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On Medicaid, LA may end up casualty of ideological war

Pres. Barack Obama cut his political eyeteeth in the shadowy world of community organizing where many are influenced by New Left radicalism of the 1960s. Louisiana may soon run afoul of Obama’s grand strategy to acquire and consolidate power and privilege.

Last week, the state’s Secretary of Health and Hospitals Alan Levine went to Washington to plead for some reasonable adjustment to the formula that calculates the state’s match for Medicaid payments. It is computed on levels of income over a three-year period and thus rises as does that indicator. Presumably, a wealthier population has a greater ability to pay for its services. After three straight years of massive federal spending in the $150 billion range for recovery-related efforts in the state, Levine argued that this artificially inflated the numbers for Louisiana which means it would disproportionately pay more in the immediate future.

No doubt the federal aid provided a boost to Louisiana’s tax coffers of which some could have been saved to counteract a higher rate. But in all fairness, the state overall still would be negatively affected fiscally by this induced condition if the matching percentage rises as scheduled. And Congress, controlled by Democrats, did provide relief in other areas in the past in terms of waiving matching requirements for recovery dollars beginning with Democrat former Gov. Kathleen Blanco and, to a lesser extent as the dollars figure grew smaller, to current Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal.

However, the present situation may turn out differently. Democrat Obama now controls the federal bureaucracy that would waive the requirement, and his party still reigns over Congress. And with Jindal at the helm of Louisiana, he is viewed by them not only as an irritant for reasons such as this spring he successfully defied their plan to transform unemployment benefits from insurance to an entitlement, but also because he could be an electoral threat to Obama in 2012 and/or a long-term threat to the party’s ability to stay in power.

If Obama follows the playbook he has referenced throughout his short presidency, expect the federal government to deny a waiver, and for him to instruct Congress not to intervene. He would be following one of the rules for radicals postulated by New Left icon Saul Alinsky, as elucidated in a strategy known as “orchestrate a crisis.”

In a nutshell, the idea is to take a presumed tenet or ideology of a governing system and associate policy failure with it to discredit the ideas behind that system. An example at the federal level has been Obama economic policy that features massive increases in government spending and borrowing to cover it with the stated goal of improving economic performance. The learned and informed know well that a transfer of assets from more- productive private sector uses by expanding the money supply and disproportionately moving those funds into the less-productive government sector will serve to weaken, not strengthen the economy in the immediate future, and produce a double whammy with a higher debt burden in the more distant future. Yet Obama pursues this on the double hope that somehow, despite decades of refutation, that Keynesian economics actually is reflected in the real world or the crisis will deepen making radical calls for redistribution of power and wealth more palatable to voters.

The same tactic can be applied to Louisiana. By refusing the waiver, within Louisiana a crisis can be created as the state would be obligated to spend hundreds of millions more of its own money, replicating the tough budget decisions experienced this past budget cycle. These conditions Democrats hope will cause blame to be attached to Jindal and his ideas and thereby erode his chances for future national success, and perhaps even cost him reelection as governor. At the very least, they may wish that Jindal backs off from health care reform plans that, contrary to what Obama is trying to pull on the national level, place less emphasis on government. A decision on whether to grant a waiver may come down to an insistence that Jindal abandon such plans.

Either or both scenarios of Jindal giving up trying to pursue polices that ultimately would demonstrate the bankruptcy of the ideas underpinning Obama and his supporters or his political demise so that he cannot pursue them any longer, by threatening or bringing about the creation of a crisis, would satisfy the left. Surely Jindal realizes what’s on the way and must do his best to make it politically difficult for the left to achieve this outcome. He can try by having his administration talk up the matter, particularly noting that other states are in such a position so it is not an isolated problem, and to bring up the disaster relief repayment waivers of the past. If he can adequately show, in terms based on the principle of fairness, the punitive and partisan nature that a refusal of a waiver or of a change in the law implicates, Obama and the leftists that run Congress may see the political price as too high to block any change.

This decision will have major implications for the state for years to come. Let us hope Louisiana can avoid being trampled by the left’s unquenchable thirst for power and privilege.

1 comment:

Lake Fred said...

Good political insight. I need to check out your blog more often. Thanks for your work and time.