July 21, 2010
Government by DiktatBy Robert Miller
The Obama administration and its Democrat allies in Congress have been able to impose serious detrimental changes on America virtually by fiat, with comparatively little notice. I found out about it in an innocuous enough-seeming story...just a short piece in the New York Times, way back in the paper on page a-16, in a story that purports to be about health care. Note the opening paragraph:
This means no more co-pays or deductibles for things like lab work, tests, screenings, routine vaccinations, prenatal care, and regular wellness visits for children and infants. It even extends to counseling for smoking obesity and AIDS tests.
But the most important thing is where these "new rules" originated. There is a whole slew of newly created government bureaucracies in both ObamaCare and the new financial reform bill that have no legislative oversight and are answerable to no one except the White House. They can arbitrarily decide to stick their hands in the pockets of private businesses as they deem fit with new rules and regulations, exactly as they're doing here.
But wait -- isn't making this kind of preventive care free supposed to reduce costs by making it more affordable and accessible?
Aside from the fact that argument ignores the constitutional principles involved (government taking of private property, for starters), it's also factually bogus. Never forget that, as the Obama administration itself finally admitted, ObamaCare is designed to be a tax bill and a transfer of wealth to people the regime feels are more deserving.
What happens when you own a hot dog stand and announce you're giving away free hot dogs every day, all you can eat? Everybody shows up, including people who normally don't bother with hot dogs or who choose to spend their money elsewhere. Hey, why not? It's free, isn't it?
You get a lot more "business" -- but it doesn't put a single cent in your pocket. As a matter of fact, it substantially ups your cost of doing business because of the increased use of utilities, materials, wear and tear on your facilities, and increased payroll because your employees have to work longer and harder to satisfy the new demand. Some of them actually quit because of the increased workload and stress and just do something else.
This increased "business" will also undoubtedly affect your quality, as you must constantly look for ways to buy cheaper materials and hire cheaper labor to try and survive and offset what it's costing you to stay in business.
Even worse, your real customers, the people who used to like to come to your stand because you provided quality hot dogs at a very reasonable price with good, friendly service, start avoiding your business like the plague. Because it now takes literally hours to get a hot dog from a rude and harassed staff, parking is a nightmare because of the crowds, and the hot dogs themselves now smell and taste like cheap, canned cat food.
Substitute your local HMO, Medical Insurance plan, or health care provider for the hot dog stand, and health care for the hot dogs, and you've just gotten a preview of what's going to happen to your health care...only with two important differences.
In the example above, if our fictional hot dog stand owner lowers quality and service past a certain point, people vote with their feet and go somewhere else. But under ObamaCare, all the hot dog stands are going to be forced into circumstances that result in the same lousy service and poor quality, so there's nowhere else to go.
And it's not like you can simply avoid patronizing any of the hot dog stands. Under ObamaCare, you'll be stiffly fined and penalized if you try.
Even worse, since the HMO and medical insurers are going to be forced to take a huge hit because the government is mandating this raid on their wallets -- and we all know there's no free lunch -- they will try to ride this out by making cuts in other areas, like curtailing opening new facilities, buying new medical equipment, sponsoring research, or hiring more employees to deal with the increased demand.
And the insurance companies will be charging more for premiums. Obama's HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius estimates that premiums will rise an average of 1.5%. Given the Obama administration's famous accuracy in predicting what their wild-eyed schemes will cost, a serious multiple of that figure is probably a safe bet.
And that's on top of the new taxes on employer-provided health care that the bill mandates...which, of course, you are legally required to have.
Eventually, most if not all private insurers will go out of business, which was Obama's idea in the first place. So we'll all be getting our execrable hot dogs at one antiquated, understaffed government hot dog stand, where it takes months to get served no matter how hungry you are because there isn't anywhere else. And you'll be fined heavily if you don't eat there.
Ain't Obama-style socialism grand, tovarich and tovarin?
This government by decree extends to the Dodd-Frank "financial reform" bill, aptly named after two congressmen who arguably did more to bring on the current financial crisis than anyone else in government. It too is essentially a tax and wealth transfer bill, and it provides for numerous bureaucracies and special interest groups with little or no oversight, which can impose new rules and costs on businesses any time they feel the urge, and mandate who gets hired and who goes on the corporate boards that run these companies.
For instance, the bill creates more than twenty "offices of minority and women inclusion" at the Treasury, Federal Reserve, and other government agencies with the sole job of monitoring businesses to make sure they avoid hiring or giving contracts to white males.
And the new and all-powerful consumer protection agency that will have American business under its thumb that the bill establishes could justifiably be dubbed the ACORN and Democratic Party Full Employment Act. What this provision will do to employment in the financial sector is something else again.
There is one rather large silver lining in this particular cloud. You have the opportunity in a couple of months to vote for people who will repeal these and the other legislative monstrosities Obama and the Democrats have foisted on us.
Rob Miller blogs at Joshuapundit.