We already have a federal pay czar requiring companies to justify their pay raises and claiming authority to claw back bonuses already paid. Will the White House next demand that other businesses -- not just health insurers -- justify price increases deemed unreasonable, excessive or "extraordinary"?
On Capitol Hill, Democratic chief inquisitor Henry Waxman trained his sights on executives from Deere, Caterpillar, Verizon and AT&T in a brass-knuckled effort to silence companies speaking out about the cost implications and financial burdens of Obamacare. He scheduled an April 21 show trial of corporate heads who dutifully reported writedowns related to the Obamacare mandates. Obama Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined in on the witch-hunt, pummeling the companies on the White House blog and TV airwaves for their "premature" and "irresponsible" disclosures.
After the Democrats' own congressional staff pointed out that the companies "acted properly and in accordance with accounting standards" in submitting filings that were required by law, Waxman called off the hounds. But it was a temporary reprieve. Sebelius' threat last week against individual market health insurers who raise rates to cope with new federal coverage mandates will be far from this desperate administration's last.
As health costs skyrocket, doctors abandon the profession, hospitals lay off workers and private insurers shut down, the only way to quell the Obamacare backlash will be through an even more thuggish campaign to demonize, marginalize and silence nationwide dissent.
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