Democrats were not alone in their celebration. Republicans too shook hands with constituents and lapped up attention and praise for, let’s face it, having done very little. But, hey, why let that spoil a good time? My fear is that not only will Republicans not “repeal the bill” should they take control of congress after the mid-term elections, but that in the very near future Republican candidates will also be running on promises to nurture it. Such is my confidence in the current GOP.
In as much as we are toasting the expansion of the administrative state (and thus the demise of our American Republic) we should perhaps also raise our glasses to Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain. All these nations are on the verge of economic collapse due to their fiscal promiscuity. They too love their entitlements and are demanding them even as the ship of state sinks. Portugal is currently running a deficit that is 9.3% of GDP with a debt that is 80% of their GDP. Greece has a deficit of 13% and a debt of 113% of GDP. Just for laughs consider that they are appealing to the United States for financial aid. The U.S. currently carries a deficit that is over 12% and debt that is 94% of GDP.
Closer to home we should also raise our flutes in celebration of, or perhaps in memory of, an American icon: the United States Postal Service.
At the same time President Obama was putting his signature on Obamacare, the Postal Service Board of Governors announced its decision to drop Saturday delivery, close some post offices and increase rates for service. Before instituting the changes, the Postal service must first get an official opinion from the postal regulatory commission followed by the approval of congress. Good luck.
This year the postal service projects a deficit of $7 billion. Without changes that shortfall is expected to increase to $238 billion by 2020.
Post Master General John E. Potter argues that if the agency were “provided the flexibilities used by businesses in the marketplace to streamline their operations and reduce costs, we would become a more efficient and effective organization." Word has apparently not trickled down to Potter that the way to save money is to spend goo-gobs of it along with establishing several more layers of federal regulation. As they say in the white house, “You’ve got to spend a trillion to save a billion.” That’s the way they do it in Greece.
How odd. Rather than requesting that the postal service be subject to 100 new government boards and a 3000 pages of new official directives, and that he be named Postal Czar, Potter demands the freedom to respond to market signals – to run the postal service as a (hide the women and children) profit making enterprise as opposed to a quasi government enterprise.
This is exactly the opposite of what we have been told as it pertains to healthcare. The left argues that profit is the enemy of reform; that in fact the only way to bring quality healthcare to the most people along with fiscal discipline is through large administrative oversight – that and about 3 trillion dollars.
How is it that the same political considerations that have governed the postal service into billion dollar deficits will elude governance of healthcare? They will not.
I will no doubt be admonished by new liberals: “don’t disturb this groove.” However, clear thinking Americans, which apparently exempts the entire democratic caucus, understand that the choice was never between Obamacare and doing nothing as was often charged. As Potter articulated in his plea to congress, it was always a question of the inflexibility and stagnation of government bureaucracy on the one hand and the fluidity and dynamism of the market on the other.
The magic of the present moment may do much to cement Obama’s legacy, but it does little to change this nation’s fiscal reality to whit: the nation is running huge deficits, has grown the national debt, has unfunded promises it can’t keep and for the first time the majority of this nations debt is in foreign hands (alas, not in the hands of Greece, Portugal et al.) Rather than seek market alternatives that would cost nothing, this president and this congress chose to inflict upon the nation an expensive boondoggle that will, they have explained -- in the odd dialect of congressional-ese and in contradiction of actual historical evidence -- actually make us fiscally sound. It will not.
But far be it from me to break up the party.
Joseph C. Phillips is the author of "He Talk Like a White Boy" available where ever books are sold.