February 26, 2010

Oh my, Ben Stein is apparently upset that the Republicans weren't being treated respectfully enough during the health care summit by the President. Heaven forbid... he called them by their first names. Gasp... the horror Ben. Yeah, those poor little defenseless Republicans who never attack anyone just had to fight back here because big bad Obama was being mean to them. And CNN thinks we're supposed to take anything this clown says seriously. I'm surprised Stein didn't just come straight out and call the President "uppity" because he came pretty close here.

BLITZER: Let's bring in Donna Brazile and Ben Stein, because I want them to weigh in. First to you, Ben. This whole issue of costs, premiums going up, a trillion dollars in extra cost to US taxpayers. Some of it might be offset by some cuts in projected Medicare spending. Where do you come down on this?

STEIN: Well, the 57 percent who are going to get subsidies, where is that money going to come from? That money is going to come from taxpayers. That money is not going to just magically appear. So the costs for everyone is going to go up.

Obviously, the insurance companies are going to cover more people, cover people with preexisting conditions, cover people who have very expensive treatment options involved, without having to charge more to somebody. So, somebody's going to be paying more.

I'm also sort of floored by the whole thing that's going on here, where the president is calling the senators by their first names, as if they were kids in a third grade class. And they're all calling him Mr. President.

But I'm most floored of all by the fact that we've got a very serious jolt about the economy today, and somehow they're talking about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic when it looks seriously as if the economy is now heading for a double dip in the recession. The whole thing just has a kind of surrealistic quality.

BLITZER: What was the jolt on the economic numbers that you're referring to?

STEIN: The jobless -- the first-time jobless claims came in considerably higher than was forecast, high enough to make people think that the recovery is faltering. They were expecting 455,000, came in roughly 495,000, very roughly, very roughly. That's a very bad piece of news. Housing sales declined very sharply in the last month, from the month before. This recovery is not getting the traction that it needs. And for us to be fixating on economic issues about health care that are going to be happening in 2016 when the economy is floundering right now puzzles me.


BLITZER: Ben Stein, first to you. The president, you know, he's fighting right back in the face of some strong Republican comments.

STEIN: Well, I think he's been fighting from the first moment this thing started. I think the idea that it was a bipartisan kumbaya feel-good moment was thrown out right away, as soon as he started and as soon as Senator Reid started and as soon as Speaker Pelosi started, they started with a series of attacks. And the Republicans have come right back with a series of their own attacks.

I will say, however, that I am sometimes moved to tears that in the fact that this great, great country, the greatest country in the world, people do by in large get along quite civilly. But if I may respectfully say so, I think the president could lose some of his condescension towards the people who are not agreeing with him, and nobody would be harmed.

Transcript via CNN.

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