July 11 2013

ObamaCare Meltdown: Symptom of a Larger Illness?

Charlotte Hays

Did something momentous happen quietly the day before Independence Day 2013?

In an absolutely must-read piece in today’s Wall Street Journal Daniel Henninger notes that July 3, the day when the Obama administration announced in a blog (!) that ObamaCare is so complex that it must be delayed, is a very important day.

It is the day when even the Obama administration could not escape the truth that ObamaCare is a jerrybuilt mess, though the blog post took pains to portray the delay as merely a way to get things right. “ObamaCare’s failures are not the only sign of a great public crack-up,” the subhead to Henninger’ s piece states.

Henninger writes:

Since at least 1789, America's conservatives and liberals have argued about the proper role of government. Home library shelves across the land splinter and creak beneath the weight of books arguing the case for individual liberty or for government-led social justice. World Wrestling smackdowns are nothing compared with Hayek vs. Rawls.

Maybe we have been listening to the wrong experts. Philosophers and pundits aren't going to tell us anything new about government. The one-year rollover of ObamaCare because of its "complexity" suggests it's time to call in the physicists, the people who study black holes and death stars. That's what the federal government looks like after expanding ever outward for the past 224 years.

Even if you are a liberal and support the goals of the Affordable Care Act, there has to be an emerging sense that maybe the law's theorists missed a signal from life outside the castle walls. …

The 2,000-plus page Affordable Care Act, so called, passed, as history shall no doubt long remember, without having been read, is simply too complex to work, no matter that the first orator has taken to going on about what he likes to call “smart government.” We can’t understand ObamaCare, for starters, and what we do understand looms as disaster. But the ObamaCare fiasco is part and parcel of something bigger (though, weighing in at one sixth of our economy, ObamaCare pretty damn big):

If the ObamaCare meltdown were a one-off, the system could dismiss it as a legislative misfire and move on, as always. But ObamaCare's problems are not unique. Important parts of the federal government are breaking down almost simultaneously.

The National Security Agency has conservative philosophers upset that its surveillance program is ushering in Big Brother. What's more concretely frightening is that a dweeb like Edward Snowden could download the content of the NSA's computers onto a thumb drive and walk out of the world's "most secretive" agency. Here's the short answer: The NSA has 40,000 employees. (Some say it's as high as 55,000, but it's a secret.)

Echoing that, when the IRS's audits of conservative groups emerged, the agency managers' defense was that the IRS is too big for anyone to know what its agents are doing. Thus both the NSA and IRS are too big to avoid endangering the public.

The list of big government failures includes the State Department’s missing signs of the impending Arab Spring—again, so called—or even the government’s failure to replace worn-out equipment at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Meanwhile, the news last night featured a report on an expensive, state-of-the art U.S. military installation in Afghanistan, built during the current administration, that will never be used. Not only are we leaving it behind, but the Afghans don’t have the resources to operate it. But don't worry: the desks and cubicles look like they would have created a spiffy environment amid the chaos. We're getting the bill, if not the use, for the facility. Love to know who the contractor was!

To summarize: Mark down July 3, 2013—the beginning of our national collapse or a national resurgence.

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