Obama leadership and spirit: 'Yes we can!'... and he did!

Posted on: 22 March 2010 by Gareth Hargreaves

US president Barack Obama's landmark healthcare reforms squeezed through the House of Representatives marking his most significant victory since taking office and extending health insurance to 32 million elderly and poorer Americans.

Well I bet Obama will sleep well tonight (his time – now)! Against all the odds and with a very slim majority he got his Healthcare Bill through the House of Representatives – which means it will become law within a matter of days.

This is a monumental achievement and reflects the vision, determination and intellect of the man. They say that a Nation always gets the leader and government it deserves. Well America certainly struck lucky with Obama! It leaves me wondering what Britain did to upset the Gods!

This Bill will lift about 30 million Americans out of healthcare poverty and force all employers to run healthcare schemes or be fined. The Republicans and the extreme right are reeling with the result. He only won by seven votes! To do this he had to agree to issue an Executive Order denying the use of federal fund to pay for abortions.

AARP (American Association of Retired People – their old name) supported the bill as did the pharmaceutical industry. Surprisingly the health insurers and employers didn’t!

This will not be the end of the game by a long chalk – the health insurers will fight for as long as they can – arguing the toss over each and every amended clause and condition. The fight will delay things but this will be law - fact.

It’s Budget Day, Darling!

Alistair Darling  – if Labour lose the election he’s out and if they win he’s out! Brown’s favourite ‘bully boy’ Ed Balls wants the job as Chancellor.

I imagine our Alistair will be greatly relieved – it has had to be the worst job in the world for the past two years. He can settle back and ease himself into some plum jobs in the City and write a best-selling book – more than Brown will be able to do when he finds himself in the wilderness!

All in all Mr Darling hasn’t done a bad job considering the God awful mess he was presented with. But what will he present as a Budget this year. He knows that it is only a speech for the media with the objective of kicking off the election on the right foot for the Labour Party. Even so I think this man is a man of principle and he may not deal the best hand for Mr Brown and Balls to fight the election on.

He will be in two minds as to what he does – a silly ‘spend’ budget to win the election will rule out those nice jobs. On the other hand an austerity budget will lose him friends in the rank and file of the Labour party.

He will tread this line very carefully and will hit some targeted tax areas – duty on wine and tobacco, capital gains tax and maybe to token tax on bank profits – make them pay! This will be enough to label him prudent and measured – good for job prospects!

The real budget will come after the election – whoever wins will have to raise taxes and these increases will be in the big tax areas – Income Tax, VAT and National Insurance. Somehow we have to pay back £178 billion in current account borrowing. These three taxes represent 65% of all tax revenue.

Advice for the future – buy anything that carries VAT before it goes up; retire so you stop paying NI and give up your job so you don’t get caught by income tax rises! Only joking – but be sure there are new tax hikes coming so put them into your calculations – this little debacle is going to be around for at least five more years!

Tony Page

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