October 8, 2013
So, are these the people you want running your health care?
We have arrived at something very important, very profound in the last week in the United States of America. Yes, let's use the full name because this is a problem that goes to the fundamental nature of the country.
The government is using its police power against the public interest to make what it thinks is a clever anti-Republican point about the government shutdown.
Leave aside the substance of the Republican argument that Obamacare is hopelessly compromised by the executive fiats already issued on it by the president -- precisely that selective lawlessness that the section of the presidential oath "to take care that the laws be faithfully executed" is meant to prevent. If that is the larger point, and it is, we also all see the smaller point -- that all the people in favor of Obamacare don't want to participate in it. Companies don't want it; unions don't want it; and the people who, if they didn't read or write it, at least passed it, don't want it. So it is not unreasonable for the Republican majority in the House, the government body closest to the public, to seek a delay in the individual mandate, a stance reinforced by the incompetent introduction of the program.
And on government spending, the bottom line is that we cannot go on the way Obama has been going. Spending needs some cutting right now, if only symbolically, and, more importantly, the federal government needs a path to solvency over the next few years. Financial people know that the current level of debt is only manageable because of extraordinarily low interest rates. An increase of 500 basis points (5 percentage points), which would be within historical norms, would add $600+ billion to the deficit over a few years. Just for interest on expenditures already made, not for any new services or equipment.
But let's get back to the last week. Given the shutdown, which is due to a controversy between the different bodies of the federal government -- the checks and balances written into the Constitution -- is the executive branch doing its best to minimize the impact of this shutdown on the American people? Is it acting in the public interest?
No! Think about that. The federal government is using its police power to punish the public! Has this ever happened before? Not to my knowledge. We all understand the police blocking a road when there has been an accident or a washout or some other event. Ditto for closing public spaces for good reason, perhaps unsafe construction or a terrorist threat.
But to close them simply to inconvenience the public or damage it in some other way? Never! Think of that! Never before!
We have the story that mimicking the satire on the Web, the feds are actually trying to close Mt. Rushmore! That couple on Lake Mead has been thrown out of their house. Yes, maybe the fine print allows that, but even if it does, what is the purpose of throwing them out? What public interest is being served?
And so, we come to the big question. Suppose the government was running our health care as it so dearly wants to do and toward which Obamacare is the first step. Cones in front of the ER? The lights turned off in the hospital? Maybe not in Chicago, safely blue, but in Houston? Once the government starts attacking the public, where does it end?
The president has decided that the people need to be punished, to "show them" what happens when he doesn't get his way. Yes, we get it that this is a technique to try to damage the reputation of Republicans. But the American tradition is that it's politics during elections and it's governing between elections.
And, this is America. The government didn't give us the war memorials, we paid for them. The government was the toll taker when we sent them our money before they sent it back to us. Ditto for health care. The government isn't "giving" us health care. We already have it and the reason we already have it is that we paid for it, we invented it, we invested in it. But, once it flows through Washington, what are we going to do when Washington gets mad at us and decides to teach us a lesson. When the police car is pulling up to the ER door not to help somebody into it but to put up cones to keep us out of it?
This government shutdown, which the MSM treats as a horse race, has turned out to be an assault on the public. Around the edges, yes. But look at the intent! It is the government consciously acting against the public interest. Has this ever happened before?
We are being warned.