March 25, 2010 | By Amanda J. Reinecker
Obamacare: It’s not over yet
On Tuesday, just 36 hours after the House of Representatives voted, President Obama signed into law the massive health care reform bill. Despite its tremendous policy flaws, its lack of bipartisan backing, its widespread public disapproval and its egregious constitutional inadequacies, Obamacare is now the law of the land.
But we haven’t even seen the worst of it. The new bill is about to undergo so-called “fixes” via a reconciliation bill. “You may have thought it was impossible to make the policy and process of Obamacare even worse,” writes Heritage’s Conn Carroll. “But that is exactly what this reconciliation bill does.”
According to a new analysis from Americans for Tax Reform, over the course of a decade, the reconciliation bill will add an estimated $52.3 billion in new taxes. These taxes will be levied against employers, the sick, low-income and moderate-income workers, and just about everyone else, regardless of income.
These so-called “fixes” are misnomers that actually fracture our economy further instead of repairing it. But even true fixes aren’t enough to correct Obamacare. As Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) pointed out: “This bill is unconstitutional and it cannot be fixed. It must be repealed.” The Heritage Foundation could not agree more.
On top of the harm to our economy and harm to our health care that Obamacare will inflict, this liberal success will only fuel the left’s agenda to push forward with cap-and-trade, amnesty for illegal immigrants, and other costly and harmful big-government proposals. These proposals would draw us further away from American principles like self-government and closer to a European welfare state.
“But don’t take our word for it,” writes Heritage’s Rory Cooper. “Here is audio of Congressman John Dingell (D-MI), a champion of [Obamacare] telling radio host Paul Smith on WJR in Detroit: ‘It takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.'”
Our Founding Fathers established a limited government in order to protect our liberties—not to control the American people. When Patrick Henry famously exclaimed 235 years ago, “Give me liberty, or give me death,” he was making a statement that has come to define our national character.
Patrick Henry’s sentiments remain very much alive today among the American people. Though under assault from the left, “the American love for liberty [that] prevailed in our founding will prevail once again,” writes Heritage President Ed Feulner in his response to Sunday night’s vote.
It is true that the passage of Obamacare opens the doors for the left’s radically progressive agenda. But it can also serve to remind Americans of the courage of our Founders as they fought government tyranny. This is especially important, Heritage scholar Matthew Spalding writes, as we “strive to revive our commitment to liberty and self-government.”
It’s not over yet! And thanks to your support, Heritage is able to continue to fight against Obamacare.
> Other Heritage Work of Note
- While on the road promoting his new book, “Courage and Consequence”, former White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove took time to sit down with The Heritage Foundation’s Rob Bluey to talk about his work in the Bush administration, the current political climate, and the future of conservatism. In the interview, concluded last week before Obamacare passed, Rove shares his shock over the perversion of procedural tactics that Congress has used to push through the healthcare legislation.
Rove went on discuss Bush’s Medicare drug benefit, the Tea Party movement, and Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, about which he said, “It is conservative legislation. It says states are in charge. If you get federal money, a state has to have standards.” Rove also offered advice to conservatives about how we target our message: “We have to remember our target: It’s not our fellow conservatives. Our object here is to say things and make the case to people whose ears and eyes are open, but who don’t necessarily view themselves as conservatives.”
- In spite of all of the evidence that the recently passed healthcare bill will decrease investment and eventually lead to rationing of care, the federal government seems to have overlooked a more imminent problem, says Heritage’s Jim Talent: we do not have the money to pay for this new entitlement program. Even if liberals were to re-institute the largest tax increase in U.S. history, which took place in 1993, “it would produce $71 billion annually in additional revenue — enough to fund the government’s current borrowing for just ten days.”
- In a classic example of politicians determined not to learn from past mistakes, several members of Congress and President Obama have endorsed the creation of a federal infrastructure bank to invest in highways and transit. However, the title “bank” is a bit of a misnomer, says Heritage fellow Ronald Utt. The institution would simply provide grants and subsidies without generating any revenue through interest, very much like the failed financial institution Freddie Mac. Instead of creating a behemoth like this, Utt proposes, “Congress should instead develop legislation to create a real infrastructure bank whose assets match liabilities.”
- Just when we thought President Obama couldn’t possibly make one more bad decision, he decided to finish the week off by nominating a radically liberal judge for the federal Ninth Circuit court, explains Heritage’s Deborah O’Malley. Goodwin Liu, a dean at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall Law School, is unabashedly outspoken about his opposition of the death penalty, his support for wealth distribution, and his view of the Constitution as largely irrelevant. But this might not be the last stop for Liu, says O’Malley. “Many pundits are speculating that the Ninth Circuit may be Liu’s stepping stone to the Supreme Court.”
- Despite very real threats from Iran and other enemies, President Obama has refused to fully modernize our nuclear capabilities and build our defenses. Instead, the administration pursues an idealistic “road to zero” strategy, calling for nations, including our own, to surrender their nuclear ambitions and scrap missile defenses. But in a recent article for the Washington Examiner, Heritage national security expert James Carafano argues that “the continuing erosion of a credible deterrent force will only invite aggression.” We have both the capability to deter threats of attacks and the ability to stop an attack. Yet we’ve chosen neither option, and the consequences can prove fatal.