Thursday, September 19, 2013

Legislative Anarchy

Coordinating their messaging, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have essentially suggested that tea party kooks are hijacking the legislative process and are dedicated to anarchy by linking an increase in the debt limit to a defunding of Obamacare. They claim that these extremists want to shut down the government and intentionally harm the full faith and credit of the US. This, of course, is absurd and their claims contain two stunningly ironic statements on which the press refuses to pounce.

First, the Congress has not passed a budget since 2007 which has made these "continuing resolutions" necessary. With a budget passed by both Houses we wouldn't have to go through these endless charades. Since these resolution discussions have taken place, they've been used for political leverage by both parties. The Democrats, including then Sen Obama, threatened to blow up a debt increase during the Bush Administration because of their opposition to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. And those conflicts were both waged under authorizations that were passed by both Houses. Why the current effort represents anarchic activity and theirs did not is impossible to explain.

Second, the majority of Americans who oppose Obamacare might argue that the real act of legislative anarchy occurred during the highly manipulated process during which the bill was considered. It was not thoroughly debated, there were no opposition amendments considered, there were substantial incentives provided to certain legislators whose votes were in question, and, worst of all, Harry Reid employed the "reconciliation" process to insure the bill could pass without any Republican votes. Obamacare did not receive a single Republican vote in the House or the Senate, and it is unprecedented to have had a social program of this magnitude passed without a scintilla of support from the minority party.

Those in opposition to Obamacare object to it, not only because of the covert and manipulative way in which it was passed, but also because the highly partisan selling points employed by its proponents are turning out to be false. No one is saving $2500 a year in premiums, many people are not being given the option of keeping their current plans in place, and it is quite obvious, given that some companies are choosing to abandon selling insurance policies in certain states, that competition is not improving. Finally, many labor unions, which invested millions into the election and re-election of the President and which vocally supported Obamacare's approval, now realize that the "Cadillac" plans they were able to secure for their members, will now be subjected to an excise tax, much to the dismay of their leadership. They have been unable to secure a coveted waiver and, unhappily, their members - unlike the members of Congress and their staffs - will be subjected to the law's myriad restrictions.

Like the President, whose name has been attached to this abominable law, this legislation is a disaster and its full consequences have yet to be felt or digested. The conservative members of Congress and the Senate were sent there to oppose the President's progressive agenda, generally, and Obamacare in particular. If they don't make a legitimate effort to defund this law, while providing a continuing resolution to fund the government's essential functions, they will be challenged in primary and general election contests.

Anarchy is lawlessness in a society; when a majority party and its President manipulate the legislative process, provide taxpayer-funded incentives to lure fence-sitting legislators, and exempt certain groups from the law's effect extralegally, it is clear which group is practicing legislative anarchy.

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