March 22nd, 2010
‘Nil desperandum” — never despair. That is a sentiment that conservatives need to take to heart now that Congress has narrowly passed a bill that simultaneously undermines life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It takes some ingenuity to add to the costs, inefficiency, and dysfunctions that government has already bequeathed to our health-care system, but the Democrats have proven themselves up to the challenge. Almost nothing about this legislation is free of dispute, but we are convinced that it will increase taxes, increase premiums, and increase debt, while decreasing economic growth, job growth, and the quality of health care.
The Democrats had no mandate to take these steps. In 2008, the president campaigned both against forcing people to buy insurance and against taxing their benefits. The legislation runs counter to the campaign on both points. The president promised to change Washington. He has made its stench more noisome, winning this vote by using every kind of deceit and (legal) corruption, and over the objection of a bipartisan coalition representing most Americans.
We are now being told that the campaign to repeal this legislation is over before it has even begun, that Americans will come to appreciate the benefits that a bountiful government is giving them, and that the growth of the welfare state can never be reversed. We understand the odds against repeal. We understand, indeed, that complete repeal of every provision of the bill is impossible. The doughnut hole — a gap in Medicare’s prescription-drug coverage designed to encourage seniors to economize — has been filled, and it is not going to be re-opened.