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Our Lyin’ Eyes

August 12, 2009

IBD     6 Aug 09

Chicanery: On health care, taxes and grass-roots protests, the White House seems to be echoing Chico Marx’s famous line in the film “Duck Soup”: “Who you gonna believe — me or your own eyes?”

We may see the video of President Obama telling one labor union that he wants to eliminate private health insurance, and telling another that he is “a proponent of single-payer universal health care coverage . . . that’s what I’d like to see.”

We may hear liberal economists inside and outside the administration warn of the president having to break his middle-class tax pledge. We may behold angry voters hounding Democratic lawmakers about impending socialism.

But according to the White House, it’s all just our lyin’ eyes.

The administration, for instance, put together a three-minute video hosted by former ABC News correspondent Linda Douglass, who claimed that the enemies of government expansion of medical insurance are “taking sentences and phrases out of context and cobbling them together to leave a very false impression.”

According to Douglass, “they simply cherry-pick and put it together and make it sound like he’s saying something that he didn’t really say.”

The problem for Douglass is that the president did say what it sounds like he said. And her video never provided the “context” that allegedly refutes his “sentences and phrases” — because the context does no such thing.

The president did tell the AFL-CIO he was for single payer, and he did tell the Service Employees International Union that it would take time “to eliminate employer coverage” — perhaps 10, 15 or 20 years.

In light of those statements, consider the obvious effect the White House-proposed, government-run alternative would have, with its artificially low premiums sucking away the customers of private health insurance firms.

It’s hard not to view the Obama plan as exactly what Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., has called it: “the best way to reach single payer.”

The Orwellian doublespeak continues when it comes to the populist “town hell” protests that have plagued Democratic members of Congress in Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin and other spots. 

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs scoffed at “the AstroTurf nature of so-called grass-roots lobbying.” Citizens rising up? That’s just an illusion.

Gibbs also tried to downplay statements from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers suggesting the president may have to break his promise not to increase middle-class taxes by even “one single dime.”

“I don’t think any economist would believe that, in the environment that we’re in, that raising taxes on middle-class families would make any sense,” Gibbs said Monday.

But Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel laureate who served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Clinton administration, proceeded to say that raising taxes to fund “these great extra expenditures” that will “make our economy more productive in the future” made great sense.

In the aftermath of the worst economic calamity since the early 1980s, and the election of the most left-leaning president in American history, we should not be deluded into doubting what we clearly see happening.

The president is indeed on record as supporting a Euro-style, socialistic, single-payer medical insurance system. He did indeed speak favorably of the incremental demise of private health insurance in America.

The American people, in their wisdom, are indeed waking up to the gravity of what is happening to this country.  And they are only beginning to let their elected representatives know that they want the brakes applied.

Finally, you can bet that your taxes will be raised to pay for Uncle Sam’s unprecedented new spending.

When a politician asks, “Who you gonna believe — me or your own eyes?” the people of this country, who revolted against the might of a faraway king rather than suffer “a long train of abuses and usurpations,” know the answer only too well.

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