The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What Happens?

There will be millions of words written on the vote for Obamacare—some (coming exclusively from the Left) waxing poetic about its wondrous benefits, and some (coming from the Center and the Right) horrified by its monstrous costs, its magnification of government power in the health care realm and beyond, and its total disregard for the express will of the American people.

On the day before the vote, The Wall Street Journal suggested that the President and Democrats in the Congress are making “a profound and tragic mistake.” The editors of the Journal expressed their concern by stating:
So if the health bill passes in the House [it now has done so], it will only do so the way it did in the Senate, with a narrow partisan majority, abetted by political bribery and intimidation, budget gimmicks and procedural deceptions. An entitlement the country can't afford and doesn't want may pass because of sheer ideological willfulness. The ugliness of the bill, and of its passage, means that some or all of it might be repealable, but far better not to make the tragic mistake in the first place.

As I watch pro-Obama forces smile and celebrate an “historic victory,” I can only wonder if they are so delusional that they truly believe their own ridiculous claims.

Obamacare will cost significantly more than projected (all health care and social legislation throughout the past 100 years has been dramatically more costly than projected). It will saddle an already debt-ridden country with additional debt. It will increase the deficit in the near-term and in the decades that follow. It will result in significant tax increases, and those increases will NOT be only on the rich. And worst of all, when tax revenues are exhausted, it will lead to rationed medical care, just as government health programs have done in every country that has adopted them.

Today's vote is a tragic mistake, not only because this specific legislation will harm our country, but because it will set a precedent for back-handed, constitutionally questionable maneuvers by a majority party. For progressives: remember that conservatives will be in power at some time in the future, and now they will not hesitate to use the slimy tactics that the Democrats have employed not for minor procedural fixes by for major legislation affecting every American.

Mike Flynn (writing before the vote) discusses the aftermath of the House’s vote and raises the specter of continuing dissent and chaos for a Congress that has serious economic and regulatory issues to address:
The Democrats and the White House are lost in a legislative “fog of war” right now. They are focused on twisting enough arms, offering jobs and negotiating specific “deals” (bribes) to get them to 216 votes. Their attention and energy is focused exclusively on a final vote in the House tonight. No one is looking even one minute beyond that horizon. They are like a general who pours all his reserves into taking a symbolic bridge, never realizing that his lines have already collapsed and his flanks have been turned. They may take the bridge and get to 216 votes. (I’ve learned to never bet against Congressional leadership and an Administration united for a single legislative victory. ) But, they have already lost the war. They have deluded themselves that if they can…just…get…this…bill…passed, the public’s anger and attention will subside, they can put health care ‘behind them’ and they can focus on other ‘popular’ measures that will shore up their election prospects in November.

What they don’t realize is that today’s vote isn’t the end, but just a new beginning in the debate over health care. Buckle up, because if they manage to cobble together enough votes to pass the Senate Health Bill today, we’re set for weeks and perhaps months of a constitutional and political crisis the likes of which we haven’t seen in our lifetimes.

When ideologues reign with majorities sufficient to pass whatever they want, even a deliberative democracy like ours is in peril. Barack Obama has achieved a pyrrhic victory, and in so doing, has set the stage for economic decline over the coming decades.

And for those readers who still think the President is a hero for coercing members of his own party to back this monstrosity, ask yourself this: What happens to “social justice,” to programs for the poor, and to entitlements for the elderly (to name just a few ideas beloved by Obama supporters) when our children and grandchildren reach the limits of their ability to pay? What happens when we run out of money?