This past week, one of the world's most famous and influential men made a major announcement concerning our global future. But you might have missed it because America's national news media was obsessing over President Obama's State of the Union address.
As we enter 2015, the politics of the president's health care law are little changed from last year or the year before, or any year since it was passed. The details change with the calendar, but year after year, the law remains a major drag on President Obama's popularity and legacy.
Page 1 of 1
Before President Barack Obama's health-care law was passed, Americans were frustrated that insurance companies had too much control over the medical care they received. Now, Americans are frustrated that the government has too much control.
During the holiday season, many reflect on finding the right balance in their lives. As a nation, we're in a season of searching for the right balance between individual freedoms and the role of government.
Journalist Michael Kinsley once defined a political gaffe as when someone "accidentally reveals something truthful about what is going on in his or her head." In other words, a gaffe is when a political player accidentally tells the truth. This appears to be what happened in a recent Washington Post story.
Entering the world of "official Washington" is a bit like the mythical trip Alice took through the looking glass. Everything is upside-down and nonsensical.
For all the confusion it is causing, President Barack Obama's signature legislative accomplishment did not fundamentally change the health-care industry. Both before and after the law passed, the business of providing medical care in America could best be described as a conspiracy by government, insurance companies and medical care providers to keep prices high.
The health care rollout is an enormous political gift that may lead the Republican Party to win control of the Senate in 2014. But, as President Barack Obama's health-care law collapses, the GOP should avoid the temptation to promote its own top-down solution as an alternative.
Americans are pragmatic, not ideological.
Washington's political class fundamentally misunderstands the role of politics and government in American society. They act as if government is the central force in American life and that its decisions guide the course of the nation. In historical reality, societal trends embrace new technology and the deep currents of public opinion lead the way. Government follows along a decade or two behind.
Many news stories have noted the importance of getting young, healthy people to sign up for insurance on the exchanges created by President Obama's health care law. The Washington Post's Ezra Klein reported that the White House considers this the single most important factor in making the law work.
Many reporters caught up in the bizarre world of official Washington have written extensively on political tactics and implications of the so-called government shutdown and disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov. Typical was a New York Times headline that blared ''Republicans, Sensing Weakness in Health Law Rollout, Switch Tactics.''
Shortly after the end of World War II, a pair of allergists gave some medication to a patient suffering from hives. Surprisingly, the patient reported her lifelong battle with carsickness had disappeared. After follow-up testing, Dramamine quickly became standard issue for fighting motion sickness.
Not long ago, the conventional wisdom in official Washington held that the so-called sequester spending cuts would be a disaster for the Republican Party. People were expected to rise up in vehement protest once the "cuts" went into effect.
The debate in Washington this week was allegedly about the president's health care law, but it quickly became all about Sen. Ted Cruz. The Texas Republican objected to the law by speaking on the Senate floor for 21 straight hours. The effort made him a hero to some, a fool to others, and it ultimately had no legislative impact.
It's become common over the past year or two to note how well Wall Street is doing while Main Street is still struggling.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines an enabler as "one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior." Enablers do so "by providing excuses or by making it possible to avoid the consequences of such behavior."