Movements and The End of Obamacare
– Referring or pertaining to forces or conditions inside the earth that cause
movements or the crust, as earthquakes, folds, faults, and the like.
I’ve been reading a book by a noted historian, John
Lewis Gaddis, The United States and the
End of the Cold War (Oxford University Press, 1992). In chapter nine, “Tectonics, History, and the
End of the Cold War,” Gaddis explains that changes in the physical and
political world can change abruptly. “Conditions can persist for years with
little attention, only to have them disappear – to the astonishment of almost
everyone – almost overnight.” This, he says, is due to underlying political and
economic trends, not unlike geological fault lines.
What are these fault lines, that ended communism, and do they apply to
Obamacare? According to Gaddis, the pollitcal and economic fault lines are:
new criteria for power. In
the case of the cold war, it became obvious that economic progress and centralized
planning did not mesh. At this stage,
Obamacare smacks of centralized planning, but whether the U.S. is making
economic progress is still up debate. All we know is that economic growth is
about half what is has been in irecoveries from previous recessions. One of the new criteria for power is economic growth or lack of it.
collapse of authoritarianism – Here Gaddis argues
government cannot force citizens to produce goods and services according to a
central plan. Central planners simply cannot
respond fast enough to shifts of supply and demand, to satisfy most of the population. Only self-regulating markets can do that. With Obamacare, it seems improbable that it will have health exchanges
up and running by October 1, 2013 and whether enough people will sign up for
exchanges to make them worthwhile. The
government does not yet have the computer capability to handle the load that
individuals that may sign up and flow of information will demand. Whether the series of “mandates” in the law or
the IRS for 20,000 new IRS agents and an unprecedented expansion of
the IRS computer system will cause authoritarianism to collapse remains to be
seen. That may depend on the outcome of the IRS "scandal." Another question is: will the health system collapse if Obamacare collapses? I doubt it.
the Decline of Brutality –
among totalitarian regimes no lomnger works. This may be due to openess and transaprency engendered by the Internte and the social media. Secretness and behind the scenes political maniupulations no longer works well in the Internet age. Anyway, Obamacare is not communism nor socialism for the matter. It is anti-colonolism,
Brutality is not part of the Obamacare agenda, unless one deems IRS targeting of
conservative tax-exemptions while letting liberal groups qualify with qualms as
selective economic brutality. It may be
worth noting that the head of the IRS visited the White House 118 times in two
years, presumably to prepare Obamacare for IRS intervention and enforcement.
Using the end of the
cold war as a tectonic metaphor for the end of Obamacare is a stretch. Nevertheless, there may be a few elements of
similarity – the decline of the importance of central planning, the impotence of this planning in causing
economic growth, the apparent use of the a central government agency to
undercut one’s ideological opponents, and the impact of consumers as a
tectonic force in upending government because of continuing record levels of unemployment.
I do not foresee Obamacare coming to an abrupt end. The political parties representing
government and the markets are too evenly matched, and the party in power will
retain its veto power through 2016. Its
authority to force businesses, physicians, and other elements of health care economy
may diminish, but it still retains the bully pulpit, has an existing law on its side, appeals to millions dependent on the government dole' has, for the moment at least, the media on its
side, and is about to launch a multimillion PR campaign to “sell” Obamacare.
Tweet: Despite tectonic forces that may erupt and
end Obamacare, this is not likely to
happen given the political circumstances
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