Pop quiz, hot shot.
Which is the bigger time waster:
- Obama continuing to push for healthcare reform despite significant evidence the majority of the public doesn’t want it and the fact the government has shown to be incapable of successfully running…well, anything (more on that later)? Or,
- Obama stepping away from RUNNING THE COUNTRY to, once again, appear on ESPN and fill out his “March Madness” bracket for the college basketball tournament?
Gosh, that’s a tough one.
I believe this is something scholars will still be pondering fifty years from now. (And by “scholars” I mean those who aren’t too busy sipping kool-aid and worshiping at the altar of their gold Obama idols to care about such things.)
Now, part of me believes Obama participating in March Madness is a good thing because it distracts him from his real job, which he is very bad at. I wish they had April Madness, May Madness, June Madness and a Madness for every other month of the year if it would keep the guy too distracted to ruin our country. That said…
On the one hand, participating in March Madness by filling out a bracket is harmless fun. He’s a sports fan, right? He likes basketball, right? People, mostly men, all over the country are doing the exact same thing, right? So, what’s the harm??
For starters, most people aren’t leaders of the free world. And since he already takes numerous smoke breaks every day, not to mention the multiple breaks he takes to talk to Michelle while trying to avoid looking directly at her face, I believe the man already meets his quota on downtime.
Plus, it’s hard to call these basketball brackets “harmless fun” when, in fact, they do cause harm.
Every year, employers across the country (you know, the ones who pay our salaries and keep us employed), lose millions and millions of dollars thanks to March Madness and its impact on worker productivity. The firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. estimates that workers distracted by the tournament could cost employers as much as $1.8 billion this year in unproductive wages during the first week of the tournament, thanks to daily time wasting.
Scoff if you must, but I think it’s bad form for THE PRESIDENT to encourage — nay, lead by example — an annual practice that negatively impacts worker productivity. Isn’t unemployment a big issue right now? Couldn’t SOME of these employers, due to, in part at least, the money lost thanks to worker unproductivity during March Madness be forced to eliminate a job or two? Wouldn’t that be BAD for the economy? You know, the economy that’s on such shaky ground these days and that said president is in charge of fixing?
In short, Obama’s glorifying/participating in March Madness is akin to him glorifying/participating in the practice of taking a nap on the job when you’re being paid to work. Might people do it anyway? Sure. Does that make it right? No.
(There’s also the little matter of March Madness brackets being synonymous with office pools and gambling/betting. Regardless of your feelings on such things, hopefully most can agree the president shouldn’t do anything that could even remotely be perceived as encouraging the act of gambling — especially a president who has bad-mouthed Las Vegas’s hobby of choice on more than one occasion.)
But how does this compare to his fascination with healthcare reform?
First, I should clarify I do believe healthcare needs to be fixed. It’s a broken system. We’re overmedicated, overcharged and overloaded with commercials for prescription drugs.
(Speaking of which, Obama, if you want to fix healthcare, start simple and ban all prescription drug commercials. In the past decade, since 1999 when the FDA issued its industry guidance on direct-to-consumer advertising, prescription drug sales have skyrocketed. Coincidence? Did people suddenly NEED more medications when the clock struck 2000? Or, perhaps, is the abundance of prescription drug commercials at least partly to blame for the high number of medications people are on these days and the associated high costs? Oh, and if you’re afraid of how other countries will react if you abolished such commercials [I know how much their approval means to you, after all], never fear: The US and New Zealand, as of 2009, are the only countries where prescription drug advertising is legal.)
But broken system or no, you don’t overhaul a system when your plan to “fix it” will only make it worse! Different might be different, but if it’s worse what’s the point?
Based on its track record, what makes ANYONE think the government is ready to tackle such an obstacle as healthcare reform? Look at everything “government” related in our society.
The DMV has long waiting lines and grumpy employees. The post office is no better. Our public educational system — with massive school closings in Kansas City, Detroit and others due to dwindling/mismanaged budgets; as well as more and more parents becoming so disillusioned with their schooling options that they are turning to homeschool or charter schools — is a joke. And our deficit is inexplicable. How much money do we owe China now? Over $700 billion?
If all the countries in the world were a family, the United States would be that cousin who is bad with money and drowning in debt. Think that cousin should be entrusted with handling his own healthcare needs? He’s barely competent enough to be entrusted with organizing his own sock drawer.
And yet here we are, with Obama and his kool-aid drinkers in the Senate trying to push government-run healthcare down our throats.
Frankly, it’s enough to make me wish Obama would quit his dayjob and join ESPN on a full-time basis. Heck, I can give up watching ESPN.
If I can give up drinking Coke Zero, I can give up anything.