Wednesday, February 12, 2014

“Fudge” and “Kludge” – Two Words Describing President Obama’s Decisions to Delay Employer Mandates

Short words are best and the old words when short are best of all.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965), Saying attributed to Churchill

Two words spring  to mind to describe  President Obama’s decisions to delay the employer mandate for a year and the health law provision  penalizing employers with a $3000 fine for each employee not covered by health insurances in businesses with 50 or more employees.


The first word is “fudge,” meaning “to act in an indecisive manner, to fake.”  The president  is fudging by delaying  parts of the law that might harm Democrats running for election  until after the November  midterms.    This harm specifically  applies to Senate candidates in Red States who voted for ObamaCare  the first time around.  He will not say this, of course.    Instead he is saying he wishes to “smooth the transition”to a complicated law that takes “time” to implement.  Implementation of the law, in his mind, is inevitable.  Difficult things simply take time.

Here are his words at a press conference following the announcement of suspension of the 50 employee rule.

“This was an example of administratively, us making sure we are smoothing out this transition, giving people the opportunities to get right with the law, but recognizing that there are going to be circumstances in which people are trying to do the right thing but it may take a little bit of time.”

On the face of it, that makes sense,  if you believe in the law.   Besides, he is giving Republicans part of what they want, namely, delaying  of  components of the law that anger small and medium size businesses seeking to expand  and placating opponents that claim ObamaCare is slowing economic growth.

Obama’s  explanation does not satisfy Obama’s critics who want repeal of ObamaCare.  They say the President is once again acting unilaterally,  defying and violating the Constitution, by changing a law without  consulting Congress.   Only Congress, they complain,  can make and change laws.  Obama is tweaking an unworkable  law  for transparently political purposes.   

Obama is denying the obvious – that  employer mandates retard hiring, hurt  young workers by denying them full-time  jobs,  and financially harm young  families and small businesses – and defending  the indefensible by lawlessly and  temporarily suspending  but not reversing  an unworkable law.  He is simply prolonging the uncertainty surrounding his law and making business  long term planning impossible.   

Obama’s actions, in short, can be reduced to two-words, “im-possible.” Or better yet, to one word,  “kludge.”  Jackson Granholm, a computer nerd, introduced the word “kludge” into the English language in a 1962 article “How to Design a Kludge” in a computer magazine  Dafamation.     

Back then,  Granholm defined “kludge” as  ‘An ill-assorted collection of poorly-matched parts,  forming a distressing whole, ‘bodged’ together, hastily improvised, and poorly thought-out solution to a fault and a ‘bug’.”    

Since then , “kludge” has come to mean, “A workabout,  quick-and-dirty solution, clumsy, inelegant,  difficult to extend, hard to maintain, yet effective and quick solution to a problem, and a rough synonym for ‘jerry rigging.’ “

Tweet: Give Obama credit.  By delaying employer mandates for a year, he has come up with a “quick-and-dirty solution” to a Democrat ObamaCare problem in the November midterms

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