In discussing political corruption there is some risk of sounding like an Old Testament soothsayer, decrying society’s loss of a moral compass as in the story of Lot’s wife or Moses’ destruction of the golden idol. As Obamacare rolls out there will be massive systemic problems, but the greatest damage is the invitation to corruption inherent in the way that the exchanges are being organized.
We and the Occupy Movement have discussed the corruption of Wall Street with nobody being held personally responsible for the gross abuses that led to the 2008 near-collapse, or even Jon Corzine not being held accountable for stealing over $1 billion from his clients. That is offensive, but a logical outgrowth of campaign finance requirements and an overmatched administration.
We’ve discussed the abuses of the Stimulus Plan and its rush to shower hundreds of millions of dollars on Obama donors with interests in solar industry – Soylndra and its brethren. That is offensive, but the result of ideologues and scientists without a clue about business or ethics running the Energy Department.
We haven’t much discussed the egregious payout of billions for alleged USDA discrimination against minority farmers – mostly African American, but expanded for political reasons to include American Indian, Hispanic, and women farmers – which has exploded in the past four years. This NY Times article describes what the taxpayers got when the administration, perhaps illegally, tapped a Justice Department fund for litigated payments to offer alleged injured parties up to $50,000 each with “no documentation needed”: judges and department professionals overruled by the Obama administration; open extortion by the Hispanic caucus prior to the 2010 election; an industry of claims solicitors; more claimants than farmers in many areas; “urban farmers”; extended deadlines; and a bill that will probably exceed $4 billion. That is offensive and demonstrates the corruption of the administration, but it does not serve to corrupt the average American citizen.
Obamacare exchanges, that’s different. Lost in the discussion of the delayed requirement for large employers (above 50 employees) to provide coverage, the refusal of most states to establish exchanges where small businesses and individuals can purchase coverage, the Republican legislation to delay the individual mandate, and the creation of loosely controlled “data hubs” containing extensive medical and financial information on all citizens, is the fact that subsidies are to be given to low income individuals with no documentation required. By comparison, income taxes are subject to audit, Social Security payments are based on reported income taxes, and mushrooming foodstamp payments require proof of income, assets, and expenses. Not so with Obama’s signature legacy.
Some of the sadness about what Barack Obama is doing to America comes from his “America in retreat” foreign policy, some comes from the declining economic standing of the middle class, some comes from the debt being piled on our grandchildren. Add to the list a level of political corruption not seen in our lifetimes.
For the first time, this week’s video is one of Bill O’Reilly’s “Talking Points”, a much needed response to President Obama’s Treyvon Martin speech. Would that it had come from a Black leader.