January 28, 2013

Regarding Charles Krauthammer’s Jan. 25 op-ed column, “Obama unbound”:

A thrilling headline catches the eye so, and expecting an article about the president turning green, growing a ton of muscle and bounding up Pennsylvania Avenue to smash the Capitol Dome, I dove right in.

Instead, I got an almost complete work of fiction.

First, the U.S. health-care system has not been “nationalize[d],” as Mr. Krauthammer wrote. I would know if all the doctors in my small town had suddenly become federal employees. Yes, they participate in government health-care programs such as Medicare or Medicaid, but this is basically independent-contractor piecework: the more patients, the more payments. Private doctors are still private.

Nor did President Obama “pledge to (1) defend unyieldingly the 20th-century welfare state and (2) expand it unrelentingly for the 21st” any more than Mr. Krauthammer has pledged to start birthing babies.

Mr. Krauthammer went on to describe the “20th-century welfare state” as “clinging zealously to the increasingly obsolete structures of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — . . . the very definition of reactionary liberalism.” I would suggest that a lot of GOP voters cling pretty zealously themselves to those three structures, and they probably don’t define themselves as reactionary liberals. Many are no stranger to a 50-hour work week and have worked themselves into a retirement full of physical ailments.

Baron von Imhoof, Denver, Ind.