So What Now?

Posted: Mar 23, 2010 9:41 AM
Quote of the day: "It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." Theodore Roosevelt, April 23rd, 1910

Now what?: Unless you have been hiding somewhere for the last 24 hours, you know that ObamaCare passed late last night. So now what?

First of all, lawsuits are already being filed by states and others challenging the constitutionality of various provisions in the bill.  The provision attracting the most attention is the one requiring that you buy health insurance approved by the government or face a fine and/or imprisonment.  You may ask if this is not similar to the state requirements that people buy car insurance. Those car insurance laws have been ruled constitutional because you don’t have to buy it unless you want to drive your car on a public road. It is essentially a cost for the “privilege” of driving on a public road. If you only use private roads, you do not need to buy insurance. But this health insurance provision requires everyone to buy simply because you take breath.  As an aside, notice how effective the car insurance mandates have been. We all still have to pay for uninsured motorist coverage because so many people still drive without insurance. Imagine how difficult and intrusive it is going to be in order to enforce this health insurance mandate.  And, by the way, there is no cost or funding in the bill for that enforcement, which is supposed to be done by the IRS.

Secondly, the provisions of the bill, both taxes and benefits, will all phase in between 6 months after enactment and 2018. So, there is still time to stop it. I, along with virtually, if not all Republicans, are already calling for repeal. As a practical matter, even if the public were to entrust us with the majority in Congress this November, it is unlikely that President Obama would sign a repeal of his signature piece of legislation. So, unless that veto could be overridden with a 2/3rds majority in both Houses, the bill cannot be repealed before 2013. However, one of the tricks employed by Democrats in order to give the illusion that this thing is fiscally responsible is that they did not fund any of the agencies, enforcement, and implementation of the bill. For example, the massive federal health exchange, where most of us will have to get coverage eventually, has no funding for any employees. A Republican controlled Congress could block implementation of the bill by simply not funding this and many other provisions in the bill, thereby providing leverage to replace it with something else.

Unfortunately, there is no way to stop the taxes, fees, and penalties outside of outright repeal. The tax increases begin next year and are fully phased in by 1/1/2013.

So what will Congress do for the rest of the year? Not good things, I fear. Obama, fresh off his victory of last night, is already talking about a partisan regulatory reform bill which will be a disaster for anyone who wants to borrow money, and an amnesty bill for illegal aliens. That amnesty bill will likely make illegal aliens eligible for free health care.

Unbelievable, and stunningly out of touch.

I must confess that I was pretty despondent last night. These last 2 weeks have been long and emotional. I am running on little sleep and lots of fear for the future right now. But I have to pick myself up and go back in the arena and fight again. And I will. And you all will too. This crowd in charge here is doing all the wrong things in all the wrong ways. But America gets it.

We can change the direction of this country. We must change the direction of this country. With all of you pulling together, we will change the direction of this country.