While Cruz and the Baggers belt out their out-of-tune cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “No Surrender,” rightie pundits are rehearsing Alice Cooper’s “Welcome to My Nightmare.” But they can’t get the words right.
I give you the increasingly incoherent George Will, who simultaneously believes that Republicans must press their advantage by giving “Democrats a ruinous opportunity to insist upon unpopular things,” like the individual mandate, while at the same time admitting the American people might like Obamacare once it’s started.
It is two minutes until midnight. On Jan. 1, the ACAâ€™s insurance subsidies begin, like a heroin drip, making Americans instant addicts. The Obama administration knows that no major entitlement, once tasted, has been repealed.
Even so, Will proposes that Obamacare could collapse of its own weight. “If the ACA is, as conservatives believe, as unpleasant in potential effects as it is impossible to implement, conservatives should allow what Lincoln called â€œthe silent artillery of timeâ€ to destroy it.”
The government should not be closed; the debt ceiling will be raised. Republicans should, however, take to heart the last words of H.L. Menckenâ€™s summation of Theodore Roosevelt: â€œWell, one does what one can.â€ Republicans can give Democrats a ruinous opportunity to insist upon unpopular things. House Republicans can attach to the continuing resolution that funds the government, and then to the increase in the debt ceiling, two provisions: Preservation of the ACA requirement â€” lawlessly disregarded by the administration â€” that members of Congress and their staffs must experience the full enjoyment of the ACA without special, ameliorating subsidies. And a one-year delay of the ACAâ€™s individual mandate.
By vetoing legislation because of these provisions, and by having his vetoes sustained by congressional Democrats, Obama will underscore Democratsâ€™ devotion: Devotion to self-dealing by the political class, and to the principle that only powerful interests (businesses), not mere citizens, can delay the privilege of complying with the ACA.
Arithmetic, not moral failings, makes Republicans unable to overturn Obamaâ€™s vetoes. So after scoring some points, Republicans should vote, more in sorrow than in anger, to fund the government (at sequester levels, a significant victory) and to increase the debt ceiling. Having forced Democrats to dramatize their perverse priorities, Republicans can turn to completing the neutering of this presidency by winning six Senate seats.
First, what is it about right-wingers and their love for florid prose? Do they think that if they crank out rhetoric that smells like a florist’s hothouse we won’t notice their ideas stink?
Second, the business about Congress and their staff being either exempt from Obamacare or the recipients of special subsidies because of Obamacare is false. It’s a figment of wingnut imagination. And there is no way in hell the individual mandate will be delayed, but I think once Obamacare kicks in most people will be OK with it. I think a lot of people still don’t understand that if they get insurance through their employer or Medicare, nothing will change. When January 1 rolls around and the sky does not fall, a whole lot of air will be sucked out of the Obamacare “crisis.”
As for the exchanges, Jonathan Chait writes,
The Obama administration today released the final numbers on the premiums in the state health exchanges. This is the single most important piece of data we have to gauge the plausibility of the exchanges, which are the crucial mechanism of Obamacare. The premiums are not spin, they are the collective judgment of the marketplace. The conservative judgment of Obamacare has been a ceaseless litany of doom â€” rate shock, fumbling bureaucracy, unreasonable regulations. If that indictment were true, insurers would be charging higher rates than the administration initially forecast. Instead, the premiums are clearly lower than forecast â€” 94 percent of customers in the exchanges will have the chance to pay below-forecast premiums.
Of course, at Forbes Avik Roy is still cranking out scarey headlines like “Double Down: Obamacare Will Increase Avg. Individual-Market Insurance Premiums By 99% For Men, 62% For Women,” but Roy has gotten so ridiculous lately even Ezra Klein is just ignoring him. As has been pointed out, Roy reaches his conclusions by comparing the lowball introductory prices of really awful, not-even-bare-bones plans offered only to young healthy people in unregulated states to the cost of full-feature insurance offered on the exchanges for those same young people, without factoring in subsidies.
Now, let’s go to Wall Street Journal, where Daniel Henninger says “Let Obamacare Collapse.”
As its Oct. 1 implementation date arrives, ObamaCare is the biggest bet that American liberalism has made in 80 years on its foundational beliefs. This thing called “ObamaCare” carries on its back all the justifications, hopes and dreams of the entitlement state. The chance is at hand to let its political underpinnings collapse, perhaps permanently.
If ObamaCare fails, or seriously falters, the entitlement state will suffer a historic loss of credibility with the American people. It will finally be vulnerable to challenge and fundamental change. But no mere congressional vote can achieve that. Only the American people can kill ObamaCare.
Himmiger’s hope is that when Obamacare collapses it will take Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid with it, and Americans once and for all will get over the idea that government of the people, by the people, and for the people can respond to the needs of the people.
An established political idea is like a vampire. Facts, opinions, votes, garlic: Nothing can make it die.
But there is one thing that can kill an established political idea. It will die if the public that embraced it abandons it.
Six months ago, that didn’t seem likely. Now it does.
The public’s dislike of ObamaCare isn’t growing with every new poll for reasons of philosophical attachment to notions of liberty and choice. Fear of ObamaCare is growing because a cascade of news suggests that ObamaCare is an impending catastrophe.
The article is accompanied by a cartoon of the “Four Horsemen of the Democratic Apocalypse” — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare.
Hinniger grudgingly concedes that the public came to support the first three “horsemen,” but he thinks the ACA will be the straw that broke the camel’s back — “The discrediting of the entitlement state begins next Tuesday. Let it happen.”
Yeah, let it happen. If it’s that awful, what are they worried about? Or maybe that’s not what worries them …