A Victory for the Democratsby Quincy
Tonight’s Obamacare vote was a victory for the Democratic Party. That much cannot be questioned. Was it just a victory over heathen Republicans who have yet to see the light? No. It was so much more…
It was a victory over ethics:
“When the deal goes down… All this talk about rules… we make ‘em up as we go along.”
It was a victory over the economy:
When Congress inevitably fails to implement the Obama plan’s spending cuts, and expands its subsidies to more and more people, the cost of this legislation will grow beyond $3 trillion. The CBO did an admirable job of projecting the cost of this legislation as written. But the text of the legislation does not reflect the reality it would create.
Most Democrats know that even though the projected cost is $1.2 trillion, they are setting in motion political forces that will guarantee even more government spending. The question is, do enough Democrats know it?
It was a victory over the Constitution:
Can Congress really require that every person purchase health insurance from a private company or face a penalty? The answer lies in the commerce clause of the Constitution, which grants Congress the power “to regulate commerce . . . among the several states.” Historically, insurance contracts were not considered commerce, which referred to trade and carriage of merchandise. That’s why insurance has traditionally been regulated by states. But the Supreme Court has long allowed Congress to regulate and prohibit all sorts of “economic” activities that are not, strictly speaking, commerce. The key is that those activities substantially affect interstate commerce, and that’s how the court would probably view the regulation of health insurance.
But the individual mandate extends the commerce clause’s power beyond economic activity, to economic inactivity. That is unprecedented. While Congress has used its taxing power to fund Social Security and Medicare, never before has it used its commerce power to mandate that an individual person engage in an economic transaction with a private company. Regulating the auto industry or paying “cash for clunkers” is one thing; making everyone buy a Chevy is quite another. Even during World War II, the federal government did not mandate that individual citizens purchase war bonds.
It was a victory over the People of the United States:
My health insurance policy, which is an actual “insurance” policy that insures me against catastrophic medical costs but leaves me with responsibility for day to day expenses, just became illegal. Over the last couple of years, I have documented my learning curve as, for the first time, I actually had an incentive to shop around for medical care, or to push back on doctors when I thought they are calling for too many tests and procedures. I have learned a lot about saving money, but all of this education is now for naught, as I will now be required to buy a pre-paid medical policy that leaves very little of the decision-making to my family and provides zero incentives for me to be cost conscious. Apparently, the operators of the US Postal Service and US military procurement felt they were better qualified to manage these cost/value trade-offs than I am.
Barack Obama says tonight was a “victory for the people”. As one of the people, I know no victory was won for me. A victory was won over me. I will have less money, less privacy, and less freedom under Obamacare than I had before, and I know who to blame.
I hope Obama, Pelosi, and Reid celebrate heartily this night, because they have made clear that they are the enemies of the People of the United States. With this bill, they will make us pay in ways we don’t fully yet understand. We will make them pay by taking from them the power they worked a lifetime to assume. It is our duty as freedom-loving Americans.