What’s Wrong with the World

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Shorter Obama:

"I am altering the deal. Pray I do not alter it any further."

Shorter America:

"This 'deal' is getting worse all the time."


Comments (14)

I love this meme and hope it doesn't drag it down to post anything serious after it, but this is an interesting legal discussion:

The administration is not changing the rules, just declining to enforce them against the insurers. This is becoming a pattern: Obama’s position on the law seems to be that it’s his law, and therefore the law is whatever he and his appointees say it is. That’s dangerous for all sorts of reasons, not least because it makes them vulnerable to court action. Presumably they will also not enforce the mandate against people who have grandfathered plans. But that raises an interesting legal issue. Remember that in 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the mandate was a tax. And as a lawyer of my acquaintance points out, taxes have to be enforced uniformly; the Internal Revenue Service can pick and choose who it audits, but it cannot pick and choose who has to obey the law. If it declines to enforce the mandate against grandfathered consumers, it's conceivably opening itself up to a bunch of legal challenges.

The disregard of anything remotely resembling the rule of law in this administration is really striking. Since his party is pretty willing to do what he wants, it would have been easy enough for him to "instruct" them to pass into _law_ what he instead simply announced as imperial decree. Presumably they would have done so post haste. Not that that would have solved all the problems by a long chalk, but at a minimum it would not have continued the theme of l'etat, c'est moi. Then again, at some level I think he really believes, "L'etat, c'est moi."

Well, it would have brought in what Pelosi delicately described as different "agendas," that is, Republicans. And we can easily see the problem. Getting something through the House means acquiescing to the Upton plan or something like it, and once he starts negotiating over just how thoroughly the ACA's structure will be gutted, it's already game over.

The fact that the President is willing to as much as admit that his reason for doing this is so that "we can say" that the insurers are to blame for the cancellations that his own legislation requires, tells you the depths of his disregard for anything resembling propriety or the rule of law. And of course, it's all so transparently being done to provide cover for the midterms--there's not even a hint of deniability with respect to the self-serving cynicism of the exercise. Nobody believes it is about anything else besides next year's election--nobody believes it is about keeping a promise, and he evidently has just lost interest in whether anybody believes his motives are anything but politics, and not just politics but the most crass kind of electoral politics.

But all of that pales in significance to the idea that the President apparently believes that in a Western democracy, it is appropriate for the executive to direct private companies to offer plans that are literally illegal under the law, on the promise that they won't be prosecuted or held accountable by his army of regulators--because, you know, I've got this election coming up. This is Third World stuff. I've just never seen anything like it in my lifetime.

I keep wondering what the country would be like if Bush had taken the exact same approach with respect to Social Security reform during his first term that Obama took with respect to Obamacare. That is, if he had bribed, bullied, and lied his way to a massively unpopular reform, then lawlessly delayed implementation whenever it suited him politically, continuing to lie about what was in the bill even as people could see with their own eyes what its necessary consequences were. I can hear it now--"We always said that some people would lose their Social Security retirement and be forced into the private market--we could've been clearer, maybe, but you know, when we said 'Nobody is going to take away your Social Security. Period,' we thought it was obvious that some people would lose their Social Security. So here's what we'll do--you can keep your Social Security until after the midterm, 'kay?" It is almost impossible to imagine his not being forced to resign from office in disgrace.

But remember: Unlike the Democrats, we can't trust the Republicans. So, you know, viva la Obamacare.

And for the record, a prediction: The new Stab-in-the-Back Thesis being offered for the program's innumerable miseries (with Republican-backed insurance companies serving as the duplicitous civilian leadership undermining the boys on the front), though lacking any plausible specificity, will be the campaign theme of the 2014 election season. Given the thoroughly depressing efficacy of the Romney is Going to Take Away Your Birth Control theme of the 2012 campaign, it'll probably work.

I don't think the Stab-In-The-Back thesis will catch on. The Obamacare rollout really has been a disaster for the Democrats, and Obama changing the rules is him belatedly realizing that he can't spin this one away. The Rs are certainly making hay of it all, but the Ds that credit R "messaging" with ginning up the problems sound like Rs who blame all their problems on e.g. a hostile media. At some point you have to deal with your own party's failures.

At some point you have to deal with your own party's failures.

For once, Matt, I'm going to say to a comment of yours: I hope you're right. From your word processor to God's ear. I've become such a cynic that I'm not sure that is true if the "you" in question has a D on his shirt and an untouchable (for various reasons) President heading his party.


First of all, whenever someone goes "old school" Star Wars on me, I'm hooked ;-)

Second, building off of Lydia's comment, if you don't mind me continuing to drag this post down with a bit of serious legal analysis; the idea the this administration is ignoring the rule of law gets more interesting by the day. Right now, one of Obamacare's most intense critics is arguing that the IRS doesn't even have legal standing to enforce the penalties and subsidies via the federal exchanges that are the key to making the whole Rube Goldberg contraption work -- for the basic details of the argument check out this post:


Just as interesting to me is how the Red Queen...er, President...has determined that the IRS shall have the authority to enforce taxes (that is, the Roberts Court's "penalty tax") on an unequal footing, that is, against only those parties not yet politically problematic to the Democrats.

Lo, what a tangled web the President is weaving with this utterly capricious approach to the law. And boy, is his party ever going to regret it the next time they lose the White House to a Republican. The damage being done to our political culture--which more and more makes an absolute farce of the notion that our leaders are in any way accountable for the votes they cast--by all of this is just incalculable.

Anybody else remember all the hootin' and hollerin' when GWB issues "signing statements"? But I guess pointing out double standards just gets boring after a while.

Add to that the appalling lawlessness WRT surveillance, prosecutorial misconduct, IRS retributions, and the like. I better never hear a leftist utter a word about wartime civil liberties, the warfare state or empire, in my presence again.

Andrew Sullivan stands for many in being all het up about conservatives taking some pleasure in the President's discomfiture. Boo freaking hoo. He brought ever last detail of this fiasco on himself. There actually is a party, in America, that lent no vote, in either house of Congress, to this disgraceful confection of autocratic enfeeblement.


Looking more broadly, once again I'm in the position where I'm most suspicious of confident conjecture. The truth is events are in the saddle; the Left has set them loose on mankind. But them may trample the handlers before they trample us.

Andrew McCarthy is quite good on this topic, here.

In other news, the DC insurance commissioner was abruptly fired a day after questioning the Obama "fix."

But remember: Government is trustworthy, efficient, and motivated by the best incentives for outcome-based policy making.

Apparently Obamacare is causing (slightly salty language) the percentage of people who don't think health care is a human right to increase.

Mike, I really hate being a spoiled sport, and it's nothing personal, but your idea of "slightly" and mine are a bit different.

The really noticeable thing is that, if someone thinks healthcare generally is a "human right" (which I certainly do not), he should _oppose_ this plan because it is going to make healthcare more expensive, less accessible, and of lower quality.

But this is the paradox one runs into so often: If a person accepts the idea that something--say, access to bananas--is a "basic right," he usually endorses some crazy, reality-challenged plan to make sure everyone has access to bananas, a plan which actually causes banana shortages, higher banana costs, lower banana quality, and banana republics. In other words, the more you demand that someone wave a magic wand and make x "available and affordable for all," the less you get what you want. The uncertainty, the inability absolutely to guarantee, that each and every particular person will get all of some desirable x he wants or even needs at some given point in time is a feature, not a bug, of the only approach that _actually_ makes x widely available and affordable for the greatest number of people in any given economic system.

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