MSNBC host Chuck Todd ripped into President Barack Obama's signature legislative accomplishment on Sunday, telling a panel on "Meet the Press" that the health care website's glitches represent "an indictment on the whole idea of government as a solution."

While not mentioning that private companies developed the first and second iterations of, Todd soared right past the common Republican line that Obamacare is a failure and seemingly went after liberalism as a whole.

"It's page three of the report, it says here that 'The team is operating with private sector velocity and effectiveness,'" Todd told columnist David Brooks. "Okay, that is an acknowledgement that, 'You know what? If this was a government operation for a long time and it failed, now we're bringing in the private sector folks.' I mean that is an indictment on the whole idea of government as a solution, frankly."

Amazingly, fellow MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell seemed to agree with Todd, saying that Obama is "at risk of losing the credibility of government as an agent of change, for a generation."

Despite the hosts' earnest private sector advocacy, experts say the health care website's glitches arose from systems developed by dozens of separate private contractors that did not communicate with each other.

From The Sunlight Foundation:

All but one of the 47 contractors who won contracts to carry out work on the Affordable Care Act worked for the government prior to its passage. Many -- like the Rand Corporation and the MITRE Corporation -- have done so for decades. And some, like Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics, are among the biggest wielders of influence in Washington. Some 17 ACA contract winners reported spending more than $128 million on lobbying in 2011 and 2012, while 29 had employees or political action committees or both that contributed $32 million to federal candidates and parties in the same period. Of that amount, President Barack Obama collected $3.9 million.


Sunlight's survey does not include awards to contractors that built the 14 state exchanges. For example, Xerox Corp. won a $72 million contract to help build Nevada's exchange and one for $68 million to do the same in Florida. Not only is Xerox building the online marketplaces for some states, it's also offering insurers the means to "fully take advantage of the nearly 30 million new members that will be shopping for health care on these exchanges."

What's more, the Affordable Care Act's biggest weakness is arguably not the faulty website rollout but the fact that it is set up to funnel yet more money into the corrupt business of profiting off mortality.

Even the (not exactly) raving liberals at Forbes have pointed out that health reform "only enriches only the health insurance giants and their shareholders," while giving small businesses and healthy people the short end of the stick.

Truly using government as a solution for health care would require a public option at least, or single-payer/Medicare-for-all at best, which has tended to work out quite well for almost every country that's tried something similar.

So, want to take another shot at that whole "indicting government as a solution" thing, Chuck?

(Meanwhile, if it's any consolation, officials say that is working much better now.)

Meet the Press roundtable on Obamacare site -- aired Sunday, December 1, 2013.



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A huge win, it's also just a hit on the pause button. Here's some context and ideas about paths forward.

The reach of this story extends from the lowliest working stiff to the highest court in the land.

White supremacist posters on campuses play on ignorance and fear within the very institutions that should be our...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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