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Obanomics And Health Care, Then And Now

Back in December, Stephen Spruiell wrote an excellent post-mortem for the dead tree edition of National Review on the media's role in helping create the Epic Fail of the McCain campaign. Included in its was a discussion of how the media treated the two candidates last fall on economic issues:

Obanomics: The mainstream media are generally terrible at conveying the details of complex policy proposals, but their laziness in describing Obama's tax plans was startling nevertheless. Countless stories referred to Obama's "tax cuts" for the middle class. Many stories additionally reported that the middle class would get a bigger "tax cut" under Obama's tax plan than under McCain's.

In fact, Obama's plan did not offer any tax cuts, as such. It offered tax relief, in the form of tax credits for a variety of targeted activities. Obama proposed a tax credit for college tuition and an expansion of the existing tax credit for child care. Not all tax credits are objectionable; indeed, McCain offered similar tax credits, though not as large. But it is sloppy to call them "tax cuts," a term better used to describe reductions in tax rates.

It is true that, excluding McCain's health-care tax credit, Obama's plan offered more tax relief to the middle class. But there was absolutely no reason for any reporter to exclude McCain's health-care tax credit when comparing the candidates' plans. When the health-care plans are factored in, McCain offered more tax relief to the middle class. McCain's health-care tax credit was arbitrarily excluded.

McCain's health-care plan also became the subject of a deceptive ad campaign, funded by Obama's historically deep and mostly unscrutinized campaign coffers. The ads claimed that McCain's healthcare tax credit would go "straight to the insurance companies, not to you, leaving you on your own to pay McCain's health-insurance tax." A few media sources took the trouble to point out that this was a flat-out lie, and that no one would pay more in taxes under McCain's healthcare plan. But at this time most of the media were busy accusing McCain and Palin of fomenting racial hatred every time some bigot unaffiliated with the campaign yelled something offensive at an open event. So much for wanting to talk about "the issues."

Flash-forward to today. Michelle Malkin asks, "Uh, who’s on the take from the drug lobby again?!?!"

Now, Bloomberg’s Timothy Burger brings news about Axelrod’s latest health care conflicts of interest that will come as no surprise to those who have fully informed themselves of the Chicago way. While White House press secretary Robert Gibbs assails the motives of grass-roots activists by falsely smearing the movement as corporate-funded shills, Barack Obama’s own senior adviser and chief Astroturfer raked in millions of dollars from Big Pharma.

Two firms that received $343.3 million to handle advertising for Barack Obama’s White House run last year have profited from his top priority as president by taking on his push for health-care overhaul.

One is AKPD Message and Media, the Chicago-based firm headed by David Axelrod until he left last Dec. 31 to serve as a senior adviser to the president. Axelrod was Obama’s top campaign strategist and is now helping sell the health-care plan. The other firm is Washington-based GMMB Campaign Group, where partner Jim Margolis was also an Obama strategist.

This year, AKPD and GMMB received $12 million in advertising business from Healthy Economy Now, a coalition that includes the Washington-based Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, known as PhRMA, that is seeking to build support for a health-care overhaul, said the coalition’s spokesman, Jeremy Van Ess.

You won’t be surprised to learn that the HEN coalition also includes left-wing Families USA, the sellouts at the AARP, and the Purple Army at the SEIU.

No, not at all. But definitely read the whole thing.™