FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
It’s Obamacare, Stupid
Obamacare is not an extraneous issue to the budget fight. It is the fight.
Many establishment conservatives are agog with joy over the grand sellout of a budget deal. They feel that John Boehner was the real winner in the debate. The problem is that they are all focusing on the dollar amount of the discretionary spending cuts. They are forgetting the 800-pound gorilla in the room; Obamacare. The cost of O-care to our economy, liberty, consumer choice, and health care system is incalculable; certainly ions more than the diminutive $38 billion (really $26 billion in new cuts) in discretionary cuts that were secured by Boehner.
The Wall Street Journal penned a disingenuous op-ed lauding the spending deal as the ” first victory for the Tea Party.” They further admonished conservatives for criticizing the deal. Here is what they had to say:
“Republicans also showed they are able to make the compromises required to govern. We realize that “governing” can often be an excuse for incumbent self-interest. But this early show of political maturity will demonstrate to independents that the freshmen and tea party Republicans they elected in November aren’t the yahoos of media lore. A government shutdown over a spending difference of $7 billion and some policy riders would have made the GOP look reckless for little return….
Now the battle moves to the debt ceiling increase and Paul Ryan’s new 2012 budget later this year, and there are lessons from this fight to keep in mind. One is to focus on spending and budget issues, not extraneous policy fights.” (emphasis added)
Let’s get this straight. Republicans won their biggest electoral victory in 70 years over the issue of Obamacare, yet it is merely an “extraneous policy fight” to the Journal’s editors? Republicans pledged to defund Obamacare and now they are admitting that they will never employ any meaningful tactic to force the issue. In fact, they voted to extend an Obamacare program in March.
All of the Monday morning quarterbacking has focused on the rift among Republicans over abortion and $23 billion in extra discretionary spending. But what ever happened to Obamacare? That is the mother of all budget disasters and will bankrupt our future, along with our healthcare system. Yet, Republicans agreed to fund it for an additional 6 months.
If it is reckless to shutdown the government over Obamacare, then there is nothing in the budget worth fighting for. Due to the degree of entrenchment of the existing entitlement, even Paul Ryan’s plan will not balance the budget for another 26 years. If Obamacare is not defunded within the next year, it will be virtually impossible to completely repeal and will make a balanced budget an impossibility.
The question for the Wall Street Journal editors and like minded Republicans is this: If you consider it reckless to shutdown the government over Obamacare, how will you enforce that provision of Paul Ryan’s budget in September? When will we ever eliminate it if we refuse to utilize the electoral mandate to fulfill our promise of defunding Obamacare? The dirty little secret is that we will have to use some sort of extraordinary, back door means to annul Obamacare (government shutdown, debt ceiling, budget reconciliation or change in Senate rules assuming that we win back the Senate without 60 votes). We will not have enough votes to extirpate it through the front door.
Before House conservatives sign onto the budget deal for 2011, Republican leadership must provide them with an unambiguous end game for defunding Obamacare. After all, if Obamacare is not fully defunded, and becomes the mother of all entitlements, the other spending issues will become “extraneous fights.”