While at least it didn't come to the "deemed passed" option that would have been toxic, the Senate version of the Health Care Reform bill was passed in the House, and I can't imagine that President Obama will delay signing it into law.
At least 10 States have announced their intent to sue, as they see this bill as a tax on existence - requiring all to acquire health care just be existing - which is not permitted under the Constitution.
Now, we know that the Health Care Reform Act will generate new taxes:
High-income investors would pay higher Medicare taxes, tax breaks for out-of-pocket medical deductions would be curtailed, and it would cost insurance companies more to pay executives millions of dollars. Those levies will help fund expansion of Medicaid services for the poor and subsidize health insurance to cover millions who don't currently have benefits.
Raising taxes in the middle of a recession is always such a good idea.*
While I'm not saying (yet) that there is a causal relationship, consider this: the Bond market thinks it's less of a risk to lend to Warren Buffet than it is to lend to the United States Government.
You know what?
While Treasuries backed by the full faith and credit of the government typically yield less than corporate debt, the relationship has flipped as Moody's Investors Service predicts the U.S. will spend more on debt service as a percentage of revenue this year than any other top-rated country except the U.K. America will use about 7 percent of taxes for debt payments in 2010 and almost 11 percent in 2013, moving "substantially" closer to losing its AAA rating, Moody's said last week.
The Obama Administration is doing absolutely nothing to change this. Nothing, zilch, nada. There's a reason why.
Now, I've stated this here time and time again: the Obama Administration is driven by Chicago politics, which is specialized in dividing an electorate, driving polities apart by race and ethnic origin, in order to control them better, via either elected or appointed (well, actually, in a Chicago election, there is little or no difference...) representatives. The mayor dangles money in front of these representatives and ethnic groups to get them to compete against each other, effectively preventing any uniting of opposition; it is patronage politics at its very worst. Corruption is, as a result, endemic and highly profitable.
To be fair to the citizens of Chicago, this isn't so much about Chicago, but rather of urbanization and a fairly apolitical electorate who simply wants to be left alone to realize their own dreams and who will support those politicians who make these dreams realizable: hence a highly corrupt government will be accepted as a necessary evil if that government also rezones land for inexpensive housing for blue-collar workers (and which supports gentrification for the benefit of the wealthy).
Above all, it is important to get these specific population groups dependent on public money, get them attached to the patronage system. Everything is paid for by the taxpayer, either explicitly in the form of a bloated, inefficient and yet highly paid bureaucracy, plus overpriced goods and services that form the basis for the patronage: hence a minority business will get a city contract that overpays significantly, and will keep that contract as long as there is no overt corruption (i.e. goods and services are actually delivered) and the political patronage system continues to work, i.e. the "right" politicians are supported and financed by the businesses involved.
The taxpayer pays: it is important, under such a system of corruption, that taxes are increased regularly and continuously (so people get used to them in small increments) until the government becomes the major employer and "too big to fail": it also becomes too entrenched to reform, as it employs too many whose jobs would otherwise be at risk and who can be counted on - and given the time off to do so - to be politically active for anyone who actively supports the system, to campaign against everyone and anyone who challenges the system.
Such a government is a parasite, living off the healthy body of the local economy, enabling it to get to a certain size and then choking it with a stranglehold, removing all but the minimum amount of nutrients. It relies on the relative immobility of a population heavily invested, both emotionally and financially, in the local environment. If people can readily and easily leave to suburbs, it suborns these; the number of people leaving because of too tight a stranglehold on their finances is easily outweighed by those searching for work and readily suborned to be part of the system.
Chicago is a successful example of this: Detroit is the failure. Here the parasite took too much from the economy and drove that proud city into ruin.
For this kind of corruption to succeed, moral outrage must be redirected towards other ethnic groups, divide and conquer. High taxes, high costs must be seen as a necessary evil, one that simply can't be avoided, and the first goal of such a party machine is the destruction of any "real" alternative or challenge to this power. You have to ensure that your government is too big to fail, cutting off any real opposition, cutting off any alternatives, cutting off anything but the aggregation of power to those who are running things (which may or may not be those elected...).
This is now what is happening on the national scene.
I am convinced that the Obama Administration is deliberately increasing spending and debt to get the US electorate into a debt trap that it cannot get out of: it is the only explanation for their behavior. The Obama Administration truly believes that the laws it passes will not be, cannot be, shall not be rescinded or turned back (that would violate their progressive belief in the inevitability of "progress").
Why are they doing this? Because, deeply and fundamentally, they believe that they are the elite that must necessarily run the country. See this:
America's intellectual class seems to adore President Barack Obama nearly as much as it reviled his predecessor. While George W. Bush was routinely derided for his purported lack of intelligence and learning, Obama has been embraced by the intellectuals as one of their own — to a degree unmatched by any president since perhaps Woodrow Wilson. Indeed, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof spoke for many when he argued after the 2008 election that "American voters have just picked a president who is an open, out-of-the-closet, practicing intellectual." Rebecca Mead of the New Yorker even sought to make it official, calling Obama a "certified intellectual."
President Obama has found his base: one that is profoundly arrogant to the common man, one that has failed to understand that the country, despite their best attempts to change this, is simply not theirs to dominate, harness and control. They are the elitists of the nation: those opposing them are the populists, the Sarah Palins and George W. Bushes of the country who understand the nature of the American populace.
This schism between the elitists and the populists is nothing new and probably started with the Brain Trusts of President Franklin Roosevelt (President Theodore Roosevelt would have been profoundly amused by the idea that college professors would have something useful to say outside of their narrow fields of expertise...were that we still had politicians of his character!).
What has happened is that the elitists have, by the fact that they are not in charge, become increasingly radicalized and polarized over time, over the decades under populist rule (not only Republican presidents, including President Carter, one of the least elitists Democratic Presidents, and also as a result one of the weakest), and this can be easily seen in the attitude of the elitists looking at President George W. Bush.
To whit: Bush Derangement Syndrome, where one of the best educated Presidents (Yale and Harvard, folks, Yale and Harvard) was vilified by the elitists who were outraged by the mere existence of a President not beholden to their power:
As Damon Linker of the New Republic put it in November 2009:
Everything about Bush — from his economically libertarian and socially conservative policies to his swaggering gait, mannered Southern drawl, and studied inarticulateness — was intended to convey the message that he was "one of us," an average American bringing his hard-won common sense to bear on the most challenging problems of our time, many if not all of which could be traced to the influence of the godless liberal elites who "really" run the country from their decadent enclaves in New York and Hollywood.
Bush may have successfully used his regular-guy appeal to win the presidency, but it could not have been a surprise — indeed, it must surely have been, in part, his intention — that this approach would draw the ire of liberal intellectuals. Linker's diatribe, and the broadly shared attitude it described, indicated the shrill partisanship of many on the intellectual left. But these objections were also reactions to cultural provocations. They represented a flare-up of the longstanding hostility between elitists and populists in American culture — a hostility that appears undiminished, even in the post-Bush era.And, in that supremely ironic way that always marks American politics, President Obama is probably the least intellectual of recent US presidents:
Obama's style and approach to decision-making in office have also won him kudos from intellectual observers who appreciate "his deliberateness, his empiricism, and his suspicion of easy answers," as Paul Glastris wrote in Washington Monthly late in 2008. This easy praise from academics and the literati — praise that often seems to be driven as much by distaste for George W. Bush as admiration for his successor — has largely spared Obama the task of cultivating relationships with the intellectuals. While there is no shortage of Ph.D.s in his administration — most prominently among Peter Orszag's staff at the Office of Management and Budget — Obama has no liaison to the intellectual world, formal or informal. He has closed down the Office of Strategic Initiatives, and has so far avoided explicit outreach to the academic world (aside from occasional meetings with historians — a longstanding White House tradition). When recently asked by a reporter about his reading habits, Obama replied: "I don't get a chance to read things other than briefing books very often these days." It is almost impossible to imagine that any of his recent predecessors would have given such an answer (or gotten away with it if he had); all made a point of showing off their reading lists to highlight their intellectual seriousness.
Of course President Obama doesn't need to highlight his intellectual seriousness: he already has the intellectuals in his pocket, and his lack of intellectual curiosity - he doesn't read anything other than what others give him - and apparent dogmatic beliefs in the efficacy of big government in face of the empirical evidence to the contrary insulate him from any doubts about his assigned task.
Which is to divide and conquer, just like he learned in Chicago.
How will this happen?
Simple: immigration reform. This is nothing new: it is how the Democrats hope to add, literally, millions of voters, voters who will be beholden to the President who gave them everything in exchange for their loyalty.
The rhetoric will be soft, gentle, reasonable, sensible, and completely and totally wrong. He will use it to play one ethnic group against others, just like LA politics. He will use it to ensure patronage - to empower minority politicians to shape up voting blocs - and to ensure that the Democratic Party will have an enhanced voter base heading into 2012.
So, let's contemplate the future: a government which has driven debt to such levels that it becomes too big to fail, relying on the reluctance of any politician to preside over bankruptcy, poverty and despair; the cynical use of the dirty secret of the American economy (illegal immigration that is wide-spread, toxic and criminal, but carefully ignored because it brings in too much money for those hiring illegals, who themselves can be easily exploited because of their illegality) to create a voting base that will dominate the body politic for at least three generations; a deliberate divide-and-conquer approach to ensure that no meaningful opposition develops; and finally, the enrichment and corruption of a government that truly believes that it has an inherent right to run the country as it sees fit, that will broke no challenge to their power, but will suborn and destroy any opposed.
This is the future of US politics, unless the mid-term elections are truly catastrophic for the Democrats (and a believable candidate can be found for the Republicans which can take back the country for its people) and unless the rule of law, the separation of powers and the inviolability of the US Supreme Court, in conjunction with States that defend their rights, is maintained and held as a bulwark against the "progressives" that believe in their own importance more than anything else.
This is the continuation of the Great American Experiment, of how to be a democratically elected Republic, to stand against the eternal destructive ability of man to corrupt and suborn.
As Benjamin Franklin put it, when asked as he left Independence Hall during the final day of deliberation at the closed of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, "Well, Doctor, what have we got - a Republic or a Monarchy":
A Republic, if you can keep it.
We must now ensure that we can keep it.
* For the humor impaired (aka Democrats), that is sarcasm.