[This is the submitted form of my regular Union column which was published in the newspaper’s 14jul12 print and online editions.]
Every morning we wake up to reports of yet more of Europe’s countries foundering on socialist shoals. Hollande, France’s new president, got into office by promising self-levitating growth, something he has no idea about how to accomplish beyond raising taxes and unfunded spending. And a few weeks after his election the stark reality is that France will already break its pledge to reduce deficits, and enter a new cycle of accelerating debt.
Readers may recall that France, along with Germany, were the main economic bulwarks against the falling dominoes of the European Union. Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Belgium, …, all of them are being taken down by the unserviceable debts run up by the their socialist programs of wealth redistribution. They are now running out of wealth to redistribute, and the printing press beckons.
In America, our Washington progressives have long taught their acolytes that Europe and its profligate social policies are the answer to our own economic problems. But our problem is that we already redistribute so much wealth so poorly that our government borrows and encumbers our children with 40 cents of debt for every dollar it spends today. And the only solution being applied is more lies about spending and tax increases.
The biggest lie came wrapped in Obamacare (aka the cynically named Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, PPACA). Obamacare itself was forged secretly and passed in the dark of night by Democrats who had not read the bill. Their leaders’ response to the national protest was that Obamacare would reveal the power and glory of socializing healthcare after the bill became law. In a statement inaugurating Congress’ new and fundamentally transformed process of legislation, House Speaker Pelosi informed us that it was only after passage that we would find out all the new stuff that had been written into it.
Then came the endless litany of newly discovered taxes and fees that Obamacare would impose in the futile attempt to slow the country’s descent into fiscal ruin. The highlight of these revelations exploded in Chief Justice Roberts’ ruling that Obamacare’s individual mandate was not the touted ‘penalty’ for refusing health insurance, but was instead a tax. His unprecedented judicial rewriting of the law to make it constitutional opens up whole new avenues for government to tax us into any behavior that they think proper.
Team Obama immediately thanked the Supreme Court for ruling the law constitutional, and just as quickly denied the basis for the ruling – again calling the individual mandate a penalty and not a tax. Half the voters have no idea what is going on with Obamacare. They only hear the daily lies from the administration because SCOTUS traditionally remains silent after its rulings.
But the biggest piece of unexploded ordnance yet to be uncovered in Obamacare is the Independent Payment Advisory Board. This is the unelected panel of up to fifteen experts with enormous extra- and unconstitutional powers to tax and legislate. IPAB will not only call the shots on how Health and Human Services must implement Obamacare, in who gets what services when, but also how and where (including transfers from Medicare) the program will get its needed funds.
IPAB is truly the agency from hell, because after 2019 its existence and vast powers are out Congress’ hands. The law unconstitutionally encumbers future Congresses to have essentially no power to rein it in. In the meantime, IPAB’s proposals can be overturned only with supermajorities in both houses and the President’s signature.
For a full discussion of this initiative to cancel American democracy, I urge you to read the Cato Institute’s ‘The Independent Advisory Board – PPACA’s Anti-Constitutional and Authoritarian Super-Legislature.’ (Policy Analysis #700, June 14, 2012) Pelosi had no idea how prescient she was.
“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes,” Exit question – who said that on September 12, 2008.
George Rebane is an entrepreneur and a retired systems scientist in Nevada County who regularly expands these and other themes on KVMR and Rebane’s Ruminations (www.georgerebane.com).