Obama & Christie - Telling Interviews


November 27, 2013


Read carefully when politicians speak. I was reading a special section of The Wall Street Journal that included interviews with various speakers at WSJ’s annual CEO Council. This week, I’ll share a few of my thoughts on remarks made by President Obama and Governor Chris Christie.

First, President Obama discussing the likelihood of another government shutdown in January or February, references the last shutdown:
“The way our system is set up is like a loaded gun, and once people thought, “we can get leverage on policy disputes by threatening default,” that was an extrordinarily dangerous precedent. That’s a principle I had to adhere to, not just for me but for the next president—that you’re not going to be able to threaten the entire U.S. or world economy simply because you disagree with me about a health-care bill.”
This is a telling statement—- in many ways.  First, it would appear that President Obama is calling the Affordable Care Act “a health-care bill.” In truth, it’s a law, written in U.S. Code since 2010. But the fact that people, including the president, are not yet beyond calling it a bill, shows clearly that Obamacare is not yet settled law.
Second, at a time when some polls have 55% of people wanting Obamacare repealed – with 51% saying the law will decrease quality of health care -- the president dares to use the word “simply.” This word dismisses the sweeping impacts of the federal takeover including cancelled insurance policies, imposed mandates, skyrocketing premiums, and limited choice of doctors and hospitals.
Third, Mr. Obama seems to be telling the next president that he or she should protect Obama’s takeover of health care as a matter of principle. Not so. America’s next president must follow constitutional principles and repeal this dangerous law.
Fourth, the government shutdown did not threaten the U.S. or world economy. The U.S. has sufficient dollars coming in through taxes to pay its debts. Furthermore, the U.S. Constitution forbids non-payment of debt.
Finally, Obama says Congress’ power to refuse to raise the debt ceiling is a “loaded gun.” But the Oct. 16 budget bill ending the shutdown makes it more difficult for Congress to stop the next debt ceiling increase. Rather than Congress being required to approve it, Obama can propose the increase, Congress can vote to reject it, Obama can veto their bill and unless a supermajority overrides the veto, the debt ceiling will be increased by Obama without the consent of Congress. So now who has the loaded gun?
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) had a few disturbing things to say as well when asked whether Obamacare should be “completely scrapped”:
“Obamacare is wrong. It’s a failure. It’s the most extraordinary overreach of government power in the history of our country. What do we need to replace it? We need a robust debate among both sides, unlike last time, where the president jammed this down everybody’s throat and got not one Republican vote because he was unwilling to make any compromise, including tort reform.”
Skip the first three sentences, which might lead you to believe a ‘President Christie’ would simply repeal Obamacare.
Starting with sentence four, I have at least three concerns:
First, Christie says Obamacare should be “replaced.” No, it should be repealed. Completely and fully. Health care is a state issue. The federal government is limited by the U.S. Constitution. Nothing in the Constitution gives the federal government authority to enact a federal law on health care. This includes Medicare.
It is precisely because of Medicare that we have Obamacare. With nearly $42.8 trillion of $211 trillion in unfunded liabilities – almost three times higher than the national debt of $16 trillion – members of Congress have been seeking a political solution that will both solve Medicare’s financial crisis and keep them from getting kicked out of office. Obamacare’s takeover permits the eventual rollover of Medicare into Obama’s government exchanges for redistribution of American incomes and arms-length sanctioned rationing of health care at all levels.
Second, Christie seems perturbed that Obamacare included no GOP compromises. But there would have been no compromise good enough to let Obamacare become law. Compromises could make it even more difficult to repeal when that time comes.
Third, he wants tort reform for health care. I don’t see tort reform in the U.S. Constitution either. Again, this is a state issue. Congress is limited by the Constitution and the10th amendment on states’ rights. Christie’s statement doesn’t seem to recognize that fact.
The lesson here is whenever a politician speaks, read carefully, read fully, and read between the lines where prudent.
Wishing you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Twila Brase, RN, PHN
President and Co-founder