Any American reading this blog will know how bad a policy Obamacare is. And unlike immediately prior to passage of this transformatory legislation, now that people have read it, it is not hard to see why. In a nutshell, it further taxes the ever-dwindling productive segment of society and gives to the ever-growing section of society which takes more than it contributes (some of these are hard-working, some are not) and the cost to the government over the next ten years is now measured in trillions of dollars, not billions like it was first promised. However, such facts are common features of Progressive policies. But more than merely expanding the size of government and interfering more in individuals’ private affairs, it is now increasingly clear the extent of the perverse side effects and unintended consequences it is creating. And thus, the American public are increasingly turning against it.
Workers are forced onto part-time contracts (below 30 hours) so they are not legally required to have health insurance, meaning less wages and the loss of current health benefits. Many workers are being thrown out of company-funded healthcare schemes onto private exchanges. By compelling insurance companies to insure the more risky applicants (whilst capping how much they charge), premiums are increasing, and thus, the most healthy of Americans will stop paying and being insured altogether. The fine (or tax) for not having insurance that is supposed to prevent this is likely too low. It also represents a redistribution of wealth from the young and poor to the elderly, as well as the government forcing Americans to purchase a private product. Furthermore, many technical and security aspects of the exchanges are far behind schedule.
And so we have the current movement, spearheaded by Senator Ted Cruz, to defund Obamacare. This movement saw a victory today when the House voted 230-189 to defund Obamacare whilst funding the rest of government. Should they somehow also pass the Democrat-controlled Senate, they will obviously not make Obama sign this bill. And thus, the Republican party is divided over whether it makes sense to defund Obamacare at all. I would argue it is bad tactics, and here’s why.
Proponents argue this reinvigorates the base of the party. It also forces Democratic Congressmen and Senators to once again take a stand on this issue, now it is increasingly unpopular and one year from the mid-terms. Likely many Republicans are voting for this to prevent Jim DeMint’s Heritage Action PAC from campaigning against them. Many believe that by agreeing to continue funding the rest of government, any veto from the President would make him seem unreasonable. Voters would blame him and not the Republicans over the shutdown. This is plausible, although it is impossible to know until it happens.
More likely, it seems to me, is that the Republicans will be blamed by most Americans for shutting down the government. The Republicans’ image in the country tends to be that of an obstructionist force. A rear-guard action designed to prevent the Democrats from achieving too many ‘successes’ long enough for them to regain control of the White House. Thus, any shutdown would intuitively appear to be the result of Republican intransigence. What’s more, the fact that Obamacare has already been made law makes the Republicans seem like the initiators. Sore losers even.
However, the fact that currently Obamacare cannot be repealed perhaps isn’t even the best reason for not defunding it (although it should be a bloody good one). The reason we want to defund Obamacare is because it is such a disaster. Every day we hear of new companies throwing thousands of workers off of health insurance, or spiralling costs.
Let it pass. Let it be implemented. And let millions of Americans taste socialism; the sweet-smelling yet fowl-tasting liver of political ideologies. This law will hit several of Obama’s constituencies the hardest; the young and the poor. The best strategy is to let this happen, turn millions of Americans off the idea of big government, win the 2014 and 2016 elections, and repeal Obamacare fully.
And let the horror stories of what occurred during these few years live on around the dinner table for decades to come.