Here’s a question that seems odd this week: Can the United States government still do great things?
Sure, the liberal echo chamber (major newspapers, TV news networks and so forth) is chanting the president’s mantra, “Yes, we can!” After innumerable backroom deals and weeks of arm-twisting, liberals in the House of Representatives ignored public opinion and managed to shove a moribund health care “reform” bill down voters’ throats.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seems to see that as a “great” thing. “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy,” she lectured voters a week before the measure (complete with sweetheart deals for Nebraska, Florida and Louisiana) became law.
But when Americans learn they’ll get the honor of paying higher taxes for the next four years but won’t enjoy any health benefits before 2014, they’re likely to sour even further on the bill and decide in ever-increasing numbers that it isn’t a “great” thing.
In the weeks ahead, Americans will launch many challenges to the bill. It would be poetic justice if the states decided to convene a Constitutional convention and draft an amendment that would overturn the bill. Maybe they’ll even reverse the 17th Amendment and its direct election of senators while they’re at it.
But before all that, it’s worth taking a quick look back at what went wrong here. How did an attempt to improve coverage turn into a monster that could damage our world-class medical system to the point that eventually even Canadian politicians may remain in their own country for treatment?
In The Washington Post’s Outlook section on March 21 (ironically, the day the House passed the final reform bill) authors William Eggers and John O’Leary laid out, “five simple principles that, if followed, could help renew America’s ability to accomplish big things.” Interestingly, the latest reform measure managed to mangle all five.