President Obama is “historic.” That refrain has been beaten into our heads time and again since Jan. 20, 2009. This is historic, that is historic. Everything is historic. We’d probably know even more “historic” stuff if only we – and not the National Security Agency – had the job of reading journalists’ private email. But they’re right, Barack Obama is an historic president, and the Hindenburg was an historic dirigible.
What we hear far less about in the media is the fact that, by almost every method of measure, this historic administration has been an unmitigated “historic” disaster.
With the latest round of unemployment numbers, we’ve just passed the longest recorded stretch of unemployment above 7.5 percent. We’re well on the way to nationalizing 20 percent of the nation’s economy and making the federal government the sole arbiter of our health care. We’ve turned out backs on allies and embraced enemies. Things have gone so horribly wrong that the only thing missing to make this truly “historic” is news President Obama has taken up the fiddle.
It was announced this week, conveniently at the start of a long holiday weekend, that President Obama was delaying the start of the employer mandate portion of his signature legislative accomplishment – the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. By delaying the implementation of this portion of the law, something not provided for in the law itself, the president has moved from ignoring laws passed by his predecessors (DOMA, immigration) into the rarified “historic” air of ignoring laws he passed himself.
But more than the historic aspect of it, it’s incredibly damaging to millions of Americans, which may well be the point of the action.
Obamacare has always been a means more than an end. The progressive dream of a single-payer health care system is the end, but it’s an end the American people never would accept all at once. But, if the system in which they found themselves failed so miserably, maybe even collapsed, single-payer would be a much easier sell.
Here’s how it could play out.
Obamacare was a mess from inception, one that would never work. Costs for both consumers and the government skyrocketed when the opposite not only was promised but offered as one of the main justifications for passage. Another was to provide coverage to the uninsured, but the Congressional Budget Office estimates that even when fully implemented Obamacare would leave 30 million Americans without health insurance.With those problems unaddressed, the system would collapse eventually anyway, but an eventuality isn’t soon enough for progressives. People with insurance would be unhappy with it and the costs, but people adapt. Unless, that is, the system were nudged to fail even more spectacularly than it already is going to. And sooner.
Rising costs for consumers were anticipated, even hoped for, but those will be blamed on “greedy insurance companies” – much like gas tax hikes are blamed on “greedy oil companies” rather than the hidden hand of government. Even layoffs to avoid the 50-employee Obamacare mandate would be blamed on “greedy corporations.” And larger companies dropping insurance would be blamed on the greed of them being willing to pay a $2,000- to $3,000-per-employee fine rather than pay for $10,000 to $12,000 family health insurance plans.
But companies dumping employees isn’t enough. The Obama administration’s move to delay the employer mandate by a year incentivizes employers to drop their employee insurance coverage sooner.
Think about it this way – Most employers will end up spending more on health insurance for their employees since they’d have to provide plans that comply with the new Obamacare rules. Many will eventually have to dump their employees out of financial necessity, which will open them up to the government’s fine. But now they have a year where they don’t have to pay that fine AND don’t have to provide insurance. That’s a $10,000- to $15,000-per-head bottom-line swing for companies with more than 50 employees next year. Why wouldn’t they avail themselves of that opportunity?
The party of “Occupy Wall Street” just gave a massive gift to corporations.
While trying to overturn the Citizens United decision, those who mockingly tattoo “corporations are not people” on their souls just exempted corporations from a mandate they are still forcing upon the people. And those people, we the people, are going to have to purchase health insurance whether our employers subsidize it or not.
This plan works only if people have the time to get used to the individual mandate. As such, Congress should act to either delay that as well (repeal isn’t an option at this point) or force the administration to obey the law as written and enforce the employer mandate starting January of next year. The only way for people to be made fully aware of just how disastrous Obamacare is would be to have it all hit them at once. It won’t be pleasant, it won’t be easy, but it’s the difference between the frog dropped in boiling water and the one in the water as it’s brought to a boil.
The full-force of this law’s destructive nature hitting the American public and economy at once is repeal’s only hope. And repeal of a president’s signature legislative accomplishment, especially one with that president’s name married to it, would truly be “historic.”