Feeling the pain and assigning the blame
Rather than bail out Obamacare, Republicans must prepare their alternative
When Bill Clinton jumps off the bus over embarrassing prevarications, you know it’s getting serious. The former president’s rebuke last week of President Obama for repeatedly lying to Americans that they could keep their health insurance policies under Obamacare shows that the Comeback Kid still has an acute ability to feel our pain. Also, that he’s prepared to throw anyone under the bus in order to get back into the White House behind Hillary’s skirt.
There is rich irony in a sitting president being lectured for his lies by a predecessor known mainly for cheating on his wife and pondering aloud the meaning of the word “is.”
It was enough to prod the current White House occupant to admit Thursday that he “fumbled” the rollout and might not have been as well informed about his plan as he would have liked. Someone should have told him that he was lying.
The most striking part of his news conference, however, was the announcement that he was unilaterally suspending enough of the plan so that people could keep their current (or just canceled) insurance policies for another year. Really? We are once again a free people, able to contract our own coverage? But only for another year?
How did we get to the point where one man has this kind of dictatorial power over his fellow Americans? The Constitution’s Article II, Section 2 requires the president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” — not just the ones he likes at any given moment. This president not only ignores laws, but makes them up as he goes along, since “we can’t wait” for Congress to act.
He cannot legally ignore enforcing the insurance aspect of Obamacare any more than he can suspend the employer mandate without congressional approval. Yet, he has done both with impunity.
For their part, certain clueless Republicans are trying to save the American people from the Democrats’ folly by offering a legislative fix behind which frightened Democrats could hide. The prospect of changing the GOP’s status from perennial, gracious losers to a party holding four aces might just be too daunting.
As Obamacare implodes, all sorts of people are scrambling for safety. It isn’t just the six Democratic senators who voted for Obamacare and are up for re-election in 2014 in states that Mitt Romney carried. It’s California’s Dianne Feinstein, who isn’t up until 2018, but is getting an earful from the more than 1 million Californians who have seen their health insurance policies disappear.
If I were a paid Republican adviser — and you know I’m not because I’m not collecting millions of dollars for showing them new ways to lose by “moving toward the center” — I would advise them to do two things.
First, get out of the way. You have no fingerprints on this. Not a single Republican in either house voted for Obamacare, someone for not getting something that isn’t available. That’s exactly what the government does with cellulosic ethanol.
Since there is none commercially available, Congress lavished $1.5 billion at companies willing to try to develop it. Several tried; all failed.
Cello Energy Corp. of Alabama, for example, was supposed to produce 70 million gallons, but the company went bankrupt in 2010 without producing a drop. At least Solyndra was actually making solar panels.
In 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reduced its cellulosic ethanol target from 250 million gallons to 6.6 million, and later reduced its 2012 goal from 500 million gallons to 8.6 million — a reduction of more than 98 percent.
It didn’t help because there was still no commercial production in 2012.
Nonetheless, just because there was no cellulosic ethanol for oil refiners to mix with gasoline didn’t stop the EPA from fining them $8 million for not doing so.
Aren’t you glad the Obama administration doesn’t use that kind of logic with respect to buying health insurance? Oh, wait ... . The refining industry filed suit against the EPA to stop the penalty, and last January a federal judge agreed.
There’s more. The government keeps raising the amount of renewable fuel to be used each year, even though U.S. gasoline consumption has been flat. The only way to achieve that goal is to put more ethanol in each gallon of gas, so the EPA has proposed raising the “blend wall” from 10 percent ethanol in our gasoline to 15 percent.
Car manufacturers, though, are complaining that “E15” is too rich for older car engines and could ruin them, which the government seems to deny.
Last week, the Obama administration relented on both health care and ethanol. On Thursday, the president postponed the insurance mandate for a year. On Friday, the EPA proposed its first-ever cut in the ethanol requirement, from the mandated 18 billion gallons to about 15 billion, and to keep the cellulosic biofuel requirement between 8 million and 30 million gallons. Of course, both are only temporary fixes.
If all of this sounds a lot like the government’s effort to impose Obamacare, that’s because it is. Some politicians and bureaucrats have a vision they want to impose on the rest of us — for our own good. Just because their system is impractical, costly and doesn’t work — or may even cause us harm — is not a sufficient reason from them not to impose that vision, and penalize us if we don’t submit.