By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com
In September, I wrote a post called “Prediction: Obama Wins Health Care, Loses Economy.” It appears the Senate has the votes for passage of its version of health care legislation; so the prediction is halfway complete. I am not going to argue whether or not health care reform is a good idea. Do we need to take care of sick people? The answer is a resounding yes! My problem is putting health care before the biggest crisis facing America, and that is unemployment. Below is an excerpt of what I wrote in September.
“I’m worried about the real problem in America, unemployment! Yesterday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” someone said, “…unemployment was Obama’s next big problem.” What!! It was a problem when the President entered office, and with 15 million people out of work, unemployment is a problem right now!!! That comment was made while Time Magazine was rolling out its next cover. It’s called “Out of Work in America.” If Obama doesn’t get this fixed by 2012, he will be standing at the end of that long line on the cover.
I cannot for the life of me figure out why the health care issue was pushed ahead of unemployment, which is a symptom of a bad economy. Don’t get me wrong, health care is a big issue but compared to the ongoing financial meltdown, it’s like fighting over band-aids on the deck of the Titanic! The financial situation in the country is not just bad, it’s in cardiac arrest! I know the Fed just came out and said the worst recession in 70 years was over, but that is simply preposterous!” (click here for the original post)
Back in September, the official unemployment rate was 9.7 percent. Now the official rate is a cool 10 percent. According to Shadow Government Statistics, the real unemployment rate is nearly 22 percent (if computed the way Bureau of Labor Statistics did it in 1994.) We have a worsening financial calamity on our hands and, so far, the only thing Congress has done is extend unemployment benefits!
The Associated Press is reporting that this new legislation will cover more than 30 million people who cannot afford health insurance. The AP is also reporting that the legislation will cut federal deficits by at least $132 billion over 10 years. I do not see how you can save billions of dollars by giving insurance to 30 million people who cannot pay for it. My point here is if things keep going in the direction there’re heading, people will be worrying about food and shelter and not if they have a low deductible when they get sick.
Don’t think the economy and unemployment are getting worse? Look no further than the FDIC because it just closed down another seven insolvent banks last Friday. The economy and jobs are contracting not expanding! The new total is 140 failed banks for 2009, and we still have a little more than a week to go in the year. The FDIC knows there is no end in sight for bank failures because the agency is staffing up for waves of closings in 2010. The FDIC is just about doubling its operating budget and plans to hire more than 1,600 mostly temporary employees. The 2 biggest reasons for the insolvent state of banks are residential and commercial real estate. We are nowhere near a bottom in either market, and there are hundreds of billions in losses coming.
Money troubles and insolvency are present in nearly all 50 states. State and local governments face billion dollar budget shortfalls. This is a huge problem because the states cannot print money. Budgets will have to be cut and that will add to the unemployment crisis.
Many pensions are in deep funding trouble. Just Google the words “pension deficit,” and see how many company and government pensions are in the red. Even the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the government agency that insures pension benefits, just announced it is $22 billion in the hole. (For the PBGC press release click here)
Finally, many people forget we are fighting two wars which are costing billions every month. How are we going to keep paying for this? By the way, the President has yet to get funding from Congress for his most recent escalation in Afghanistan.
It looks like it’s a done deal that America will get some sort of health insurance bill. Of course, the House and the Senate will have to merge the two proposals into one bill and send it to the President to sign into law. And get this, when it does become law, no one will be able to take advantage of this new insurance until at least 2013. This was such a priority that we had to put off enacting the insurance benefits for at least three years? In a way, I am happy health care passed because now we can finally try to take care of the immediate problems facing the country.