Jim Angle at Fox News conducted a review of Republican plans to starve ObamaCare to death by defunding it, and found most of John Boehner’s Spartans lining up shoulder-to-shoulder at the Hot Gates. Boehner himself pledged, “We can dent this, kick it, slow it down to make sure it never happens. And trust me, I’m going to make sure this health care bill never, ever, ever is implemented.” I believe that’s the political equivalent of a “triple dog dare” from A Christmas Story.
Angle points out that a billion dollars in funding has already been blocked, with the defeat of the bloated omnibus spending bill Democrats tried to shove through the lame-duck Congress. This clears the way for the full 112th Congress to have a massive saloon brawl over ObamaCare funding when the negligence of the 111th is addressed, and a budget for 2011 is prepared.
Appearing on the Fox News All-Star Panel, columnist Charles Krauthammer confesses himself to be “skeptical” about this defunding strategy, because it would cause “chaos” in the system. In addition to his concern for citizens trapped in this chaos, Dr. Krauthammer worries it would give the Democrats an excuse for its failure – they’ll blame Republican meddling for all of its flaws. He suggested it might be better politics for Republicans to provide the requested resources, and then run against the fully-funded and dysfunctional ObamaCare program in 2012.
It’s unrealistic to suppose Republicans won’t get blamed for ObamaCare’s woes, even if they provide every last penny committed by the legislation. After all, the Democrats got everything they wanted in the $800 billion “stimulus” bill, and they’re still running around and complaining it wasn’t big enough. If the Republicans are foolish enough to cough up the dough now, Democrats will simply prepare a huge “emergency spending proposal” to “fix unanticipated complications” with their failed health-care bill in 2011, then scream bloody murder when Republicans vote against it. A statist party with an unlimited appetite for spending cannot be appeased by giving it money.
Following Krauthammer’s strategy would also enrage the Republican base, which did not send a historic wave of new representatives into the House so they could buy batteries to power Barack Obama’s Christmas presents. The GOP would be selling out the Tea Party’s concerns, for a chance to win debating points with whatever slice of independent voters cares more about fiscal reality than boundless “good intentions”… and that’s assuming other factors have not combined to equal, or outweigh, the fate of health care reform in the minds of voters by then.
Beyond the political considerations, however, lies the moral imperative of responsible Republicans to avoid throwing money into the black hole of a doomed program. ObamaCare is already working to defund itself. For example, Jim Angle’s piece mentions the bipartisan consensus on repealing the ridiculously burdensome requirements for filing 1099 forms for every vendor a business spends over $600 per year with. Health expert Steve Hyde dismisses this provision of ObamaCare by saying it probably creates “15 or 20 thousand new IRS jobs,” but “it doesn’t create a single new doctor job.”
Creating doctor jobs was not the point of this requirement. It was part of the effort to hide ObamaCare’s true cost. It’s supposed to rake in something like $300 billion for the Treasury, by keeping small business expenditures from escaping taxation. That figure was probably bogus all along, but knocking down the 1099 burden would vaporize $300 billion in funding ObamaCare’s designers were counting on.
It would be wrong for Republicans to draw billions from a bankrupt Treasury to fund a program that was sold with fraud, pushed on the American people over their objections, and looks increasingly as if it was designed to fail… if it can be fairly called a “design” at all, after its already twisted body has been further deformed by backroom deals and waivers. The unconstitutionality of the individual health care mandate may well unravel the whole thing anyway. To return to those car metaphors everyone in politics is so fond of, funding ObamaCare is like pouring gasoline into the tank of an old beater that’s already on fire.