ObamaCare's Failure Will End It?By J. Robert Smith
Reading Marc A. Thiessen's column at the Washington Post yesterday, this passage rang a big bell:
Good question, but hasn't it been asked a million times before about failed or failing federal programs, be that Medicaid, welfare, or farm subsidies, to name a few? How about the postal service or the VA? Both conspicuously inefficient operations and failures in their own ways. And on state levels, who doesn't gripe about the DMV?
Yet... have any of these gone away?
It could be that Republicans are overestimating the power of failure as it pertains to government. This could well be scary-true of ObamaCare.
There's an underlying assumption among Washington Republicans that ObamaCare will fail of its own gross deficiencies. Just get out of the way and watch it fall. But that logic defies history.
Government programs don't fail; they either have more money thrown at them to "fix the problems" that "inadequate" funding causes (checkout public education) or they're "reinvented," meaning politicians and bureaucrats -- with the help of think tanks -- jigger a program or agency to improve it, only down the road to announce that the rejiggered program isn't working due to deficient funding or needs yet again to be reinvented.
Granted, there are steady and sturdy majorities opposed to ObamaCare. Those majorities may increase given ObamaCare's poor introduction. ObamaCare was born out-of-wedlock, so to speak, in that the Democrats failed to attract one Republican vote in passing the mammoth program. It might be that the sheer size and intrusiveness of ObamaCare, fused to its ongoing unpopularity, its structural flaws, and it being rammed down the nation's throat makes it ripe to fall, thereby setting quite a precedent.
And the Democrats may have misstepped in another way. Democrats have typically had their best successes in expanding government when they start small and grow programs over time. Social Security is a case in point. Medicare, too, was less encompassing when passed back in the 1960s.
But all that neglects to account for the facts that Democrats are ideologically and practically heavily invested in ObamaCare's success, which means something entirely different to them than what most Americans will measure the program by: Is it operating properly and does ObamaCare deliver services efficiently, cost-effectively, and at acceptable levels of quality? Does it improve lives and choices or interfere with them?
Success to Democrats is embedding a government program and making people put up with it. Or buying into Democrats' claptrap that a program just needs to be given a chance to right itself or that it can be fixed in time. And that whatever a program's problems (see food stamps), the unfortunate have come to depend on it. Compassion dictates that a program stays in place lest the deserving poor or down-on-their-luck middle class folk are thrown into the streets to starve.
Aside from an ideological or worldview commitment to big government (call it a secular religion), Democrats are about power, privilege, and income. Not unusual for humans, those three aims, especially the last. But Democrats typically express their drives for all three through or from government.
The genius of the Democrats long run as the nation's dominant political party has been fusing grubby machine politics with so-called progressive ideology.
The old Democrat machines were about taking from the public trough and spreading patronage to stalwarts -- done in obvious and crude ways by today's standards. Democrats are still very much about the old machines' aims -- yet on a much grander scale -- except they don't present their aims as such; they cover up "take and spread" as compassion, fairness, and justice. They've done that since the 1930s.
Democrats long ago became sophisticated in appearing to be what they're not while continuing to reap and parcel out the spoils. They also seek to enlarge government's net to ensnare more Americans, thereby making them dependents of the machine.
Hence, the Democrats are vested for very petty personal reasons in not just sustaining but growing big government. They fight tooth and nail -- in fact, have done so since President Reagan waylaid them -- to keep the big government gravy train going. ObamaCare is the gravy train for Democrats times... it's hard to stress ObamaCare's actual value. Let's just say "enormous."
ObamaCare represents a Rubicon of sorts. Pushing the nation into government-run health care permits an entrenchment of federal government power that goes beyond anything the Democrats have enjoyed to date (and what they've enjoyed has been substantial).
It's the western Europeanization of America or more, given America's leftists' thorough loathing of all things American. The left and Democrats are one; each benefits handsomely from the other. Call it a symbiotic relationship with terrible consequences for the nation.
Republicans either dumbly underestimate the Democrats' commitment to ObamaCare (i.e., a precedent-setting expansion of government) or believe, per their consultants, that if the GOP just gets out of the way, ObamaCare will come crashing down, and Republicans won't be seen as culprits -- as those heartless skinflints who made ObamaCare fail.
Or Republicans -- too many of them, anyway -- are quislings. Ensconced comfortably in Washington as scolds and smart managers, who accept that a century's worth of progressivism hasn't a chance of being undone. The Republican approach is likely an amalgam of all of the above.
But conservatives -- at the grassroots; tea party activists -- everywhere; and libertarians -- small government champions always -- shouldn't be lulled by the idea that ObamaCare will fall of its own weight. Democrats and leftists are hell-bent on cementing their power and control. They'll fight with great tenacity and ruthlessness to keep what they've long sought.
Principled objections to ObamaCare, and smart alternatives to it, need to be offered to Americans daily. Moreover, conservatives in Congress need to be encouraged -- or, if necessary, pushed -- to continue to offer legislation that attacks ObamaCare. The goal is nothing short of making it crash and burn.
Maybe Democrats have overreached this time with ObamaCare. But don't bet Americans' health care and liberty on it.
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