Photo of a cheery Mr. Obama
“Part of what we need to do is reorganize the government, which was designed primarily in 1935-45,” said Mr. Obama during an interview with Chris Matthews Thursday. The man who can’t grow government fast enough has had that opportunity for five years.
In January of last year, Mr. Obama said he would seek congressional authorization to consolidate six trade and business organizations into one, allegedly saving $3 billion over 10 years. He was going to add a new Department of Business to do this! It was a meaningless idea then and it’s meaningless now.
Mr. Obama was soft-ball interviewed by faux political analyst, Chris Matthews of MSNBC at American University yesterday. Mr. Obama said he was returning to this particular university because he had such a good time last time he was there.
Obviously it had nothing to do with the fact that Mr. Obama is losing the youth vote as the Obamacare disaster rolls on out.
Matthews asked about the messy Obamacare mess and the resistance of some young people to it, to which to Mr. Obama responded:
“The truth is that most college age students, because of the law, can stay on their parents’ plan. And that may be the best deal for them,” Obama said. “For most people under 30, it’s probably going to cost you less than your cell phone bill or your cable bill.”
“There was a time when I looked healthy like these folks and thought I was never gonna get sick,” Obama joked. “But what you discover is that some tough stuff happens. You have a run of bad luck. You suddenly need hospitalization.”
Okay, so you can stay on your parents’ plan and don’t forget you could get sick at any moment.
About NSA spying on everyone all the time, Mr. Obama responded:
“Young people, rightly, are sensitive to the needs to preserve their privacy and to maintain Internet freedom. And, by the way, so am I,” he said. But he defended the NSA and claimed that some of the disclosures have been highly sensationalized in the media. “The people at the NSA, generally, are looking out for the safety of the American people. They are not interested in reading your emails.”
Obama also noted an ongoing review of the programs. “I’ll be proposing some self-restraint on the NSA,” he said.
What restraint do you think? Maybe NSA could collect 4 billion cell phone locations a day instead of 5 billion?
Matthews, in reference to the Obamacare rollout asked, “What is your system for management?” [Mr. Obama only met with Sebelius once in mid-October about the website problems, though the problems were known for months.]
Mr. Obama replied with a non-answer to deflect:
“Well, first of all, I think it’s important to distinguish between this particular project — this health care project, where it is obvious that we needed additional controls in place…and how we have managed incredibly complex problems for the last five years, everything from wars, to pandemics to, you know, natural disasters, to expanding student loans for young people.”
Obama said he has a “strong chief of staff,” but he holds every Cabinet member accountable — “and I want to have strong interactions with them directly.”
It’s not his fault. It’s the messy, outdated agencies’ fault:
“And the — the challenge, I think, that we have going forward is not so much my personal management style or particular issues around White House organization. It actually has to do with what I referred to earlier, which is we have these big agencies, some of which are outdated, some of which are not designed properly. We have got, for example, 16 different agencies that have some responsibility to help businesses, large and small, in all kinds of ways, whether it’s helping to finance them, helping them to export.
“And so, if you’re a small business person getting started, you may think you need to go to the Small Business Administration on one thing, you have got to go to Commerce on another. So, we have proposed, let’s consolidate a bunch of that stuff.”
And, of course, it’s Congress’ fault:
“The challenge we have got is that that requires a law to pass. And, frankly, there are a lot of members of Congress who are chairmen of a particular committee. And they don’t want necessarily consolidations where they would lose jurisdiction over certain aspects of certain policies.
“But this is going to be a major area of focus and has been over the last five years, but going forward over the next three years. How do we have a 21st century federal government?”
I don’t think he mentioned George Bush.