President Barack Obama has a friendly audience as he addresses healthcare at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee August 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Too much of the rest of the country though seems to be recoiling from the president over cost and policy concerns.
As difficult as July was for Barack Obama, August has turned out far worse. Health care attacked on all sides. Town "hells." "Death panel" rhetoric -- bogus and unfair? Yes. Effective? You Betcha. Result: Spiraling poll numbers. Alas, the administration's own deficit projections leaked on Friday (to be officially released next week) could be the coup de grace for health care. And these are numbers that can't be ignored just because they'll becoming out in the waning summer dog days:
The Obama administration next week will release a new budget forecast projecting the deficit over the next ten years will reach approximately $9 trillion – a significant jump from the $7 trillion deficit that officials had projected at the beginning of the year.
Nine trillion dollars -- an increase projection of $2 trillion in barely six months. Earlier this week, this year's deficit numbers were also released: The administration puts the figure at $1.58 trillion, while the Congressional Budget Office estimates it to be $1.825 trillion. The CBO figure is notable because the office's director helped put the health care plan into critical condition by saying that it wouldn't cut costs.
At a time when the economic crisis has made average citizens brutally aware of their own debts, this much red ink pouring down from the federal government is too incomprehensible to absorb. Thus explaining why there has been such a recoiling from health care. Putting aside all the left-right rhetorical overkill on the various plans, one thing comes through only too vividly -- the program's $1 trillion price tag (yep, there's that darn "T" word again).
Forget the scare tactics that opponents of health care are employing. The public isn't afraid of the blood that they might encounter in government-run hospitals. It's the red-ink from the programs the government is already running that that has produced this pell-mell flight from ObamaCare.