"What Just Happened?"
Yes, but in this case, honest reporting of liabilities takes a back seat to promulgating The Narrative: that spending trillions of dollars and putting the government in charge of health care will make the delivery of health care cheaper and more efficient. Does anyone -- anyone -- believe that? Does Henry Waxman?
Ah, what a tangled web we weave / When first we practice to deceive! Would that Sir Walter were with us today. Now companies are wedged between the rock of disclosure requirements and the politically correct requirement to get on board with The Narrative. It's what McCarthy calls the "whipsaw" effect.
If we are now under a system where disclosure gets you a public whipping and other threats by the Powers That Be while nondisclosure promises the ruinous expenses of defending against criminal investigations and civil enforcement, this is no longer anything but a thugocracy.
Americans are entering upon untrodden ground here. What just happened? Everyday, it seems, brings some new enormity. ObamaCare is a bludgeon with which Obama beats down capitalist instincts. Spreading the wealth around requires that he spread the pain around, too. Suddenly, anyone with a job is "rich." Taxes must rise. Regulation must become more onerous. Individual initiative must be stifled. Everything must be more complicated, more subject to oversight by the only part of the economy that's booming: the public sector, the sector the rest of us pay for with our taxes.
What just happened? It's untrodden ground in this country, but other countries have not been so fortunate. For decades, the Soviet Union labored under similar contradictions. How was the wheat production this year, comrade? The correct answer is "Absolutely splendid!" The true answer is "Disastrous." Hunger, of course, is a counter-revolutionary sentiment, as is dissatisfaction with the paradise your masters are preparing for you. Dissent is now unpatriotic. Criticism is a sign of greediness. What just happened? Something glorious, friends. We've put ourselves deeper into debt which means we are ever so much more prosperous. We are about to see taxes rise enormously, which means we will become enormously richer. We have just passed a bill that will employ 16,000 new IRS agents, which means we will be freer than ever of government intrusion. We have cut our defense budget, obliterated critical programs, therefore we are more secure. What just happened?
F. Scott Fitzgerald once remarked that it is a mark of genius to be able to hold two contradictory ideas in mind simultaneously. If Fitzgerald were right -- "if" as in per impossible -- Obama would be one of the greatest political geniuses we have had to suffer under.
Article printed from Roger’s Rules: http://pjmedia.com/rogerkimball
URL to article: http://pjmedia.com/rogerkimball/2010/3/29/what-just-happened