The Online Opinion Outpost features opinions and commentary on the latest hot topics from national news sources. As much as you love hearing from The Universe, we thought you might like to hear from journalists around the nation.
Universal Health Care
Directly undermining those who advocate for an even stronger role for government in U.S. health care, the British press has instead been documenting the disgraceful state of the NHS.
Despite what Americans are led to believe about nationalized health systems, including the claims that everyone is insured and care is free under such systems, the facts about what’s really important in health care — actual medical care access and quality — showed the harmful impact of government control on health care.
The early success stories have been ignored in all the attention paid to the implementation problems. The premiums offered on the exchanges cost 16% less than what the Congressional Budget Office projected them to be. This results in significantly lower costs to people and saves almost $200 billion in the federal government budget.
Of course, the biggest changes to our system took place New Year’s Day. But it is simply too early to judge their impact.
Putin may have thought hosting the Olympics would boost his stature in Russia and elsewhere. The actual effect, though, has been to focus more attention on his thin skin, contempt for Western values and unquenchable need for control. So even his gesture of charity toward the prisoners he freed merely underscored the arbitrary, secretive nature of his rule, while reminding everyone that those people should never have been jailed in the first place.
The Winter Olympics could have been Putin’s opportunity to show the world a country far more humane, democratic and open than it was when the Soviet Union hosted the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow. Instead, he is likely to face protests, overt or oblique, by athletes and spectators. He will find foreign news media examining how he steered Russia off the democratic path it took after the collapse of communism.
Economy in 2014
For four and a half years, we have waited for a powerful and self-sustaining economic recovery. More than once it seemed imminent. Then, for various reasons, it vanished, and we returned to a plodding expansion with too much unemployment and too little confidence. Could 2014 be the year when the recovery actually feels like a recovery? Well, it could.
America and Iraq
In the end, Iraq will break our hearts. We invaded the country to destroy weapons of mass destruction. We stayed to nation build. And we failed at both.
After one of the longest wars in American history we have little to show for the thousands of American deaths, tens of thousands of American casualties and trillions in spent American treasure.
Why? Because we failed to realize one essential truth of the Middle East — that the nations in that part of the world aren’t just like us.