The GOP promised over and over to repeal Obamacare and yet this morning failed to pass even the "skinny bill" that would have repealed only the most unpopular provisions--the employer and individual mandates--and kept the rest intact. Truthfully, most of the Senators who DID vote for the bill voted only with assurances from leadership that the bill would NOT pass the house and would be conferenced into a new bill. But they could not even get that vote through because the Republicans do not want to give up power any more power than the Democrats do. And limiting the size and scope of the federal government--and relinquishing a prize as big as health care control--ultimately limits the power of the government.
Although Obamacare is the reason for the rise of the Tea Party movement and the promise of repeal is the reason that most of the politicians currently in Washington have their seats, the attempt for a straight repeal failed earlier this week because there is no genuine desire to repeal the bill. There never was. The politicians in Washington have no intention of getting the government out of healthcare--they just want to make more and more Americans dependent on the government for help and assistance so that they can eventually push through a single-payer system. That is the only place we are currently headed.
July 21 marked the 7th anniversary of the Dodd-Frank bill. I started this blog in 2010 because of the Dodd-Frank bill. This bill was crafted to cut off lending to many Americans, to put private business under the thumb of a huge agency with no supervision, and to benefit the huge Wall Street conglomerates at the expense of everyone else. Never in the history of this country, has there been a more massive expansion of government power than the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB regulates through enforcement, refuses to create clear rules and assesses excessive, arbitrary fines. Since the CFPB self-funds completely through fines, the agency is incentivized NOT to write clear rules and to visit huge fines on businesses so that it can continue to pay its employees six-figure salaries.
Now, in 2017, we have a Republican president, a Republican Senate and Republican House of Representatives. Is there a move to repeal Dodd-Frank and dissolve the CFPB? NO! What we have is the CHOICE Act which will "tweak" Dodd-Frank and rein in the power of the CFPB, but not dissolve it and not even seriously curtail it. Why? The CFPB is a mammoth agency that has already taken over the regulatory powers of many smaller agencies. To dissolve it would be too difficult--to dismantle it would be to disarm a major weapon for destroying businesses and individuals and a major mechanism for creating winners and losers in a society that no longer believes that free markets should choose the successes and failures.
We seem to forget that until 7 years ago the U.S. had successfully existed for over 200 years without either Obamacare or Dodd-Frank and had thrived as one of the greatest nations in the history of the world. Now, we just know in our hearts that if we repeal either of these pieces of legislation we will instantly be transported back to the Middle Ages.
But lest we get caught up in blaming politicians for this mess, we also need to take a good long look in the mirror. The problem with America is not just corrupt politicians, or Fake News, or The Washington Post whose editorial staff daily promises the onset of apocalypse if even one of these big government agendas or programs ends.
Like Hollywood, Washington DC is not so much a change agent as a reflection of the changes that have already taken place in society. Donald Trump is himself, after all is said and done, a big government liberal. Both parties worked to put him at the top of the Republican ticket because they believed he could be easily defeated by Hillary Clinton. But he got himself elected by making absurd promises that he could not begin to keep. For example, he promised that everyone would have great healthcare with low premiums. He might as well have promised us all a sparkly pink unicorn. Universal great healthcare with low premiums does not exist. To get the premiums down we need free market solutions, but free-market solutions are not universal healthcare. When the government gets involved in a single-payer system, prices go up--a lot--taxes go up and quality goes down, but everyone can have the same universally bad health care. In a free-market system, competition brings prices down and quality up, but everyone does not have the same universally great health care because in a free-market system no two people have the same amount--some have more, some have less and some have MUCH more and some have MUCH less.
Trump also promised to Make America Great Again through jobs and innovation. But the government does not create jobs--woe to a city or state or a country whose main employer is the government. The ONLY thing that government can do is reduce taxes and regulation so that private enterprise can create jobs and innovation. But to reduce taxes and regulation, the government would first have to reduce benefits and entitlements and increase the power of individuals to make decisions for their own lives. And yes, there would be winners and losers.
That is the choice between capitalism and socialism--varying degrees of success and comfort versus universal misery.
Unfortunately, Americans no longer understand this distinction because we have been promised our own unicorn so long that we are standing outside waiting for the delivery truck to show up. And when anyone has the audacity to remind us that unicorns--sparkly pink or otherwise--don't actually exist, or that nothing is free, or that the government that can give you everything you need can also take everything you have, we become enraged. We don't care about facts, we don't care about simple economics and we don't care about the ultimate cost to our country. We want our unicorn--delivered on time and as sparkly and pink as we imagined it. And in a country that increasingly elects politicians not on the basis of facts or proven track records but through a cult of personality that selects the person who makes the most enticing promises, we just have to wait. In four years we will have another personality who will promise us another sparkly unicorn, and we will run to the polls like lemmings and vote for him.
We don't want freedom, we don't want reform and we certainly don't want our country back. We just want the guy who promises to help US personally the most. We are all big government liberals now.
Alexandra Swann's novel W: The Set, incorporates her novels The Planner and The Chosen which tell the story of an out-of-control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21 and NDAA. The set is available on Kindle. For more information, visit her website at http://www.frontier2000.net.