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OPINION - The big lie

by Chris Conley

NEWS BLOG (WSAU)  “If you like the health insurance you have now, you can keep it.” There’s no way around it, this is the lie of the Obama Administration. (For the record, he went on to say “Period. No questions.” And it’s not a lie because Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are calling him out. The Washington Post fact-checker gave the President four-Pinocchio’s. And the people who were lied to know it… when and if they’re able to log onto healthcare.gov.

The worst lie in politics is the one that has critical mass. This one does. 16-million people might lose their individual health care policies. And when they enter the exchange market, many will find the close-cousin fib when they find that their premiums didn’t go down $2,500.

The public is almost evenly split on whether the government is necessary for big, sweeping challenges or whether the private sector is always the more efficient answer. Obamacare appears to be a loss for the big government crowd because it is such a public struggle that impacts so many people. The technocrat model is taking a beating – the idea that highly informed government experts know what’s best for us and can devise systems that will meet those needs.

Today the latest NBC News-Wall St Journal poll puts the President’s job approval rating at 42% -- a new low for Barack Obama. His likeability rating, which was always higher than his actual policy-approvals, is sub-50 too. That, of course, is what the public thinks of people who lie to them.

Barack Obama will leave office with an approval rating similar to George Bush’s. Assuming Obamacare continues to be discredited, the President will leave office with no signature achievement. Popular opinion (which isn’t always right) will judge that we’ve had two failed presidencies in a row. And each Chief Executive’s approval numbers are twice as high as Congress’. What does it mean when Americans, for a decade or longer, have a sustained dislike for their government?

Our government is us, right? We’re led by citizen lawmakers. Even government bureaucrats are our friends and neighbors. Perhaps.

Seven of the 10 counties with the highest per-capita incomes are in Maryland and Virginia, surrounding Washington DC. That’s where the legions on federal employees live in their $300,000 suburban homes. People who live there are most able to withstand higher health insurance costs. And what do they have in common with us? The disconnect between the government and the people it serves is widening.

Chris Conley
10.31.13