April 16, 2012

Frank talk on Obamacare

Count Frankula?
Barney Frank has admitted Obamacare was a mistake.  Granted, he sees it as having been a political mistake and not a policy mistake, but even that limited admission is telling.

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said he advised President Obama against taking up health care reform following a special election in 2010 that changed Democrats' fortunes in the Senate, saying that he should have instead turned his focus to financial reform...

The outgoing representative from Massachusetts added that after Republican Scott Brown won former Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s seat, breaking Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority, Obama should have backed down: “I think we paid a terrible price for health care. I would not have pushed it as hard. As a matter of fact, after Scott Brown won, I suggested going back. I would have started with financial reform but certainly not health care," Frank said.
Frank has decided to retire from politics and that may explain some of his candor - there's no fear of political recrimination when you are leaving politics behind. But what else is telling is that he may be acknowledging that the president pushed too hard on Obamacare and he did so not only at the wrong time relative to the public's push back, but also at the wrong time relative to more pressing issues.

Barney Frank's comments are also a bit self-serving.  He's waist deep in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac quagmire of wrong-doing.  His interest in finding ways to deflect blame, including imposing stricter regulations on others, might help draw attention to the problem to others instead of himself.  But he was right to recognize, albeit in hindsight, that the president should have been focused on far more pressing issues of an immediate concern to the American economy than a health care bill that according to someone, would create 4 million jobs, and 400,000 immediately.  Of course that foolish claim never materialized because the bill had nothing to do with jobs and everything to do with getting to single payer health care and a government takeover of 14% of the national economy.  In other words, it was always about socialism.

Socialism isn't about jobs, it isn't about sound economic principles.  If Barney Frank is admitting it, how tenuous do you think he sees the chances of an Obama re-election as being?  Don't expect Barney Frank to come around on the merits of health care, or proper regulatory reform rather than more Dodd-Frank garbage.  But he's right - it was a political mistake, and he can see the consequences looming.  You have to be happy about the refreshing bit of honesty from him.

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