When the Senate voted 60-39 to proceed to debate Harry Reid’s 2000 page collection of taxes and mandates and new regulations on America’s health care the nation learned several lessons.
First, there are no “moderate” Democrat senators. No “independent thinkers.” No Senators who put the interests of Nebraska, Arkansas, Indiana or Nevada ahead of the raw political demands of the liberal Democrat leadership in Washington D.C. North Dakota citizens do not have any Senators representing them. There are two guys with mailing addresses in North Dakota, but they vote the interests of Washington, D.C.
Second, everything Barack Obama’s handlers put up on his teleprompter during the 2008 campaign turns out to be a lie. Everything. The goal of this legislation is not to make health care more affordable for all Americans. The Reid legislation does nothing to reduce costs—unless you count the hidden plans for future rationing of such things as mammograms.
In the first ten years that this “plan” is implemented it will cost us $2.5 trillion dollars. If you read a lower number in the establishment press it is because much of the “plan” doesn’t kick in until 2014 which masks how expensive it is if one is foolish enough to count 2009-2019 as the ten-year cost. There are at least $500 billion in higher taxes….if this is supposed to save money, what are the higher taxes for?
Third, this isn’t about health care at all. It's about raising taxes and increasing government spending and government make-work jobs.
The first Obama/Reid/ Pelosi legislation was to extend the Bush bank bailout with an additional $350 billion. The second Obama/Reid/Pelosi bill was to spend $787 billion on a collection of pork barrel earmarks. The third Obama/Reid/Pelosi bill was to increases taxes and spending about a trillion to increase the costs of energy and gasoline—to force you to drive less and heat and light your home less. This “health bill” is just another tax and spend and regulate bill. The title is different from the fist three bills. And it is even more expensive than the first three. But it is just more of the same.
The Reid bill uses the word “tax” 183 times. It uses the word “shall” 3,607 times, and “must” 45 times. It taxes the health insurance Americans already have. It taxes medical “devices”. It taxes your purchase of aspirin from your Health Savings Account or Flexible Savings Account.
The fourth thing we learned on Saturday was how completely corrupt Congress has become. Senator Mary Landrieu, Democrat from Louisiana, bragged that she knows the legislation will hurt consumers, but she sold her vote for $300 million. Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson and Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln admit they know this bill will hurt their citizens, but they voted for the legislation for…well you guess what it takes to make a senator vote to tax the health insurance of their citizens.
Reid has instructed those Senators who are voting against the interests of their citizens (and have voters informed enough to be unhappy about this vote) to pretend that this is just a procedural vote. There will be another final vote after the legislation has been amended. But Reid wants the final bill passed before Christmas. Reid/ Pelosi and Obama have claimed they had a plan for the past year. Why have they hidden their plans from voters until now and pretend that they are beginning a real debate over the holiday season? They count on Americans being busy and distracted. They plan to buy or bully 60 votes again soon.
With $2.5 trillion in new spending and fortunes to be made or lost in the web of regulations and executive powers in the 2,074 pages of small print there will be very grateful special interests willing to reward those 60 votes for a government takeover of our health care. Still, an open wallet did not save New Jersey tax and spend Democrat Governor Corzine from defeat November 3.
We are where we started. This is not about doctors or hospitals or health. It is about politics; about taxes and spending and moving power to the special interests in Washington D.C. Big government won round one. Now, maybe, we will hear from America.
Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform and author of "Leave Us Alone -- Getting the Government's Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives."
Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform. Follow him on Twitter @GroverNorquist.