Obama's War on Two Fronts: Health Care and Afghanistan

"The president is trying to get radical change without the propellant of underlying broad-base deep-seated contempt," Will said. "To compensate for that absence, he's been ubiquitous and often shrill. Ubiquitous to the point where he is kind of like elevator music in American life. He's everywhere all the time. Shrill in the sense that, he has said I have been opposed of scare tactics and fear-mongering but he says be very afraid of ..."

Reich disagreed: "I don't think the president has been shrill. In fact, if anything, I think he hasn't been shrill enough."

Despite their differences on White House messaging, all panelists on the roundtable agreed on one thing: The U.S. health care system is unraveling.

"Americans are still OK with the care they got and of course they are scared with what will happen, but this system is unraveling," Krugman said. "[Obama] has not gotten across the fact that this thing is coming apart, that premiums have more or less doubled in the past decade, and that more and more companies are dropping their coverage for their workers."

Frum agreed, but said he believes Obama has missed his target on tackling health care by solely focusing on the uninsured and neglecting a viable solution on how to pay for it all.

"There is a problem, there is a financial problem, as Bob and Paul have said, but the president is not offering a solution to that problem," Frum said. "He's offering a solution to a completely different problem which he is not talking about. ... The problem, he thinks, is the uninsured -- and the answer to that, he says, is a state system of some kind."

The rising cost of health care drugs has been a top concern for Americans overall in the debate over health care reform, but Will seemed to disagree that drugs were unrealistic in cost.

"Americans obviously want 2009 medicine at 1959 prices," Will said. "The trouble is that 1959 medicine wasn't very good."

Krugman warned that trouble was ahead for the current health care system and its impact on the economy.

"This is a system that is coming apart at the seams," he said. "Once we get the numbers for what's been happening in this recession, it's going to be horrific."

Frum, of NewMajority.com, agreed the president needs to change his approach on health care reform.

"The price for insurance health reform should be a 'jettison,'" he said. "The Democrats should jettison their attempt to nationalize the health care system or do anything approaching it. And that is where the president has put us on the wrong track."

"Is It Over Yet?"

On Friday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke released a statement saying the economy is leveling off and that the prospects for growth are pretty good.

So is this a sign that the recession is now over?

Krugman believes that it's not completely over, but is in somewhat of a resting place.

"We have got a problem with terminology, because we usually say, Either the economy is in recession or the economy is recovering," he said. "Either you're in hell or you're in heaven. And the trouble is, we're actually in purgatory."

Krugman added that the economy actually is in a situation where GDP is growing, and he believes it's likely that the Business Cycle Dating Committee will eventually decide that the recession ended this summer.

But, he warned, "we're still losing jobs."

Reich disagreed that the economy is "out of the woods" just yet.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...