There is more news than Obamacare

Published 10:59 am Friday, November 15, 2013

Watching the Obamacare website undergo reconstruction seems about as exciting as watching paint dry, yet the media seems wholly engaged in taking the pulse of the pace of enrollment by the hour.

As amazing as it may seem there is other news, other events unfolding in the world while so many in the political world focus solely on critiquing all things wrong with a website.

For example, while there is not yet progress on resolving the budget crisis in Congress the fact that the deficit is falling faster than any time in the last 60 years should make compromise easier than any year since the Great Recession.

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It will require a significant degree of pragmatism on the part of both Republicans and Democrats and probably an acceptance that there is no grand bargain in the offing, but with incentive to not aggravate the voters again so soon, there is reason to have hope here.

It is also good news that the economy continued its recovery in the third quarter of the year, expanding at 2.8 percent, more than experts expected. Auto sales remain strong, perhaps as strong as 2008, the last good performance by the industry. Home sales have stabilized and are improving, though more homes are investment purchases than in the last decade. Inflation is very low in spite of the tinkering the Federal Reserve has continued to undertake. The equity markets defy all Bearish attempts and are now on a two year strong run upward.

Gay marriage has reached a tipping point and is rapidly finding state-by-state acceptance in addition to a Senate bill ending discrimination in the workplace for sexual preference differences. While the House is not ready for this legislation, it is only a matter of time before than objection falls too.

While women’s reproductive rights remain under largely Republican attack in many states, several courts have stopped the most outrageous restrictions intended to subvert Roe v. Wade, indicating that the boundaries for such narrowing of rights may now have been reached.

The growth on health care inflation has slowed significantly since 2010, helping to stabilize the budget hopefully into the next decade. This is largely a result of several aspects of Obamacare that have already influenced cost containment.

Medicaid expansion in 24 states has granted coverage to millions of Americans across the nation, with the simple act of raising eligibility to 138 percent of the poverty level.

On the international level, in what might have developed into a run-up to war with Syria, the U.S. has instead brought about the identification and planned destruction of chemical weapons in Syria peacefully. While the conflict goes on and the refugees suffer greatly at least the spread of these horrific weapons has been averted.

And, for the first time since the 1970s the U.S. is talking directly with Iran in hope to avoid the nuclear weaponization of the growing nuclear capabilities in Iran. It is much too soon to have genuine optimism here, but talking is better than sabre rattling in general.

Our trade balance is being significantly helped by our oil exports which now exceed our oil imports. We are well on our way to energy independence in the foreseeable future with both oil and rich natural gas resources.

So while website watching engages all media outlets America has good news on several fronts to appreciate.

As for the website, in six months it will be forgotten and the Affordable Care Act will be serving millions of people who had been denied insurance for a very long time.


Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.