If a speaker wants to make a point about organizational failure these days, there certainly is no paucity of real-life examples. AIG, Merrill Lynch, the state of California … any of these will do. So when Barack Obama reached for an example in his speech to the AMA of failure through lack of foresight and overwhelming costs, what did he choose? The company he just bought — and sent into bankruptcy:
A big part of what led General Motors and Chrysler into trouble in recent decades were the huge costs they racked up providing health care for their workers — costs that made them less profitable and less competitive with automakers around the world. If we do not fix our health care system, America may go the way of GM — paying more, getting less, and going broke. When it comes to the cost of our health care, then, the status quo is unsustainable.
Er, yes. Which is why no one could understand why Barack Obama kept sinking tens of billions of taxpayer dollars into GM while its pension and health insurance obligations never got addressed. It’s also why we all wondered why Obama perverted the bankruptcy process in order to favor the unions, who insisted on those big, expensive pension/benefits packages that made GM uncompetitive in the domestic and global market.
Obama spent $60 billion to sustain the status quo, GM went bankrupt anyway, and now Obama lectures us on how expensive and futile that exercise is. Well, I hope he learned that much … with our money.
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.
Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!