Over the past seven years that I have been writing this post, I have used it to highlight the scary problems in our political world. And every year there is more and more to fear. The real life events taking place in our country today are worse than any scary film plot ever hatched in the mind of any Hollywood producer.
Last year I was writing the post three weeks away from a national election that was going to make either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton president, and I thought that was scary stuff. Of course, as we know, Trump won states that have gone blue for scores of election cycles, and the GOP retained control of the House and the Senate. So, for a few weeks, anyway, it appeared to the naïve and uninitiated that we might actually see at least part of the conservative agenda passed into law.
A few weeks after the election last year I was talking to my brother, and I remember telling him confidently that at least now we could expect to see Obamacare repealed. "Don't be too sure," he cautioned me, and then went on to remind me that health care constitutes 1/6 of the economy and that government officials from either party don't easily relinquish control.
Now, nine months into the Trump Administration, with no major legislation passed, no legislative end to Obamacare in sight, a tax plan that will almost certainly die an agonizing death before the end of the year, no immigration reform, etc., I have to admit that Chris is right. In fact, the only really positive comment I can make about this Administration is that nothing has been accomplished legislatively and so that does actually signal that we are better off than we would have been under a Hillary Administration. After all, Democrats get their priorities passed legislatively--even if, as Nancy Pelosi famously said about Obamacare, they have to "pole vault over a wall" to do it. Because this is a proven fact, I can state confidently that if Hillary were president right now the House and the Senate would be rubber stamping whatever new idiocy her Administration was promoting, rather than just keeping the status quo.
Having said that, other than the GOP's complete lack of backbone, the two parties are basically indistinguishable. A vote to repeal Obamacare died on the Senate floor this summer simply because the GOP is not a party of limited government. The GOP, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and big business are all united in a push to keep a system in place that picks the winners and losers through excessive regulation and arbitrary enforcements of those regulations. Nobody wants to return the power of government to the states, nobody wants to reduce the welfare rolls, nobody wants to curtail entitlement programs.
This week Donald Trump used an executive order to allow consumers to buy insurance across state lines. I think this is mainly posturing for his electorate--insurance laws are extremely complicated and I believe that this attempt to use his "pen and phone" to change complex state and federal laws will likely be challenged in court. He also refused to fund $7 billion in federal subsidies for low-income Obamacare users being subsidized by the federal government. This one actually makes sense--a federal court had ruled that since Congress did not authorize the subsidies they are illegal and it is likely to put pressure on the GOP to pass a healthcare bill. But since whatever bill they pass is going to try to appeal to the insurance companies, we are not going to get a true free-market bill. We are almost certainly going to get some version of the Obamacare-lite nonsense that the GOP was trying to pass this summer. Now that Trump has put some pressure on the system by abandoning the subsidies, there may be more appetite for Obamacare Lite, but that does not make it a good solution to healthcare.
What is scariest about all of this is that last Fall the American people voted for certain initiatives--repeal of Obamacare and immigration reform being at the top of the list. Working and middle-class Americans wanted to see changes that would help them buy affordable health care for their families, that would incentivize job creation so that they could go back to work or move up at work, and that would keep the country safer. What the Election of 2016 mainly proved is that the Republican party is really not much different from the Democrat party and that what matters to the American people makes no difference to anyone in Washington D.C. We are just pawns during election season, but we have no real voice and no real say in our government or our nation.
After 241 years of "government of the people, by the people, for the people," the knowledge that "we the people" no longer matter is really scary indeed.
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.