While the glitches and sign-up problems of Obamacare may soon ameliorate, the program’s damage and unpopularity won’t go away soon.
All the president’s promises will stay broken: health-care premiums will go up, not down. Young people, who can least afford a new burden, will have to be taxed to pay for others and so resist. The deficit will not be helped. Obamacare more likely will make it go up. Premiums will climb. Existing plans will be altered. Doctors will be less, not more accessible. Businesses will not enjoy a new competitiveness. Exemptions for administration pets will continue. Again, the wealthy will find ways to navigate around Obamacare, and the middle class will pick up the tab in higher costs and worse care.
In short, over 300 million people are going to find their health care analogous to a DMV visit. The logic of Obamacare was always redistributionist; those who had health care were obligated to give up some of it so that others might share the same benefits, regardless of the circumstances, fair or unfair, under which such differences first arose. Washington has decided that, with more money and employees, it can decide who has too fine a health care policy and who too little insurance, and then make the necessary redistributive adjustments.
The shutdown may have temporarily sidetracked the Republicans, yet Obamacare threatens much worse for the Democrats. By 2014 the former will be ancient history, while the latter will be an ongoing mess.
All the old liberal pretexts for the debt are now questionable. Foreign wars are over in Iraq and about over in Afghanistan. Sequestration already made radical cuts in spending. New taxes on the top brackets were passed. The economy is supposedly recovering, bringing in new revenue.
Why, then, are we still borrowing $700 billion annually?
Obama will probably not get GDP growth up to 4-5%. He won’t be able to raise taxes again, above the new 39% rate, on “fat cats.” There are no more wars to blame for the borrowing. Instead, he faces always higher entitlement costs, Obamacare, and possible hikes in interest rates. This paradox has no answer other than spectacular economic growth, the repeal of Obamacare, an extension of the private-energy revolution onto federal lands, and vast cuts in entitlements. I don’t see any of that happening in the next three years, and so the deficits will continue to hover between $600 billion and $1 trillion per year. “Bush did it” will not excuse a president who in eight years borrowed more than did all previous presidents put together.
“Comprehensive” Immigration Reform
Ramming through amnesty will be an Obamacare-like disaster. With even cursory scrutiny, the public will learn that the effort is far more than giving “dreamers” who played by the rules a fair shot. Instead, “legal” immigration-reform proposals will still inordinately favor family and ethnic considerations and proximity to the border, not racially blind educational and skill-set criteria. The public still does not trust government claims about border security. The pathway to citizenship provisions will still extend green cards to those with criminal records, including DUIs, and past residence on public assistance.
In short, the bill is not about giving the Korean engineer a chance to become a legal skilled employee, or allowing the Romanian doctor to practice without fear of deportation.
It is not about giving the Mexican national, who is a National Merit Scholar, a chance to attend MIT without worry of deportation. At least not entirely.
Instead the bill is politically and ethnically chauvinistic. Indeed, comprehensive immigration reform is the most illiberal legislation in a generation: it favors Latin American nationals over others entirely on the basis that they have already broken federal immigration laws, are residing here illegally, and share the same ethnic background as their leaders in the Democratic Party.