Congress vs. The American People
Another day, two new polls showing the American people are strongly against the health care plan President Barack Obama will sign into law today. According to CNN, 59% of Americans oppose President Obama's plan. And according to CBS News, 48% of Americans oppose the plan (with 33% in strong opposition) compared to only 37% who support it (with only 13% in strong support). Digging deeper into the CBS poll, we find that 76% of Americans disapprove of how Congress is handling its job on health care, 46% think Congress has spent too much time on health care, and 49% believe the rules and procedures used in Congress to get the current health care bill passed have been mostly unfair.
But the leftist majorities in Congress just do not care what the American people think. Today, the Senate will press forward with work on the proposed "fix-it" bill through the reconciliation process. You may have thought it was impossible to make the policy and process of Obamacare even worse, but that is exactly what this reconciliation bill does:
Abuse of Process: According to the Congressional Research Service, 19 reconciliation measures have been enacted into law since the procedure’s first use in the Carter administration. The record shows that reconciliation has been used for virtually all imaginable scenarios — save one: There is no precedent for using it to enact a once-in-a-generation rewrite of the relationship between Americans and their government that appeals exclusively to one side of the aisle. But that is exactly what Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is attempting to do. According to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, a plurality of the American people strongly oppose this procedural tactic for this highly unpopular policy.
Even Higher Deficits: According to the Congressional Budget Office, new entitlement spending in the reconciliation bill would cost $216 billion in 2019 alone and will increase by 8% every year after that. Now, the Democrats will tell you that the CBO has also said their plan raises enough taxes and cuts enough Medicare to pay for this gigantic new entitlement. But the CBO is obligated by law to believe whatever Congress tells them. The American people are not. According to the latest NBC/WSJ poll, 76% of the American people do not trust Congress. That is why, according to the latest CNN poll, 70% of the American people believe Obamacare will cause the federal budget deficit to go up.
Even Higher Taxes on Business: As bad as the employer mandates in the Senate health bill were, the taxes on businesses in the reconciliation bill are even worse. Companies that hire certain low-income Americans will have to pay $3,000 per employee, per year, even if the company offers insurance. And companies that employ 50 or more workers will face higher tax penalties to the tune of $2,000 per full-time employee.
New Taxes on Investments: Investment is what creates job growth. One would think at a time of 9.7% unemployment, the government would not want to increase taxes on investment. Not this leftist government. The reconciliation bill slaps a 3.8% tax on investment income.
Cornhusker Kickbacks for All: You may have heard that the reconciliation bill "got rid of" the Cornhusker Kickback. That is not quite true. What it really did is extend the additional Medicaid funding Nebraska got to every state. But to keep the new entitlement spending deficit neutral, the new Medicaid funding creates a fiscal time bomb for states by vastly cutting Medicaid reimbursements in 2015. This reconciliation will only further strain already bankrupt state governments.
A Government Takeover Preview: Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) has already announced he will vote against the reconciliation bill because of the government takeover of the student loan industry that Democrats tacked onto the health care bill in order to help pay for the new entitlement. The student loan debacle is unfortunately just a preview of the direction the left wants to see health care go. The government first justified subsidizing student loans in the Clinton administration by saying it would make college more affordable. The opposite happened. College costs have only skyrocketed, just like health care costs will only sky rocket under this bill. So now this reconciliation bill is completely nationalizing the student loan industry. Unless the direction of health care policy changes, our health care sector will not be far behind.