annoytheleft

Next Steps After Obamacare Passage

In Congress, Economy, health care, House, Republican, Senate, Tea Party on March 22, 2010 at 12:52 pm

The United States House of Representatives, on March 21, 2010, passed the Senate’s health care reform legislation, sending it on to President Obama who will sign the bill into law. Those of you who have fought, argued, railed and protested against this legislation don’t need me to describe any further the unconstitutionality, erosion of freedom, fiscal irresponsibility and exponential expansion of government bureaucracy that this represents. Those who argued for the passage of this legislation will find out soon enough the truth behind the bill of goods you’ve been sold. Already the bond market has reacted unfavorably because, unlike politicians who lie about the  numbers, the numbers themselves don’t lie.

At the founding of our nation, the events that fomented revolution were strikingly similar to what we are experiencing today. While they bridled against them, the taxes that led to the Boston Tea Party weren’t the root of the issue with the colonists, the beef with Britain was that the taxes were levied without someone representing the interests of the colonists in Parliament; taxation without representation. The correlation between that and the passage of sweeping legislation against the will of a majority of Americans today ought to be obvious.

Heritage describes the “Intolerable Acts”, legislation enacted by the British Parliament in the wake of the Boston Tea Party.

The British government responded harshly by punishing Massachusetts— closing Boston Harbor, virtually dissolving the Massachusetts Charter, taking control of colonial courts and restricting town meetings, and allowing British troops to be quartered in any home or private building. Richard Henry Lee wrote that these laws were “a most wicked system for destroying the liberty of America.” The American colonists, outraged by these violations of their first principles, their basic rights and the rule of law itself, called them what they were: Intolerable Acts.

The contrast between colonial American society and modern American society is largely what has allowed this current debasement of our freedoms. It’s almost as if Aldous Huxley was a prophet.

Heartening is the knowledge that our founding patriots began as a small, fringe group from which the idea of liberty spread. Having laid that foundation for us, our work in restoring those liberties, while challenging, is somewhat easier. The notion of Freedom has not yet been lost in our society, though there is a cost to freedom as Doctor Zero reminds us:

Freedom is not a gift. It is not given to you by the government, in a precise dosage that can be adjusted to match a politician’s diagnosis of what ails the body politic. Your forefathers won an impossible Revolution against an invincible foe to declare the self-evident truth that your rights descend from your Creator. Whether that Creator is a transcendent God, or a random combination of genetic material in the primordial soup, it is a power that existed before the first king assumed his throne, or the first president was elected.

In paying that price, we will have to face our own shortcomings, our past laziness, political opportunism and shortsightedness:

Not once during that period [of Republican majority in 2006] did the party seriously attempt to reform the health-care cost structure, let alone through the use of market-based strategies now expounded by Paul Ryan, among others.  Why?  First, Republicans did attempt to reform Social Security in 2005 with market-based strategies and got demagogued by Democrats for making the effort.  But it wasn’t really that reason that kept the GOP from engaging on health-care reform.  That issue was widely seen as a Democratic strength, and Republicans didn’t want to engage heavily on their turf. – Ed Morrissey, Hot Air.

Drew at Ace of Spades lays out a battle plan in an open letter to Republicans:

You need to be the party of No for the next 6 months on just about every issue. The only issue (other than national security) that matters is repealing this monstrosity. I don’t know if it can be done but it has to be tried.

Please don’t let Obama drag you into a pissing match over the small stuff. If he has another idiotic jobs bill, just let it go. Vote no but don’t fight about it, reframe the fight in terms of health care. Reframe everything in terms of health care…immigration, taxes, Cap and Trade, whatever other crap they throw at you. It all comes down to health care and the fundamental shift in the relationship between the government and the people.

Repeal is indeed the word of the day. The trouble is that entitlement programs become rapidly entrenched in society, as evidenced by the inability to reform Medicare which we’ve known for years is on the verge of bankruptcy. The fact that the end of the line for Medicare’s feasibility is in sight and yet we’ve been unable to do more than delay the inevitable speaks volumes of the task we’ll have reversing this health care legislation. The Cato Institute lends a little perspective on this, taking a pessimistic view of Republican will:

Republicans will run this fall on a promise to repeal this deeply unpopular bill, and will likely reap the political advantages of that promise. But in reality there is little chance of their following through. Even if Republicans were to take both houses of Congress, they would still face a presidential veto and a Democratic filibuster.

But more important, once an entitlement is in place, it becomes virtually impossible to take away. The fact that Republicans have been criticizing Obamacare for cutting Medicare shows that they are not really willing to take the heat for cutting people’s benefits once they have them — no matter how unaffordable those benefits are. Paul Ryan put forth a serious plan for entitlement reform — and attracted just six co-sponsors at last count. Enough said.

I have to admit that such lack of follow-through concerns me, as well. For that reason, as I vet candidates for the mid-term election, commitment to repeal will be a crucial factor. If I don’t find that commitment I might actually join the vote out all incumbents crowd and begin beating the drum loudly.

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