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The Tentacle


March 31, 2010

“We are done”

Kevin E. Dayhoff

On March 23 President Barack Obama signed into law the obese 2,032-page, 25-pound “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

 

Last Sunday, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., NY), said on Meet the Press, about the new health care law: “I predict that by November those who voted for healthcare will find it an asset and those who voted against it will find it a liability.”

 

To which Sen. Jim DeMint (R., SC), said in an interview on Face the Nation: “We'll find out in November who won or lost this battle.”

 

For the many citizens caught in the middle of this mayhem of gloom and doom, charges, counter-charges, and caustic-bile, it appears that everyone loses; stick a fork in us, we are done.

 

Those on the left praise the president as if the sky has opened-up and they have witnessed a deliverance of epic, if not Biblical, proportions.

 

Those on the right now believe that Armageddon and the apocalypse are at hand.

 

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. What we can be sure of is that the future outcome of the massive healthcare reform initiative remains undone and uncertain. And therein lies the biggest problem.

 

For those who are particularly distrustful of the ideology and agenda of the Obama Administration, the legislation smacks of a government takeover of one-sixth of the nation’s economy.

 

This comes on the heels of attempts to nationalize the finance industry, automobile manufacturing, and the disturbing accumulation of a growing deficit and debt that looks like a clear and present danger to our nation.

 

Although the president seems sincere in his beliefs, a great part of the problem with healthcare reform was not what was passed, but how it was done.

 

As for what is in the legislation, maybe Conan O'Brien explained it best in the waning days of the rancorous debate: “President Obama says that Congress is very close to getting a new healthcare plan, but due to compromises, it ‘won't include everything that everybody wants.’ For instance, it covers everything except trips to the doctor or the hospital.”

 

Let’s be certain, the passage of the Democrats’ vision of healthcare reform is a defining moment for the Obama Administration. But what exactly does it define?

 

It certainly redefines any previous notion of “government over-reach.” It increases taxes, creates a new entitlement which the country cannot afford, places burdens on the producers and job creators, and precipitously increases the role of government in the lives of individuals, which will ultimately redefine who we are.

 

It defines that this president, who campaigned on governing as a post-partisan leader, has clearly demonstrated that he will, in fact, do whatever necessary to further his agenda, and that the end justifies the means.

 

Part of those “means” appears to be the president promoting class warfare in an attempt at a massive wealth redistribution initiative to be achieved by populist demagoguing the horrors of big business, high income earners, and – in the case of healthcare – the insurance industry.

 

The paradox is that ultimately the real responsibility for the healthcare reform legislation rests at the feet of the very health insurance industry that helped create the problem by defaulting on its social contract with the citizens it was supposed to serve.

 

Collectively, Congress has addressed that problem by moving the nation one-step closer to taking away the fate of our health and welfare from the greedy, nonsensical, business plutocrats and placing it in the hands of faceless, incompetent bureaucrats who inhabit the caverns of the land of the employment of last resort.

 

Moreover, let’s not overlook that the fine print of the byzantine machinations of the new law-of-the-land may be enforced by the addition of 16,500 new Internal Revenue Service agents, according to Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee in a discussion before the legislation passed.

 

The Wall Street Journal calls to our attention that last Thursday, Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Douglas Shulman stated he was still working on “the proper resources” the IRS would need to handle the tax provisions of the healthcare act.

 

Aside from the political recriminations and rhetoric, the biggest challenge may be the over-riding concern held by our nation’s employers, that the legislation will make it harder to create jobs and economy.

 

On Monday, House Republican Leader John Boehner (R., OH) summarized all this by saying that, “in the days after President Obama signed the new healthcare law, America’s employers began warning shareholders and employees about higher healthcare costs that would result.

 

“AT&T announced it would bear $1 billion in higher costs, Deere & Co., $150 million; Caterpillar, $100 million; AK Steel, $31 million; 3M, $90 million; and Valero Energy, up to $20 million…”

 

It is in this context that Rep. Henry Waxman (D., CA), chairman of the Energy & Commerce Committee, has now scheduled congressional hearings for the purpose of intimidating “employers who are warning that the job-killing new healthcare law will increase their costs and hamper job creation,” observed Representative Boehner.

 

Vice President Joe Biden added his own special touch to final operatic passage of healthcare reform, as he affectionately hugged the president at the subsequent press conference and whispered into the president’s ear in front of an open mike, that it was a “big “&*#@$*&%@” deal.”

 

It is not known if the president then indulged in a celebratory cigarette in the afterglow of the embrace.

 

After over a year in the making and using one of the bitterest recipes in sausage making in memory, it took the jubilant left-handed President Obama 90-seconds and 22 pens to sign the landmark legislation into law.

 

At the end of the day, the president looked around, marveled at what he had created, proclaimed that it was good – and then prophetically announced with the final stroke of a pen, “We are done!”

 

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster. E-mail him at kevindayhoff@gmail.com.

 



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