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Dana Milbank, a political analyst at The Washington Post, noted Wednesday that “even a number of liberals agree [the employer mandate is] bad policy,” adding, “Republicans could probably find support for repealing that provision.”

A more serious obstacle will be signing up the millions of younger, healthy Americans who won’t threaten the system with higher medical bills but provide the insurance industry with customers needed to offset the higher costs of Obamacare. Yet with just 81 days left before the insurance plan opens for business, relatively few younger Americans are aware of the program, let alone planning to sign up.

The delay in the employer mandate, plus other growing problems, “contributes to critics’ allegations that the White House does not have the ability to launch its biggest legislative accomplishment on schedule,” says The Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff.

That may be the next shoe to drop. “You trade off one set of painful stories for another set of painful stories,” says Bob Kocher, a former Obama health care adviser. “I would think that if I’m an administration official today, it’s a way more troublesome news story for people to say that we’re not ready to launch.”

This Rube Goldberg health care reform contraption may fall apart before it gets fully off the ground. Throw in the approaching deadlines for the 2014 budget and raising the debt ceiling to fund the government and you have the makings of a legislative train wreck.

Meanwhile, the mood across America is growing increasingly negative as the economy weakens and good jobs are harder to find. The Gallup Poll this week puts its underemployment rate — which includes people working part time or fewer hours when they need full-time work — at 17.2 percent. Gallup also reports that 42 percent of the Americans they polled about their economic circumstances told them they were “struggling,” an astounding percentage, and an additional 4 percent said they were “suffering.”

Another recent survey noted that most Americans get their news from television. Tragically, in the age of Obama, you rarely see stories about any of this on the nightly network news.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and contributor to The Washington Times.