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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Yes, It Really Is That Bad

I've spent some time going through Harry Reid's 2,074 page health care restructuring bill. If you read the dozens of prior posts regarding prior versions, you pretty much know the story. There are many good analyses of the tax and other aspects, so read up.

While some details have changed, this is one massive play by Democrats to create permanent control by the federal government of just about every aspect of your health care life. Whether the penalty for not having government-approved health insurance is $300, or $500, or $750, is a minor detail. Creating an unprecedented federal mandate power is the key point, and will open the door both to higher penalties and new areas of federal power.

What also is striking is how difficult it is to understand the provisions in the 2,074 pages of Reid's bill. Just look at how Reid's $100 million payoff of Mary Landreiu was cloaked in hard to understand language.

And many provisions are just guidelines, with discretion vested in the Secretary of Health and Human Services to promulgate rules and regulations fleshing out the details.

2,074 pages are just the beginning. It is fair to say there will several times that number of pages of regulations delineating who must do what, when and where. There will be dozens of new bureaucracies created generating hundreds of new forms and reports which must be filled out.

A glimpse at the future is the current structure for retirement plans under ERISA. It is almost impossible to do the calculations and prepare the tax filings without the help of a specialized benefits administrator. The cost is in the thousands of dollars even for a small employer.

Under Reid's bill, and the House version, employers of all sizes will have to hire someone -- either on staff for larger companies or third party vendors for small employers -- to navigate the new health care regulations, reporting requirements, and tax provisions. This bill will create jobs, but in the least productive sectors of our economy.

Already, so much of our economy is devoted to satisfying federal paperwork requirements. This is unproductive work which adds nothing to our economic competitiveness. Every dollar spent on a tax lawyer or accountant is a dollar not spent creating economic opportunities for the business.

This bill is so bad, that it is beyond repair. Arguing about this detail or that detail almost is beside the point, because the entire thrust of the bill is the problem, not just the details.

There are not many times when we truly can say that we are at a turning point. If anything close to the Obama-Reid-Pelosi plans passes, there will be one last chance in November 2010 to stem the tide of government control. It is not too much to say that several more years of Democratic control will result in an almost irreversible economic and political disaster, at least for people who prefer capitalism and individual liberty.

Tonight's vote is procedural, on whether to open debate. In a few weeks there likely will be a vote on some bill. That vote needs to be fought with every lawful means, recognizing that our tax dollars will be used to bribe Senators with pork projects to win their votes.

But the real battle comes in November 2010.

I believe Barack Obama when he says that he would rather get his way on health care legislation even if it meant he were a one-term President.

Obama knows what is at stake. Do we?

Update: Landrieu (the $100 million woman) and Lincoln (price unknown) are on board to move Harry Reid's bill to debate, so tonight is a mere formality. Now comes the test of whether Harry Reid and Obama can force debate to end. We'll see if Lieberman lives up to his promise to filibuster any plan with a public option, if Landrieu has been bought and sold, if Ben Nelson will hold to his abortion-language position, if Lincoln wants any political future (she has none if she votes "yes" on cloture), and if Olympia Snowe will hold the Republican coalition firm so that the disaster is owned by the Democrats.

Related Posts:
Reid: Hurry to Open Debate Then Let's Leave for the Holiday
What About The 255 Million?
Deception and Tyranny Key To Health Care Reform

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  1. So what happens when the whole house of cards falls in and the budget cuts begin in earnest? I have to admit, I'm not that wound up about ObamaCare because I think it's coming at about the same time as fiscal reality.

  2. May I respectfully disagree with you on the 'one last chance in 2010' point.
    In my opinion, Limbaugh and Beck are right. Tonight's vote is the last chance. If they get healthcare through tonight, it's endgame.
    I fail to see how we could get out of the kind of mess this bill would bring.

  3. If this bill is just a list of general guidelines couched in vague but confusing terms, how exactly does the CBO score the bill? What assumptions do they make about how the various bureaucrats (most of whom don't even exist yet) will use their power? Does the CBO have the authority to reject a bill for scoring for being too vague?

  4. I grew up in Missouri and moved back here 2 years ago. One of my senators, McCaskill, is a Democrat. The representative of my district is a conservative Republican. Some talking head said handwritten letters to elected officials are more effctive than phone calls or email, so I mailed them both identical 2-page letters in August explaing why they should vote against healthcare "reform". My Republican representative wrote me back within 10 days saying his constituents overwhelmingly opposed the bill and he would vote against it. McCaskill, on the other hand, never acknowledged my letter. (I knew where my other senator stood so I didn't bother writing him.)

    On November 18th I saw a Real Clear Politics article citing statistics that only 34% of Missourians support the healthcare reforms being proposed, while 55% oppose them.

    I tried to call McCaskill's Washington office to let her know about the poll. I couldn't get through. So, instead, I wrote her an email citing the poll results mentioned above and linked to the article. I reminded her that she represents Missourians, not Democrats, and it is her duty to represent the majority of Missourians who oppose the bill and she MUST join the Republicans in a filibuster to prevent the bill from coming to the Senate floor for debate.

    Of course, her staff didn't have the common courtesy to acknowledge the email. I have no doubt she will ignore the will of the majority of Missourians and vote with the Democrats to start debate. It's nothing less than democratically elected tyranny.

    I agree with uncledan. The 2010 elections will have to be unlike any others in terms of shifting political power out of the hands of Democrats for there to be any chance of repealing this disaster. And after 2010, it will be too late. There will be no turning back.

    As Friedrich von Hayek warned over half a century ago, big government socialism is the Road to Serfdom. The only reason it quasi works in Europe is because they spend so little on defense. If the U.S. cuts back on defense to finance this monstrosity, she will relinquish her hegemon status and the world will be infinitely less safe. I don't think the average person fully understands how much is at stake.

  5. I just shot a note to Sen. Gillibrand and signed off with a 2010-remark. The Reigning Party may go ahead and try to pass this stinking legislative diarrhea. I promised her the Country will simply bury their face in it come the next election.

    I've also adjusted to the reality that most of my Democratic friends can't be convinced of the errors of their Paryt's ways. Our efforts to educate are better spent on Swing Voters and soon-to-be 18 yr old voters.

    A coalition of fiscal conservatives (republicans and democrats), independents and youngsters we'll help us take back the government in 2010 and 2012.

  6. 2010 will make no difference unless Conservatives (NOT Republicans) gain a veto-proof majority in both houses. Does anyone think Obama will sign a bill repealing any of this progressive heaven legislation? He will veto any legislation that undoes what has happened or will happen before Jan 2011. Absent veto-proof majorities, freedom is toast.

  7. I have had the same experience as MaggotAtBroad&Wall with our new NC Senator Kay Hagan... But then again, Chuck Schumer and company gave her over $10MM last year to beat Dole, so I shouldn't be surprised that she is now the 3rd Senator from New York and a paid serf of the DNC instead of representing her constituents in NC.

    Anyone ready for torches and pitchforks yet?