Mr. President ... the question was about TAXES
On Good Friday - a day that Christians observe the day Jesus was paraded through the streets of Jerusalem along with two other criminals, dragging a cross on his back, a cross that he would later be nailed through the wrists and feet to, and then have this cross posted in the ground and hang from to die - Barack Obama took to a riser-stage in Charlotte, North Carolina at Celgard, a manufacturer of lithium battery components. The company is expanding through an economic-stimulus-funded grant.
During the Obama Administration's promotional event to highlight Government Spending, President Obama took a few questions from the audience and the following situation of note transpired.
Obama took a question on the new health care reform law and higher taxes and he produced one of the longest answers that had been documented (YouTube video below) ... and he produced this answer without actually answering the essence of the question.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. We're honored to have you here today. I'm Joyce Ravis (ph) from Lake Wiley, South Carolina. I work at Celgard. We have wonderful CEOs that take care of us and have really helped the company grow.
My question is, though, in the economy times that we have now, is it a wise decision to add more taxes to us with the health care, because it -- we are over-taxed as it is?
Time: 12:39 p.m. and 40 seconds, EDT
OBAMA: Well, let's talk about this, you know, because this is an area where there's been just a whole lot of misinformation. And I'm going to have to work hard over the next several months to clean up a lot of the misapprehensions that people have.
Here's the bottom line. Number one is that we are the only -- we have been, up until last week, the only advanced country that allows 15 million of its citizens to not have any health insurance. And the vast majority of those folks work; it's just that they don't happen to work for a company that is either big enough or generous enough to provide them any coverage.
So that's point number one: There is a moral imperative that is important.
FAST FORWARD TO END (full answer here)
Boy, that was a long answer. I'm sorry, but I hope everybody -- but I hope I answered her question.
Time: 12:56 p.m. and 54 seconds, EDT.
This overview excerpted and edited from The Washington Post -
Obama's 17-minute, 2,500-word response to woman's claim of being 'over-taxed'
by Anne E. Kornblut - The Washington Post - April 5, 2010
Even by President Obama's loquacious standards, an answer he gave here on health care Friday was a doozy.
He then spent the next 17 minutes and 12 seconds lulling the crowd into a daze. His discursive answer - more than 2,500 words long -- wandered from topic to topic, including commentary on the deficit, pay-as-you-go rules passed by Congress, Congressional Budget Office reports on Medicare waste, COBRA coverage, the Recovery Act and Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (he referred to this last item by its inside-the-Beltway name, "F-Map"). He talked about the notion of eliminating foreign aid (not worth it, he said). He invoked Warren Buffett, earmarks and the payroll tax that funds Medicare (referring to it, in fluent Washington lingo, as "FICA").
Always fond of lists, Obama ticked off his approach to health care -- twice. "Number one is that we are the only -- we have been, up until last week, the only advanced country that allows 50 million of its citizens to not have any health insurance," he said. A few minutes later he got to the next point, which seemed awfully similar to the first. "Number two, you don't know who might end up being in that situation," he said, then carried on explaining further still. "Point number three is that the way insurance companies have been operating, even if you've got health insurance you don't always know what you got, because what has been increasingly the practice is that if you're not lucky enough to work for a big company that is a big pool, that essentially is almost a self-insurer, then what's happening is, is you're going out on the marketplace, you may be buying insurance, you think you're covered, but then when you get sick they decide to drop the insurance right when you need it," Obama continued, winding on with the answer.
Halfway through, an audience member on the riser yawned.
It was not evident that he changed any minds at Friday's event. The audience sat politely, but people in the back of the room began to wander off.
Even Obama seemed to recognize that he had gone on too long. He apologized -- in keeping with the spirit of the moment, not once, but twice. "Boy, that was a long answer. I'm sorry," he said, drawing nervous laughter that sounded somewhat like relief as he wrapped up. But, he said: "I hope I answered your question."
Mr. President ... the question was about TAXES!