Amid the ongoing debate over the implementation and funding of ObamaCare, Democrat leadership in the Senate and President Obama may continue their strategy of government shutdowns, padlocked memorials, and demagoguery but nothing they say will change one of the fundamental reasons for widespread opposition to ObamaCare.
It's the economy, stupid.
Philosophical opposition to ObamaCare notwithstanding, people from across the political spectrum are beginning to see the economic ill effects of ObamaCare firsthand, and they're not happy with what they're seeing.
In fact, a recent poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that 73% of respondents were not enthusiastic with the rollout of ObamaCare, and Bloomberg found that only 38% of Americans were pleased with the president's handling of the economy.
It's easy to see why. The president's unending spending spree has added over $6 trillion to the national debt since his inauguration, and each American's individual share of the debt has risen nearly $20,000 to an astounding $52,244. So it's unsurprising that the American people are worried about rising health care premiums, reduced provider options, and financial penalties for non-compliance adding to their economic woes.
Under Obama, the cost of family healthcare premiums has risen 29%, and premiums for individual healthcare plans have jumped 25%. This has occurred despite candidate Obama's 2008 assertion that he'd lower family healthcare premiums by $2,500 by the end of his first term.
At the same time, concerned employers are cutting employee work hours and positions, compensating for ObamaCare’s economic impact on their businesses.
Fewer work hours and the resulting reduction in wages, coupled with increased healthcare costs, don't add up to economic growth. Speeches decrying Republican opposition to ObamaCare will not change the law’s stagnating effect on the economy.
Now is the time to put rhetoric aside and begin to lead. Rather than refusing to negotiate, President Obama needs to direct Democrat leadership in the Senate to meet with House Republican leaders at the bargaining table.
And the president himself should take a leading role in helping to promote a vigorous dialogue that can hasten the reopening of government. That is, after all, what a leader should do.
Leaders don't say, "There will be no negotiations over this." Leaders help to forge consensus, not sow division.
Keeping World War II veterans from visiting their own memorial and shuttering our nation's most precious treasures from public view will not make ObamaCare any more palatable to the American economy.
The only way to restore some semblance of function in Washington is to cast politics aside and allow two separate but co-equal branches of government to come together and reach a negotiated solution. The American people, and our economy, deserve it.