And if this Healthcare bill (a Bill ANY Bill) comes to pass?
Megan McArdle: “No bill this large has ever before passed on a straight party-line vote, or even anything close to a straight party-line vote. No bill this unpopular has ever before passed on a straight party-line vote. We’re in a new political world. I’m not sure I understand it.”
Obama won. But will this cause people to treat the bill as illegitimate, leading to tax revolts or worse? Or will people grumble and go along?
Plus this: “We’ve just increased substantially the supply of unrepealable, unsustainable entitlements. We’ve also, in my opinion, put ourselves on a road that leads eventually to less healthcare innovation, less healthcare improvement, and more dead people in the long run.” And that’s from an Obama voter.
But don't despair. This can still be fought.
The history of Western democracy includes some truly stunning partisan wipe-outs, but we don’t need to dwell on what today seems a remote political possibility (as remote as, say, a ca. 60-Democrat Senate seemed in 2002). Dismantling, impeding, nullifying, and, in the end, fully repealing this bill does not require 60 Republicans or 60 conservatives: Greater legal, legislative, and historical minds than mine must already be studying the precedents and gaming the scenarios, but we can observe here that, if passing popular legislation in the Senate always required partisan super-majorities, we wouldn’t have had a major piece of legislation signed since 1979. We don’t know yet how the final votes in the Senate or for final passage after a House-Senate conference may go, but reversing them down the road would merely require a popularly backed majority joined by a passel of fence-sitters, perhaps including Democratic senators who in the current session vote for cloture but against final passage, perhaps including a few changes of heart. It could be as simple as that.
The only reason to consider such outcomes impossible would be belief that the public will change its mind, that we do not face a looming fiscal and economic crunch, and that entitlement programs, once enacted, cannot ever be rescinded.
The first two propositions are at minimum debatable, and the tides of opinion and economic projection currently seem in conservatives’ political favor – a very well-evidenced observation that provided the basis for my “Make Our Decade” post and to varying degrees for the positions of my fellow Polyannist-Leninists. As for the third point, on the supernatural immortality of entitlement programs, we hear and read variations on it frequently – sometimes offered with a knowing laugh, lately from conservatives who have been attempting to gin up opposition to O-care – but, if and when the bill passes and is signed, the embrace of this perspective would be defeatism pure and simple.
As for this specific entitlement, what makes anyone believe that any guarantee it entails or calculation it depends on will be sustainable for very long, much less become “permanent”? We will soon have to make some difficult fiscal choices on an almost incomprehensible scale, or have them made for us via national bankruptcy – under which latter situation all such entitlements would merely entitle the citizen to go searching with devalued dollars or theoretical guarantees for scarce to non-existent goods and services. The crisis of debt-supported, obligation-deferred, risk-displaced welfare state capitalism that exploded last year is not over. It’s hardly even in abeyance, and Obamacare promises to deepen and accelerate it.
Before the next reckoning is reached, a coherent political force can achieve things that previously seemed politically impossible. That sort of change, believed in or not, has happened before in history, several times in our own history, and sometimes far ahead of the schedule set by the change agents themselves. Furthermore, as has been pointed out by many observers ever since the polls turned decisively against Obamacare, no legislation this sweeping, partisan, and unpopular has ever before been passed. To use one of the Obama Administration’s favorite words, enactment of Obamacare would be truly unprecedented. We should therefore consider that unprecedented events tend to imply unprecedented responses, and unprecedented political events require and ensure unprecedented political responses: The only real question is how long the equal and opposite reaction can be denied and suppressed.
Read it all.
This bill is massively unpopular and requried a perfect storm and a 60 majority in the Senate and months and months of pushing to get this close, to being passed in the middle of the night before Christmass
If it keeps getting more unpopular and controling. Especially given the meme of it being an "Insurance Industry" bailout...
This is new territory.