page Community Center Sept. 5 about issues surrounding the Navajo Generating Station. Currently the future of the plant resides on how the owners choose to handle the proposed ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to hand down soon. “There is a war on coal at the EPA. Let’s call it for what it is,” Flake said. “And they’re going to use anything they can, it seems, to push forward that war on coal.”
In Hawaii, the Honolulu Civil Beat reports that Congresswoman Mazie Hirono voted against funding the Tsunami Warning Network. U.S. Senate candidate Mazie Hirono earlier this year voted against funding the Tsunami Warning Network that provides Hawaii with early tsunami detection and warnings. The high-tech buoy network faced $4.5 million in cuts in February, and Hirono opposed bipartisan House legislation to fully fund the critical system for FY2013. “Hirono voted against the best interest of our state — a state in a Tsunami high-risk zone — and against one of our most important life-saving tools, by voting against fully funding the Tsunami Warning Network,” said former Director of Hawaii Civil Defense and Linda Lingle Campaign Manager Bob Lee.
Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released the 2011 findings on health insurance coverage in the United States.
Despite a small reduction in the uninsured by 1.4 million from 2010 to 2011, 48.6 million, or 15.7 percent of Americans, remain without health insurance.
Another area of disappointment comes from the number of uninsured young adults: 27.7 percent of the uninsured fall in this age group. While this group saw a decrease of 2 percent—partially due to Obamacare’s extension of coverage to dependents up to age 26—it is much less than President Obama and his Administration promised. In August, the President claimed, “Nearly 7 million young people have health insurance because they’re able to stay on their parents’ plans.”
Moreover, as Heritage’s Drew Gonshorowski warns, there are unintended consequences from these “gains” in coverage: The net effect may hide the substitution effect. He writes, “In the case of insuring more young people, recent analysis shows that Obamacare encourages young adults to enroll in dependent coverage and drop their own coverage, causes employers to stop offering coverage, and will likely increase premiums.”
Today’s report also revealed that the alarming trend of dependence on government for health insurance continues to grow for the fifth year in a row, reaching 99.5 million, or 32.2 percent in 2011. Of those, over half—16.5 percent of all Americans—were enrolled in Medicaid in 2011, a program that provides low-quality care and severe access to care problems. A recent study shows that one in three doctors will no longer accept new Medicaid patients.
Obamacare makes matters worse by adding millions of Americans into this struggling program. In addition, uninsured rates are expected to continue under Obamacare. Despite spending $1.68 trillion on Obamacare’s coverage expansion provisions, 30 million Americans are projected to remain uninsured in 2022.
A better way to reform health care and reduce the number of uninsured Americans is through The Heritage Foundation’s Saving the American Dream, which would reform the tax treatment of health insurance to enable Americans, including those between the ages of 18 and 26, to purchase coverage themselves.
The Heritage plan would provide individual tax credits to offset the cost of health coverage, making it more affordable for individuals. This gives consumers control and choice and allows them to have coverage regardless of whether they have jobs or their employers offer coverage.
Furthermore, expanding options beyond work-based coverage gives workers insurance portability that helps them maintain continuous insurance coverage over a lifetime.
The American health system is in need of reform that helps the uninsured get health coverage of their choice, not an extension of government dependence that comes with Obamacare.
Milton Friedman on the dangers of big business influencing government. http://www.LibertyPen.com