Hear ye, hear ye, humble subjects of His Most Benevolent Majesty, King Barack I, Destroyer of Insurance and Slayer of Jobs! By royal decree, it has been proclaimed that the employer mandates of His Majesty’s most glorious achievement – which some of you filthy peasants have been heard sniggering is “the settled law of the land,” in the same tone of voice you might use to describe the S.S. Titanic as “unsinkable” – shall once again be delayed. Let all in the land accept the new dates as chiseled in the hard granite of absolute law… until such time as His Majesty deems it necessary to change them again, of course. His Majesty’s subjects are ordered to rejoice and give copious thanks for their beloved Sun King’s transcendent wisdom and heartfelt compassion! Huzzah!
Perhaps yesterday wasn’t the most opportune time for His Majesty to remark to French president Francois Hollande that “the good thing about being President” is “I can do whatever I want.” He was joking about breaking protocol to look at some scenery, but it’s the kind of badly-timed jest that might stick to him for a while, assuming any of his unworthy subjects still remembers when America was a constitutional republic that revered the rule of law.
Those days are gone forever, and I do mean gone. Barack Obama’s lawlessness, thus far unchecked by anything in the hollowed-out ruins of the other branches of government, is setting a precedent that his successors are sure to follow. Of course, if those successors are Republicans, the media will suddenly wake up and begin howling about abuses of executive power… which is such a good reason for voting Republican that no one who cares about the rule of law should be able to vote Democrat in good conscience for at least a generation to come. If the only functional restraint on dictatorial power is the adversarial media, those who would defend the Republic have no choice but to elect Presidents the media will regard as an adversary.
Otherwise, you get banana-republic tin-pot strongman crap like this, as reported by the Wall Street Journal:
ObamaCare requires businesses with 50 or more workers to offer health insurance to their workers or pay a penalty, but last summer the Treasury offered a year-long delay until 2015 despite having no statutory authorization. Like the individual mandate, the employer decree is central to ObamaCare’s claim of universal coverage, but employers said the new labor costs???and the onerous reporting and tax-enforcement rules???would damage job creation and the economy.
Liberals insisted that such arguments were false if not beneath contempt, but then all of a sudden the White House implicitly endorsed the other side. Now the new delay arrives amid a furious debate about jobs after a damning Congressional Budget Office report last week, only this time with liberals celebrating ObamaCare’s supposed benefits to the job market.
Well, which is it? Either ObamaCare is ushering in a worker’s paradise, in which case by the White House’s own logic exempting businesses from its ministrations is harming employees. Or else the mandate really is leading business to cut back on hiring, hours and shifting workers to part-time as the evidence in the real economy suggests.
Under the new Treasury rule, firms with 50 to 99 full-time workers are free from the mandate until 2016. And firms with 100 or more workers now also only need cover 70% of full-time workers in 2015 and 95% in 2016 and after, not the 100% specified in the law.
The new rule also relaxes the mandate for certain occupations and industries that were at particular risk for disruption, like volunteer firefighters, teachers, adjunct faculty members and seasonal employees. Oh, and the Treasury also notes that, “As these limited transition rules take effect, we will consider whether it is necessary to further extend any of them beyond 2015.” So the law may be suspended indefinitely if the White House feels like it.
The Democrats shut down the government to thwart the kind of delays King Barack I is imposing by executive decree and administrative fiat. If the Republican leadership hadn’t botched the aftermath of the shutdown so badly – falling all over themselves to agree with the Democrat media action line, blame the whole affair on their own Party, and flagellate themselves accordingly – they’d be in a much stronger position to remind the public of that.
I’m old enough to remember when the King and his courtiers claimed that a single day of delay in any part of his magnificent, brilliantly engineered, perfectly planned and executed health care takeover would kill people. Now he just waves off whichever parts of this disastrous law are likely to inflict the most damage on his Party during the next election, confident that no one will ask any tough questions about whether he has the power to do so… and even more confident his Republican opponents are unlikely to insist on fidelity to these job-smashing, possibly recession-inducing mandates, because (a) they have been absolutely correct in predicting the deleterious effect on the U.S. economy, which unlike Obama they really do care about, and (b) they don’t want to be seen as responsible for inflicting that pain, while the author of the destructive mandates skips away scot-free.
It’s hard to overstate the political damage that would accrue to Democrats if these mandates were not waived by royal decree. You know how their ludicrous “unemployment is good” spin of the latest Congressional Budget Office projection includes a load of sniveling about how the 2.5 million jobs to be lost will be due to people not seeking work, rather than current employees being summarily dismissed? That’s because the CBO said it didn’t have enough data to model outright job kills, because the employer mandate was delayed. King Barack’s new rewrite of the employer mandates is herding off an atomic-bomb CBO projection that would have rocked the 2016 election, delaying wholesale job slaughter until the projection that will be printed after the votes have been cast. His previous delay kept this year’s report, which gave the Democrat Party a heart attack, from including the kind of economic devastation that would have reduced imperiled Democrats to tears on the 2014 campaign trail.
This is all politics. Everything in America must be sacrificed for the greater good of the Democrat Party; we are now a nation that exists entirely to service their electoral ambitions. They’ll destroy any number of lives, proclaiming their victims to be irrelevant “anecdotes” as they search for a few Potemkin-village “success stories” to show the media. They care nothing for the laws and history of the United States; they’ve always been sweet on the idea of a benevolent dictator anyway, provided he has the proper Party credentials. Winning one presidential election every four years is so much easier than maintaining the congressional strength required to inflict radical change on the American people.
Just a few weeks ago, Moody’s Investor Service downgraded the financial outlook for the health insurance industry to “negative,” citing as a primary factor the instability caused by these constant illegal revisions to ObamaCare. Moody’s is a visionary today, and the other credit agencies look like fools for hesitating to follow suit and downgrade the industry. The explicit statement in these new rules that they could be revised again, without proper legislative procedure or even fair warning, isn’t going to do much to enhance “stability.”
It remains to be seen how many headaches this latest move will cause for those nervous Democrats who must face the voters this year. Defending the hot mess of ObamaCare just got a lot harder. But maybe that tells us something about the scale of the devastation Obama’s badly-written non-law was about to inflict. The Party obviously thinks it will be easier to defend the latest royal decrees than the disaster that would have occurred in their absence.
What was the point of ObamaCare again? What was its core rationale? Wasn’t this takeover supposed to be justified by the superior intelligence and management skills of central planners over private individuals and corporations? Not only is Affordable Care Act not a “law,” it’s not even a plan. It’s a running series of improvisations driven by poll numbers and the electoral fortunes of the corrupt Democrat Party. Those who tend to fall for their phony posturing as Champions of the Little Guy should note that it’s the employer mandate they keep tinkering with on a grand scale. They made a number of hasty, and equally illegal, adjustments to the individual mandate deadlines after the unholy disaster of the Healthcare.gov launch, but these were matters of days and weeks; the individual mandate remains in effect, so you Little Guys will be paying stiff trans-constitutional tax/penalties if you don’t buy the overpriced insurance your employer is no longer required to provide. You don’t get a break.
That’s because the Democrats desperately need their threadbare “technocrat” costumes to limp through the next few elections. You sure didn’t hear any of that “unemployment is good” nonsense coming from Obama’s mouth during the 2012 election, did you? No, he absurdly postured as a job creator, a master of industry, a man with a plan for growth. He wasn’t boasting about how more people would be able to quit their jobs and live at the expense of the remaining taxpayers. He’d have carried maybe five states if he’d been honest about anything that has transpired since his re-election. America still has enough self-respect – maybe just barely enough – to insist that its political leaders pretend to care about opportunity, freedom, law, and general prosperity. Those four things are inextricably linked. The Obama era is a long, painful lesson in how opportunity, freedom, and prosperity quickly follow when law is thrown off the national stage.
Update: These employer mandates were slipped past the Supreme Court by declaring them taxes. (In another sign of the degeneration of American law, it was Supreme Court Justice John Roberts who made that declaration on behalf of the Administration, in order to save a program he should have struck down. Roberts’ dereliction of duty is costing the American people dearly.)
So the executive branch now has the power to unilaterally suspend taxes for people and companies it favors? Awesome. Won’t it be fun watching Democrats and the media scramble to take that power back after the next Republican president is sworn in? They’ll be reduced to claiming it was a power the Constitution only granted to one person, Barack Hussein Obama, whose coming the Founders somehow foretold. Or maybe they’ll claim it’s a power that could only be exercised on behalf of one specific law, the Affordable Care Act, whose passage the Founders anticipated as the end of a Constitution they only meant to last for maybe 200 years, tops.
Update: I see I’m not the only one who finds these new lawless decrees to be the stuff of which banana republics are made. I like Dr. Krauthammer’s description of the Affordable Care Act as a blackboard upon which Obama writes whatever he pleases on any given day.