FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Obamacare, Mandates, Bar Tabs and Visigoth Holidays
To read Jay Cost lay into the individual mandate provision of Obamacare with a truncheon is to see the wrath of a forgotten, dissed and dismissed America in print. He inveighs in a Weekly Standard Piece entitled The Mandate Represents What’s Wrong With Democrats. There will be a mandatory 1/10 of a point deduction for leaving off the html rant tags, but he sure did stick the landing below.
The individual mandate is the apotheosis of the modern Democratic party’s way of doing business. In particular, it is the quintessential example of how, hiding behind a smokescreen of egalitarian rhetoric, the party has become deeply, perhaps hopelessly, anti-republican, happy to dole out favors to privileged groups while the rest of the country is left with nothing. First, the individual mandate represents an enormous transfer of wealth, completely independent of income or social status. It transfers resources from the healthy to the sick, from the young to the old, without regard to who has more money to begin with.
Cost has a lot of merit here. The individual mandate is clearly designed to buy votes with other people’s money. It forces millions of Americans to become customers of various industries such as insurance, pharma, and hospitals against their will. In return for which, fat-cat lobbyists like the repulsively smarmy Billy Tauzin of Pharma become patrons of the Obama Presidency. The LA Times described the quid-pro-quo below.
“I think the pharmaceutical industry has been quite constructive in this debate,” Obama told a small group of regional reporters last week. “And the savings that they’ve put on the table are real and significant and are appreciated.”
The benefits to the White House go beyond budget savings. Tauzin’s trade association, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, is helping to underwrite a multimillion-dollar TV advertising campaign touting comprehensive healthcare legislation.
And Tauzin successfully made sure his interests were taken care of as well.
In an interview, Tauzin said he carefully negotiated his agreements with the White House, offering the $80-billion discount program in return for assurances that there would be no government price-setting in Medicare Part D, the drug program for seniors.
It was important, he said, to block the threat of Medicare price negotiations, which he called tantamount to price-setting and a threat to the industry. In addition, Tauzin said the industry asked the administration not to allow the import of cheaper drugs because of safety concerns
Obama was taken care of. Tauzin was taken care of. Two out of three isn’t bad. And who’s that other person I just mentioned. Nobody President Obama cares about, just the taxpayer. And this is a recurring trend with this entire administration.
Veronique De Rugy described the extent to which The 2009 Stimulus Bill was distributed in an unequal fashion during FY2009 and Fy 2010. I blogged this at the time, nerd-wrestled De Rugy’s numbers in a manly fashion, and reached the following conclusion.
…the stimulus favors a lucky few over a suffering multitude. The receipts have not been equitable, or in any proportion to economic hardships endured. Accusations that the stimulus is basically a political pork barrel could well gain further credence unless the Executive Branch of The United States Government significantly alters the current pattern of outlays to better favor the unemployed.
A similar pattern occurred when President Obama managed one of the most unorthodox corporate bankruptcies in industrial history on behalf of the UAW, GM and Chrysler. The UAW did well, the corporate sycophants of our Great leader made out as well. The bond-holders who should have had first dibs on bankruptcy settlement monies fared less well and were publically attacked by President Obama when they pressed their claims.
It always ends that way with President Obama. His friends and allies get the drinks and the party while those he doesn’t know get the bar tab and the hangover. Only a Supreme Court opinion striking down the individual mandate and the community rating provisions of Obamacare at a bare minimum will prevent this nasty pattern from resurfacing again when Obamacare goes fully online in 2014. By then, we can hope, a more conservative Congress will rise up and put an end to the entire vote-buying Visigoth Holiday that is Obamacare.