Thursday, April 1, 2010

Would the Founders Love ObamaCare?

A right-wing columnist at the Journal, Daniel Henninger, had the temerity to use that headline in his screed. In his usual way, he bashes lefties, Obama and every President in the last century (he does not exclude Reagan).

The left-wing critics are right: The rage is not about health care. They are also right that similar complaints about big government were heard during the New Deal and the Great Society, and the sky didn't fall. But what if this time the sky is falling—on them. What if after more than a century of growth in the national government, starting with the Progressive Era, the American people are starting to push back. Not just the tea partiers or the 13 state attorneys general seeking protection under the 10th Amendment and the Commerce Clause. But something bigger than that. 

The rage is a tempest in a teapot that Republicans are trying to ride, to control, and to use as a substitute for a party platform that includes more than the word NO. Fringe and marginal people are organizing themselves into mobs and rabble that hold signs equating the President with Hitler, scream Socialism, dress up as Colinials in a Hollywood depiction of 1776, and have the temerity to hold flags that say Don't tread on me. These yahoos can manage to equate themselves with Colonials rebelling against taxation without representation. They are disaffected, lost, clueless, and otherwise idiotic. And Henninger throws in his two cents worth of lunacy.

Who are the American people that he so shamelessly assumes he can quote? Ten percent of the population? Twenty five? What about the rest of us?

Amendment 10 - Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The Attorneys General who sued the federal government are, save one, all Republicans. All of them would love to get enough publicity to ride a wave of popularity to higher office.

The American people can and do change the nation's collective mind on the ordering of our political system. The civil rights years of the 1960s is the most well-known modern example. (The idea that resistance to Mr. Obama's health plan is rooted in racist resentment of equal rights is beyond the pale, even by current standards of political punditry.)

 He uses the civil rights struggle to legitimize his extremism, shamelessly. He is completely wrong. That struggle was fought by individuals banded together in a movement to end overt racism, legitimate and legal discrimination, and a century of racial animus sanctified by law. His tea parties are not close to being in the same league.

Faced with corporate writedowns in response to the reality of Congress's new health plan, an apoplectic Congressman Henry Waxman commanded his economic vassals to appear before him in Washington.

 These corporate writedowns priovided Henninger and his crowd of prevaricators and liers an opportunity to again twist fatcs for their own purpose. A story has some of the details:  The legislation prevents companies from deducting tax-free subsidies they receive from the government for providing prescription-drug benefits to retirees. The charges are noncash, meaning companies won't have to write a check, but ultimately their tax bills will be higher without a change in tax treatment of the drug-benefit subsidy, assuming their benefits don't change. The health-care overhaul doesn't eliminate the subsidy, but starting in 2013, companies can no longer deduct the part of the benefit that is paid for by the subsidies.

A non-cash charge, or an acounting entry, is all. And what is being changed is: companies were given a subsidy, and allowed to deduct that subsidy from their taxes. That was unfair, and is being ended.

Faced with a challenge to his vision last week, President Obama laughingly replied to these people: "Go for it." They will. As to the condescension and sniffing left-wing elitism this opposition seems to bring forth from Manhattan media castles, one must say it does recall another, earlier ancien regime. 

 Wonder if the Manhattan media castles he sniffes against include News Corp's?

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