While we are all busily trying to read the tea leaves that keep blooming at the Department of Health and Human Services like a pot of budding jasmine rose tea at your favorite Chinese restaurant, I often wonder how we so totally lost not only the substantive argument on health care, but the rhetorical argument as well. It is true enough that moving a conservative argument to the top of the media hill is a task that would make Sisyphus quit in frustration. But surely, there is more to the problem than the largely liberal Fourth Estate.
During a recent press conference discussing the current financial “crisis,” President Obama invoked the same kind of specious examples as we heard time and time again during the run-up to PPACA. You remember the hyped up examples of folks who were wronged by the evil insurance companies? Well, the president is on that same roll again. Hey … it worked the first time, right?
He suggested that we would be sacrificing food safety if we didn’t eliminate the tax breaks afforded to owners of private aircraft. He went out of his way to make it seem as though, if we just did away with this tax break, we could fix what is budgetarily ailing us.
Even the senior political analyst for Time magazine was so amazed that he referred to the president as behaving like a … well … you’ve heard the news. Yet the best commentary on that silly speech in general, and the aviation reference in specific, came from columnist Charles Krauthammer: “I did the math on this. If you collect the corporate jet tax every year for the next 5,000 years, you will cover one year of the debt that Obama has run up. One year. To put it another way, if you started collecting that tax at the time of John the Baptist and you collected it every year — first in shekels and now in dollars — you wouldn’t be halfway to covering one year of the amount of debt that Obama has run up.”
I don’t know if we would have fared any better if we had a Charles of our own, but it sure would have been a little bit more satisfying.