The furor over the Healthcare.gov website that is merely supposed to automate the process of determining if one is eligible or not for a federal health care subsidy and select a policy led President Obama today to unilaterally declare that all those millions whose policies health policies have been cancelled can continue them.
The problem is that under his own Obamacare law, those plans are strictly illegal. They didn’t measure up under the Affordable Care Act, so out they had to go. They are now against the law (wrongly so, but that’s another story), and actually cannot be offered. Obama is president, not dictator. But, like other exemptions he’s used “executive” power to ignore, here we go.
Also today the president will speak at an ArcelorMittal steel plant in Cleveland, Ohio, on the economy and manufacturing.
We’ve stressed for years now that the federal regulatory burden is so great, that, when we ignore it, we ignore government’s largest role in the economy and the primary weight on economic health and jobs. In House of Representatives testimony we’ve offered some extensive recommendations to get manufacturing, production and wealth creation back on track.
Since Obama will focus on what government can “do,” here are some things it can “undo” instead since regulation is a hidden tax costing half the amount of the fiscal budget itself:
Existing Regulations: Implement a bipartisan regulatory reduction commission to eliminate rules; hold hearings and streamline the remainder
New Regulations: Disclose them in an annual regulatory report card mirroring the federal budget; experiment with regulatory budgeting (of costs, not benefits); require expedited congressional approval of regulations before they are binding; employ sunset dates at which time Congress would need to re-approve
Ultimately we must limit the power of government to coerce, and recognize that Congress cannot do anything it wants; that’s how we wound up with Obamacare in the first place, and with a stressed manufacturing sector, the issues of the day. We, as voters, don’t possess such power to compel our fellow citizens, and cannot delegate it to “representatives.”
The magnitude of the government’s power of compulsion extends well beyond the power to tax, as regulation and Obama’s lawlessness in exercise of executive power today exemplifies. Whether or not regulation does good or bad things matters greatly, but isn’t entirely the point. Something else that matters is recognizing the need to better measure regulation, and to recognize trade-offs.
Future observers may find taxation the lesser of the two components of governmental costs. In other words, it may be taxation that emerges as the real “tip of the costberg” while growing hidden costs of lawless regulation and interference looming unseen below the surface at last come into greater relief.
That certainly seems to be the case with Obamacare, where dollar costs seems swamped by unmeasured misery.