Monday, November 9, 2015

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Last week's voting results in Kentucky and Virginia continues a pattern of GOP Obama-era electoral success in all sectors of government save the White House. Since 2010, Democrats have lost 12 governorships, 13 Senate seats, 69 House seats and an incredible 900+ seats in state legislatures. Foreign policy failure, a $19 trillion debt load, ongoing scandals and corruption, and a four decade low level of employment participation have contributed to the public's rejection of Obama, Reid, Pelosi governance. However, the primary factor in the stunning turnaround has been, and will continue to be, the disaster of Obamacare.

And, as far as Democrats are concerned, it will all be for naught. Kevin Williamson writes of the impending death of that misbegotten piece of sh...legislation.

The fact is that Obamacare has fallen apart without Republicans’ dismantling it. Almost all of its basic promises have failed, it is an economic shambles, and it is a political mess: Unsurprisingly, people still don't like it. Less than a third of Americans support the individual mandate, three-fourths oppose Obamacare’s tax on high-end health-care programs, and more voters oppose the law categorically than support it. A quarter of voters say the law has hurt them personally. The question isn’t why Republicans haven’t gotten around to repealing and replacing it — the answer to that question resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for a while, still — the question is when Democrats will get around to admitting that, purity of their hearts notwithstanding, they and they alone — not one Republican voted for Obamacare — have created a mess that has introduced nothing to American health care except chaos.

Next, KW focuses on the "Cadillac Tax", one of the parlor tricks Gruber and company utilized to make the bill appear fiscally sustainable. Problem is, unions hate it and their wholly owned subsidiary, the Democratic Party, desperately need them to hold the White House in 2016.

The Cadillac tax was never going to be long-lived. It was a lie from the beginning, a part of the great fiction that allowed Democrats to claim that Barack Obama’s signature health-insurance initiative would add “not one dime” to the deficit, as the president repeatedly insisted. But the tax was and is bitterly opposed by important Democratic constituencies: the AFL-CIO and the American Federation of Teachers, the members of which enjoy very generous health-care programs (the teachers at your direct expense, suckers) and don’t much like paying taxes despite their endless nattering about the need to make sure everybody pays his “fair share.”

The teachers’ unions, it should be noted, are the biggest political spenders in the country — not the NRA, not the Koch brothers, not the Chamber of Commerce or Big Oil or Big Whatever. In the private sector, unions are in decline and have been for decades, mainly because extortion is a terrible business model in the long term. But in the public sector — in government — unions rule the roost, which is why they run the Democratic party in spite of their relatively small overall numbers. Hillary Rodham Clinton cannot be president without the support of the teachers’ unions, period, and so she supports repealing one of the main revenue-generating measures attached to Obamacare.

...Republicans blew the health-care fight last time around. Barack Obama rolled into town with his sack of goodies like some cracked Santa Claus, and all Republicans could muster was: “We have the best health-care system in the world. Harrumph! Harrumph!” We didn’t. We had a half-socialized mess of a system in which very important health-care decisions — the ones regarding insurance — were mainly taken out of the hands of consumers and put in the hands of their employers, who have very different economic incentives. Thank Franklin Roosevelt for that. Add to that a wildly corrupt, fraud-ridden Medicaid program and an insanely unsustainable Medicare program, insufficiently competitive insurance markets, and a few other flavors of nightmare fuel, and it’s easy to see why people wanted health-care reform — and why they want it still. “No” is my favorite word in politics, but it isn’t the right answer every time, and it wasn’t the right answer on health-care reform.

Neither was Obamacare, of course. The president had campaigned on health-care reform, and the Democrats had an unusual commanding position in Congress that was unlikely to be sustained or repeated. The president made it clear that he would happily sign any stack of paper, up to and including a three-year-old Denny’s menu, if the words “health-care reform” appeared in its title. The Democrats indulged the worst sort of dishonesty — we’ll cover millions more people while saving money and improving quality and look a unicorn! — and they cooked up the Affordable Care Act, with Nancy Pelosi famously insisting that Congress had to pass it to discover what’s in it. Now that she’s discovered what’s in the act, she doesn’t much like it.

 ...For now, eliminating the Cadillac tax is one tax cut that Republicans should resist. The teachers’ unions and the AFL-CIO put these clowns in office and inflicted Obamacare on the country, and we should make them pay for it. As Ed Koch famously said: The people have spoken, and now they must be punished.

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