“If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy.” –Thomas Jefferson
Saturday Night Special
“Woohoo — I’m close to controlling your health care!”
The Constitution took a beating Saturday night when the House passed its 2,000-page version of ObamaCare by a 220-215 vote. Only one Republican, Joseph Cao of New Orleans, voted for the $1 trillion bill, while 39 Democrats voted against it. But Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) didn’t dwell on the bipartisan opposition to this legislative disgrace, instead saying, “We’re glad to take responsibility for this bill. And the credit.” Famous last words?
Perhaps. Pelosi has reportedly informed fellow Democrats that she is willing to lose seats in 2010 to get health care “reform” passed. And why not? As Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto quipped, “At 69, Pelosi stands a good chance of facing a death panel before she leads a majority of this size again.”
ObamaCare’s prospects are uncertain in the Senate, where several Democrats have announced their opposition. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is possibly the most vulnerable Democrat in 2010 and may not be crazy about hanging this albatross around his neck. Still, we’re not hopeful that the Senate will refrain from passing something dreadful, if only less so than the House version.
As we noted Tuesday, part of the blame for passage falls on pro-life groups for forcing Republicans to vote for an amendment prohibiting funding of abortions via the “public option.” The intent was good, but ironically, the absence of the amendment might have brought the bill down to defeat. And it was likely a hollow victory anyway, as House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) says there is “no guarantee” the amendment will survive.
In fact, the real “right to life” issue is that every medical decision may soon be subject to both political and budgetary considerations. What ever happened to the old liberal slogan, “Keep your laws off my body”?
Furthermore, the bill raises a tax issue. Capital gains taxes will rise from 15 percent to 20 percent when the Bush tax cuts expire in January 2011, and the Democrats’ bill raises them again to 25.4 percent with a surtax. That’s a 69 percent increase, the result of which will be less investment, lower stock prices, economic turmoil and a drop in tax revenue. Of course, revenue is one of the gimmicks in the bill — the Senate bill counts on 10 years of new taxes to pay for just seven years of spending. And it includes a government-run long-term insurance program that begins collecting premiums in 2011 but waits until 2016 to pay benefits.
One other notable stinker is a tort provision that gives “incentive payments” to states that come up with “alternative medical liability law” that encourages “fair resolution” of disputes and “maintains access to affordable liability insurance.” The catch is that states can’t “limit attorneys’ fees or impose caps on damages.” DNC Chair Howard Dean was right: Democrats don’t have the guts to stand up to their ambulance-chasing sugar daddies.
Meanwhile, some 11 amendments requiring members of Congress to be enrolled in the public plan were rejected by Democrats. What’s good for the goose is apparently not so appealing to the gander.
And so the unconstitutional attempted takeover of one-sixth of the U.S. economy marches on.