The New York Times was once considered the nation's newspaper of record – and deservedly so. Of late, it is a far cry from the days when the legendary A.M. Rosenthal supervised the editorial page, which, to be sure, leaned to the left, but was generally fair and informative.
These days, what passes for editorial judgment at the Times is merely a recitation of the left's talking points. Few, if any, new ideas are presented. Instead, the venerable "gray lady" of American journalism is being used as a cudgel against those who have a different vision for America's future than the current occupant of Washington's 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and his allies.
A recent post on the blog of the editor of the Times editorial page featured an ad raising questions about Obamacare and its implementation that was attacked – not so much for what it said – but because of who the author of the post believed to be behind it. Once again the paper, in what is now common practice among the liberal news organs that populate the marketplace throughout the country, chose to attack the messenger because it could not present an effective counter-argument to the message.
The questions the ad raises – "If we can't pick our own doctor, how do I know my family's going to get the care they need?" and "What am I getting in exchange for higher premiums and a smaller paycheck?" – are not only fair ones, they are on the minds of many now that the law has been passed and the changes it requires are, fitfully, being put into place.
Instead of addressing them dispassionately, the post's author chose to label them "lies," a characterization he supports by repeating the spin that passes for analysis on the issue in so many quarters. This is not only a disservice to the reader; it ignores some obvious facts, including the estimate by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office that seven million Americans with employer-sponsored health insurance will lose their coverage by 2022 because of the high-costs associated with Obamacare.
Anyone who cannot see how that will limit the ability of a family to pick their own doctor, or to stay with the doctor they have should they have to change insurance plans, clearly does not understand how the new law will work or the kinds of decisions families face every day.
It should also be obvious that the higher costs and premium increases that virtually all analysts on the left and right have agreed will occur will be felt in the size of paychecks, as what had previously been part of a worker's take home pay goes toward the increase in the cost of health insurance.
It is fair to characterize some of the disagreements with what the new policies will force as differences of opinion. Calling them "lies" dramatically overstates the case, and for partisan ideological purposes. This may be why much of the post is devoted to attacking Americans for Prosperity, the group behind the ad, and Charles and David Koch, the American philanthropists who helped that group get started.
The Kochs are among the nation's wealthiest individuals. Their philanthropy in the social welfare arena probably dwarfs by a considerable amount the money they contribute each year to political organizations, but that is not something about which you hear much. The charitable efforts of people like the Kochs and Foster Friess, who backed Republican Rick Santorum's 2012 presidential run but who has also offered a matching grant of $1 million to help rebuild the parts of Oklahoma recently wiped out by a series of tornados, and others on the conservative side of the aisle go largely unreported because that would spoil the ability of the collectivist progressives to make them out as soulless billionaires who are only interested in lining their own pockets.
Nothing can be allowed to leak out that will disrupt that narrative so, while folks like Warren Buffett and Eli Broad and Bill Gates, whose political giving goes largely unexamined, receive uncritical praise for their generosity, the same people singing "Hosanna" to them will not even acknowledge that conservatives can be equally philanthropic.
Even though the law has been on the books for more than a year, liberals and progressives are still trying to win the fight over health care. The American people, polls repeatedly show, are uncomfortable with the new law and still unsure of what it means for them personally. Most everyone would like the uninsured and the poor to have access to quality health care in time of need, but not at the expense of the health care those of us who are already paying for it already have.
The AFP ad raises questions that the supporters of Obamacare find uncomfortable because they destroy the idea that what Obama and the Democrats in Congress passed is a universal good. This is something of an irony, since the way the Obama administration has gone about implementing the new law has been called a "train wreck" by retiring Montana Democrat Max Baucus, who was the primary sponsor of the bill in the United States Senate.
As AFP's Tim Phillips puts it, "Many promises made about ObamaCare have already been broken. The administration itself is delaying large parts of implementation for fear of political backlash - fueling even more questions and uncertainty. We feel it is important to provide education on the true consequences of government intrusion into the private healthcare decisions of families, and provide a counter to disinformation that's out there."
The House will shortly take up legislation that will delay the enactment of the employer mandate, the deadline for which the Obama administration has already announced will be pushed back, despite its lack of legal or constitutional authority to do so without congressional agreement. The House will also be voting on whether to delay the enactment date for the employee mandate, the requirement that every American purchase some sort of health insurance from some source, be it a private plan, something offered by their employer, or from one of the new government-run state exchanges.
Both efforts will probably pass, and with plenty of Democrats joining the overwhelming number of Republicans who will vote in favor. That's because the new law is unworkable, making it bad public policy. This is all the AFP ad is pointing out, but it wants people to reach that conclusion for themselves. According to the polls, they already have, but the White House, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi just aren't listening.