Photograph by Jeff Fusco
On Tuesday, the Obama administration announced that it had tapped Jeffrey Zients – a Bain & Co. alum and incoming head of the National Economic Council – to lead the efforts to fix the glitches that have plagued the Affordable Care Act website Healthcare.gov since its October 1 launch.
Zients–who is credited with helping turn around the malfunctioning website of another government program, cash-for-clunkers–will work with presidential innovation fellows and representatives of federal contractor CGI Group as part of a “tech surge” (Washington sure does love its surges, doesn’t it?) with the goal of having the portal running smoothly before an uptick in enrollment expected around the Thanksgiving holiday. By all accounts Zients will have his work cut out for him; but experts in the know say success is well within his reach.
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One of the things I hate about ideology—left or right—is how easy one’s worldview about politics can transmute into something lazier, dumber, tribalistic and ultimately more concerned with winning than with truth.
Exhibit A: Salon’s Joan Walsh.
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The White House has announced a “tech blitz” to take on the glitches at HealthCare.gov that have been thwarting millions of Americans attempting to sign up for health insurance. The team of computer experts from inside and outside government—the “best and the brightest,” according to administration officials—is putting the pedal to the metal to find fixes for the balky system, and that means one thing: The best and the brightest will be getting less sleep. Read more »
Say, wouldn’t this all be easier if we’d simply passed a single-payer health insurance program?
We’ve spent several weeks now watching, first, the House of Representatives implode as it tried—and repeatedly failed—to force either an end to ObamaCare or, short of that, an end to parts of ObamaCare. (On Tuesday, it was the part that ensures women’s access to birth control that Republicans seemed most to want to end.) That failure might be satisfying, except that the health insurance exchanges created by ObamaCare finally went online—and gave every appearance of also imploding.
It’s a bad situation all around, but it’s one that probably could’ve been mitigated considerably with a real government takeover of the America’s healthcare, instead of the complicated and frankly messy half-job we’ve seen so far. A single-payer health insurance program—everybody pays a health insurance tax, everybody gets health insurance from the government—would’ve solved many of the problems we see before us now.
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One of conservatism’s really great beliefs (I’m serious about this) is about the unknowability of the future: That well-intentioned actions can have big unintended consequences; once those butterfly’s wings start flappin’, there’s no telling where the hurricane might pop up. For such folks, limiting government is just a way of trying to limit the damage that government can do.
The problem with modern American conservatism is that it so rarely applies its own best insights at the moment of truth.
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Question to Democrats: Whose bright idea was it for you to start using the term “Obamacare?”
Oh, yeah, that’s right–it was the guy who created it. Putting his hands up in resignation after a few years of unnerving Republican temper tantrums, the god of Obamacare thought co-opting the term would be a clever way of turning the tables. “I like it,” said the President during his first debate with GOP nominee Mitt Romney this same time last year. “I do care.”
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It’s no laughing matter, is it Charlie?
So, America, are you ready for a dictator yet?
That seems like a crazy question to ask, doesn’t it? After all, we Americans practically invented democratic self-governance. We spend a day every year celebrating democracy’s virtues, and let’s be honest—that’s just the day we set off fireworks. We’re pretty proud and evangelistic (in multiple meanings of the term) about the way we govern ourselves. Surely we’re not ready to simply let government of the people, by the people, for the people to simply perish from this land, are we?
Maybe. Maybe not.
More after the jump »
The president signed a bill ensuring the military will be paid during the shutdown.
The New York Times reports that the government is shutting down for the first time in nearly 20 years: “The impasse meant that 800,000 federal workers were to be furloughed and more than a million others would be asked to work without pay. The Office of Management and Budget issued orders shortly before the midnight deadline that ‘agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations’ because Congress had failed to act to keep the federal government financed.”
The shutdown comes, of course, because President Obama and Senate Democrats refused a move by House Republicans to delay today’s implementation of ObamaCare’s health care exchanges. If you’re going to start shopping for insurance today, you should check out PhillyMag’s Ultimate Guide to ObamaCare.
So that part of government will be working. If we’re in a shutdown, what exactly is shutting down? AP has an overview of what’s being shut down—national parks, as everybody has pointed out—and says the ultimate ramification could be a slowdown in the economy. Which: Isn’t the economy already slow?
Anyway, AP says: “A shutdown that lasts two weeks or more would probably start to slow an already sluggish economy, analysts say. Closures of national parks would hurt hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses. And federal workers who lost pay would spend less, thereby curbing economic growth. A three-week shutdown would slow the economy’s annual growth rate in the October-December quarter by up to 0.9 of a percentage point, Goldman Sachs has estimated.”
So there’s that. And then there’s this:
That’s it. Time to scrap everything and start over.
When government shuts down this week—and as of this writing, such a shutdown seemed a certainty—we the people should put our foot down and tell the government to stay shut down. You’re fired. Goodbye. Hang a “closed” sign on the doors of the Capitol and send everybody back to their home states.
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The Confederate White Knights, a Maryland-based Ku Klux Klan group, has obtained a special permit to hold a demonstration at Gettysburg National Military Park on Saturday October 5th. You can find them north of George Mead headquarters at 12:30 p.m. (Huh, I thought white supremacists hated hoodies…) The rally is reportedly being held in protest of president Obama’s immigration policies (what, like this one?). But a quick glance at the group’s website–under construction, as you can see–reflects a larger, um, agenda.
If you believe our country is being destroyed by inside forces in our government. Join us on the 5th for an outspoken first amendment right. Our constitution has not been dissolved yet!
But! To join you must be…
- be 100% heterosexual
- be of European Heritage
- be an American Citizen born and raised
- be 100% patriotic to America
- You cannot be MUSLIM
- You cannot be a JEW
- You cannot be a SATANIST
- You cannot be COMMUNIST
- You cannot be a convicted Pedophile (child molester)
- You cannot be a convicted Rapist
- You cannot be a convicted Terrorist
- You cannot have any ties with any Terrorist group or Terrorist Activities against America
- You must complete an application and signed oath
See you there!