Obamacare: It’s not over yet

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.

» The Heritage Foundation is fighting to repeal Obamacare. Watch Ed Feulner’s video message.

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 It must be repealed.”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.

Max Baucus on Obamacare’s hidden agenda – redistribution of wealth

Thursday, March 25, 2010
Posted by: Hugh Hewitt at 5:08 PM

Max Baucus is the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and the Democrat most responsible fo Obamacare’s final shape other than Nancy Pelosi.

In an unusual speech on the Senate floor moments ago, Max Baucus declares that the “healthcare bill” to be  “an income shift, it is a shift, a leveling to help lower income middle income Americans.”  Baucus continued, “[t]oo often, much of late, the last couple three years the mal-distribution of income in America is gone up way too much, the wealthy are getting way, way too wealthy, and the middle income class is left behind.  Wages have not kept up with increased income of the highest income in America.  This legislation will have the effect of addressing that mal-distribution of income in America.”

Max Baucus on Obamacare’s hidden agenda – redistribution of wealth
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY4Qbv7gPbo&feature=player_embedded

Baucus’ candor is appreciated, though the fact that he waited until the bill passed to announce the real agenda behind the massive tax hikes isn’t a profile in courage.  And the seniors on fixed income who are about to lose Medicare Advantage would laugh at Baucus’ pseudo-populism.

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What is Really in the Health Care Bill?

What is Really in the Health Care Bill?

March 22nd, 2010

Well, I have done it! I have read the entire text of proposed House Bill 3200: The Affordable Health Care Choices Act of 2009. I studied it with particular emphasis from my area of expertise, constitutional law. I was frankly concerned that parts of the proposed law that were being discussed might be unconstitutional. What I found was far worse than what I had heard or expected.

To begin with, much of what has been said about the law and its implications is in fact true, despite what the Democrats and the media are saying. The law does provide for rationing of health care, particularly where senior citizens and other classes of citizens are involved, free health care for illegal immigrants, free abortion services, and probably forced participation in abortions by members of the medical profession.

The Bill will also eventually force private insurance companies out of business and put everyone into a government run system. All decisions about personal health care will ultimately be made by federal bureaucrats and most of them will not be health care professionals. Hospital admissions, payments to physicians, and allocations of necessary medical devices will be strictly controlled.

However, as scary as all of that is, it just scratches the surface. In fact, I have concluded that this legislation really has no intention of providing affordable health care choices. Instead it is a convenient cover for the most massive transfer of power to the Executive Branch of government that has ever occurred, or even been contemplated. If this law or a similar one is adopted, major portions of the Constitution of the United States will effectively have been destroyed.

The first thing to go will be the masterfully crafted balance of power between the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of the U.S. Government. The Congress will be transferring to the Obama Administration authority in a number of different areas over the lives of the American people and the businesses they own. The irony is that the Congress doesn’t have any authority to legislate in most of those areas to begin with. I defy anyone to read the text of the U.S. Constitution and find any authority granted to the members of Congress to regulate health care.

This legislation also provides for access by the appointees of the Obama administration of all of your personal healthcare information, your personal financial information, and the information of your employer, physician, and hospital. All of this is a direct violation of the specific provisions of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution protecting against unreasonable searches and seizures. You can also forget about the right to privacy. That will have been legislated into oblivion regardless of what the 3rd and 4th Amendments may provide.

If you decide not to have healthcare insurance or if you have private insurance that is not deemed “acceptable” to the “Health Choices Administrator” appointed by Obama there will be a tax imposed on you. It is called a “tax” instead of a fine because of the intent to avoid application of the due process clause of the 5th Amendment. However, that doesn’t work because since there is nothing in the law that allows you to contest or appeal the imposition of the tax, it is definitely depriving someone of property without the �due process of law.

So, there are three of those pesky amendments that the far left hate so much out the original ten in the Bill of Rights that are effectively nullified by this law. It doesn’t stop there though. The 9th Amendment that provides: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people;” The 10th Amendment states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are preserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Under the provisions of this piece of Congressional handiwork neither the people nor the states are going to have any rights or powers at all in many areas that once were theirs to control.

I could write many more pages about this legislation, but I think you get the idea. This is not about health care; it is about seizing power and limiting rights. Article 6 of the Constitution requires the members of both houses of Congress to ‘be bound by oath or affirmation’ to support the Constitution. If I was a member of Congress I would not be able to vote for this legislation or anything like it without feeling I was violating that sacred oath or affirmation. If I voted for it anyway I would hope the American people would hold me accountable.

For those who might doubt the nature of this threat I suggest they consult the source. Here is a link to the Constitution:

And another to the Bill of Rights:

Obama-Pelosi-Reid Is Picture Markets Won’t Like: Amity Shlaes

Obama-Pelosi-Reid Is Picture Markets Won’t Like: Amity Shlaes

Commentary by Amity Shlaes

 

Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) — Obama, OK. Obama-Pelosi-Reid? A nightmare for markets. McCain-Pelosi-Reid? OK. McCain and Republican majorities in both House and Senate? Another nightmare.

That at least is the analysis of Eric Singer of Congressional Effect Fund, a new mutual fund. As noted in an earlier column, Singer got into the index business after he found that the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index performs two or three times better when Congress is out of session than when at least one of the two chambers is at work.

That difference, Singer discovered, wasn’t because of political party — a laboring Republican Congress was also problematic. The poor performance, rather, reflects market anxiety that the House and Senate generate when they pass a new regulation or revise laws already on the books. Simple congressional workday chatter about possible changes is also negative, according to the Singer data.

“Even talk is not cheap,” he says.

This past August, with Congress safely on holiday, markets were still weird. That set Singer to wondering anew.

He noted that there were years, such as 1998, in the middle of Congress’s Republican reassertion, when markets did great even when lawmakers were at their posts.

Combing his data back to 1965, Singer found a second trend. A split Washington, in which at least one of the two chambers is led by a party other than the president’s, points to a better total return for the S&P 500 than a unified Washington in which the presidency, House and Senate are controlled by one party.

Clinton Constrained

Having Democrat Bill Clinton in the White House in 1998 constrained congressional Republicans, or the other way around.

Singer found that the average annual total return for the S&P 500 when Washington is a one-party town is 9.4 percent. The average performance for the index when Washington is split is 10.6 percent.

The distinction becomes clearer when you adjust for inflation. Singer used the annual average of the daily gold price as a deflator rather than a year-over-year number because he wanted to screen for the volatility of commodities. Singer found that in periods of a unified Washington, the S&P 500 averages real losses of 7.8 percent. A split Washington, by contrast, racks up a real gain averaging 8.7 percent. That 16- plus point spread is the quantification of the peril of a powerful Washington.

These numbers also suggest that inflation tends to be worse in unified years. This makes sense — when Washington is mightier, one fashion in which it uses its power is minting money, consequences be damned. A Federal Reserve chairman who must report to only one party, instead of two, has fewer rounds to make when he seeks support for the Fed’s actions.

Drama Days

The Singer method also captures the drama of 1980. Washington was all Democratic, though it was clear even in the spring that Ronald Reagan might win the presidency.

The market reacted by rising in anticipation of a change. The price of gold reacted by falling late in the year. One might argue that this reflected the market’s faith that Reagan would spend less than President Jimmy Carter. But the change in gold prices may also have been the result of political division within the Democratic Party.

The new Fed chairman, Paul Volcker — a Democrat who today is advising Senator Barack Obama in the race for president against John McCain — started applying the brakes at the Fed. By exercising monetary restraint, a trait identified at the time with the Republican Party, Volcker — with backing from Carter – – provided a counterweight to free spenders of either party.

Hurting Returns

An all-Republican Washington can hurt real total returns, too. In 2005, the S&P gain of 4.9 percent was more than erased by the 8.5 percent increase in the price of gold. In 2006, gold was up about 36 percent but the S&P climbed only 16 percent, a net 20 percent loss.

The scholars who look at this sort of thing all have slightly different takes on it. Some quibble, for example, with Singer’s choice of gold as a measure of inflation. But recent events confirm the validity of the gold meter. The consumer price index shows an increase of only 2.5 percent between December 2005 and December 2006 — quite a contrast with that 36 percent increase in gold for the year. Today’s markets suggest that gold did a better job than the CPI of predicting bubbles.

In Singer’s data we see early discounting for this year’s stock price collapse.

It’s been said of numbers that if you torture them enough they will admit to anything. This year Congress and the White House were held by different parties, and we still managed to have our historic crash.

Getting Ready

Markets, which don’t care whose campaign they ruin, may also be bracing for an all-Democratic Washington. Consumers may also be spending less not only because of the market turmoil but also because they believe a government dominated by Democrats may, in the future, allow them to keep less of their earnings.

This would fit in with the late Milton Friedman‘s permanent-income hypothesis. Singer is now studying market performance when a single party holds not only the White House and Congress, but also a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. With each passing day that, too, looks like a number worth crunching.

(Amity Shlaes, a senior fellow in economic history at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of “The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression,” is a Bloomberg News columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.)

To contact the writer of this column: Amity Shlaes at ashlaes@bloomberg.net