Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

07/22/2009 (4:49 pm)

Big Government, Big Corporations: Not Exactly the Change Anyone Had in Mind

Maneuvers in the Obama administration’s planning for the government’s takeover of health care display a disturbing pattern in their handling of America’s private enterprise; where large corporations thrive, the Obama administration seems to be aligning them with the government and protecting their power, in exchange for cooperation with the new regime.

In a report recalling the furor over Vice President Dick Cheney’s meetings with energy company officers, the LA Times reported today that the White House has refused a Freedom of Information Act request from the citizen’s group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, asking for information regarding meetings with representatives of health insurers, pharmaceutical companies, and medical providers. CREW has filed suit to obtain the records.

According to the Times:

Invoking an argument used by President George W. Bush, the Obama administration has turned down a request from a watchdog group for a list of health industry executives who have visited the White House to discuss the massive healthcare overhaul.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington sent a letter to the Secret Service asking about visits from 18 executives representing health insurers, drug makers, doctors and other players in the debate. The group wants the material in order to gauge the influence of those executives in crafting a new healthcare policy.

The Secret Service sent a reply stating that documents revealing the frequency of such visits were considered presidential records exempt from public disclosure laws. The agency also said it was advised by the Justice Department that the Secret Service was within its rights to withhold the information because of the “presidential communications privilege.”

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics said it would file suit against the Obama administration as early as today. The group already has sued the administration over its failure to release details about visits from coal industry executives.

Candidate Obama ran on a platform of greater openness in government; in fact, he claimed he would invite C-SPAN into his negotiations and discussion regarding overhauling health care. President Obama, by contrast, seems intent on closed-door negotiations with the powers that be, far from the public, with no opposition party allowed. And the resulting negotiations seem always to favor the powerful.

According to Tom Carney at the Washington Times:

Democrats’ plans for health-care reform include many policies that would benefit drug makers, insurers, and others in the health-care sector, which favored Obama over McCain by 2.5 to 1 margin in 2008 campaign contributions.

For instance, Democrats are now planning to mandate that all individuals carry health insurance and that most employers offer it. Health-care reform also includes subsidies that will help drug-makers, insurers, and providers.

In earlier moves from the White House, plans to improve seniors’ access to prescription medication favor brand-name pharmaceuticals over generics, apparently as a reward for pharmaceutical companies’ contributing to the health care overhaul. Also, the Obama administration back in June signed a bill giving the Food and Drug Administration power to regulate tobacco companies that was favored by tobacco industry giant Phillip Morris but opposed by smaller competitors, apparently because the bill creates barriers for competitors trying to enter the market.

The power nexus between a powerful, central government and the largest industrial companies historically indentifies a fascist government, and has been the focus of opposition from progressives for many decades here in America. Free-market conservatives tend to welcome the contribution of large corporations, but dislike market concentration and oppose barriers to new entrants into the market. The Obama approach seems aimed at consolidating power more than anything else, and should be opposed by activists on both sides of the aisle. It will be interesting to hear whether progressives object to Obama’s closed-door meetings with industry in the same terms they used for Cheney’s meetings.

« « Bork Weighs In on Borking | Main | 10 Surprising Facts About American Health Care » »


July 22, 2009 @ 11:16 pm #

I doubt it for two reasons.

Past history – I don’t recall too many liberals complaining about the top secret meetings that were held prior to the rolling out of the Hilarycare platform.

When I try to predict how they will behave, I fall back on the truism that in the end, when push comes to shove, liberalism trumps everything. A few folks and organizations may gripe or file suit, but in the end, Obama is the best card the left has to play, and most will fall in line. They are certainly hypocritical enough to brush aside their own glaring inconsistencies when it’s in their favor to do so.

July 23, 2009 @ 12:18 am #

Are you saying there’s no such thing as a blue dog democrat?

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>