Friday, November 1, 2013

Liberals' Two Trick Pony

Obviously, with the rollout of Obamacare, liberals are in a tight spot.  And we know why.  It goes back to Hillarycare and the "Harry and Louise" TV commercials run by the insurance industry.

Harry and Louise liked their health insurance and they didn't think that a plan devised by a Hillarycare bureaucrat would be good for them.

That's why President Obama had to lie, again and again, and say that if you like your plan you can keep your plan.  Otherwise no Obamacare.

In the Weekly Standard the able Jay Cost has just analyzed the political situation Obamacare represents.  He says that it's like the First New Deal with its top-down corporatism, the Agricultural Adjustment Act -- which required farmers to plow in their wheat and kill little piglets -- and the National Industrial Recovery Act -- which set prices and wages throughout the economy according to NRA "codes."  The First New Deal was a political expression of the Progressive era's faith in "the management of the entire American economy by technocratic experts for the greater good."

Obviously there is a ton of this top-down technocracy in Obamacare.  That's the whole point behind setting minimum standards for health plans.  Foundation policy analysts and government technocrats know better than ordinary people.  Everyone from the president to his press secretary have recently told the American people that their old policies were no good.  They needed the new ones with better coverage.

But the New Dealers pivoted after a couple of disastrous years to the Second New Deal.
It was the failure of the First New Deal that brought about the rights-oriented Second New Deal, and with it Social Security, the National Labor Relations Act guaranteeing labor unions the right to organize, and eventually the Fair Labor Standards Act providing for a federal minimum wage. Liberalism shifted from attempting to manage the economy directly toward supplying the downtrodden with tools to fight their own battles.
Better hurry up repeal Obamacare, writes Cost, or the "rights" side of it, the subsidies, will win the day for the Democrats, and nobody will dare take those benefits away.

But I think that Cost misunderstands where we are politically.  He is assuming that the politics of Obamacare will play out merely as a ruling-class power play.  I don't agree.

I think that Obamacare will provoke a movement of rejection in the suburban middle class.

The Democrats have done a pretty good job since the demolition of George H. W. Bush in dividing the middle class.  They have done this by making the "economically conservative, socially liberal" middle class ashamed of the social conservatives.  The high point of this political thrust occurred when George W. Bush ran as a "compassionate conservative."  Didn't matter: the Democrats insisted all along that Bush was a religious bigot and social neanderthal.

As long as the economy was tricking along, the divisive strategy worked.  And let us not forget the moderate Democrats that were run in 2006 and the healing words of Candidate Obama to end the division of red states versus blue states.  A whole generation of young people were successfully raised in our government schools to believe in the liberal way.

But the reality of Obama provoked an immediate reaction.  We call it the Tea Party.  It rolled to an astonishing 63 seat pickup in the House of Representatives in the 2010 midterms.  Then, as we know, the Lois Lerners got to work at the IRS and slowed the Tea Party momentum.  Also, Obamacare hadn't actually been implemented so as you would notice until last week.

Now the American people, non-political middle-class people, the Harrys and Louises, are finding out that they can't keep their health plans.

At this point there is no telling what will happen.

But I suspect that the politics of Obamacare can't be confined into a ruling-class inside-the-Beltway power play.  The Obamacare issue will spill out into the country and will energize people that never took any interest in politics.  It may even teach the mind-numbed Millennials a thing or two.

My line is that average middle-class Americans belong to the People of the Responsible Self.  They experience themselves as individuals responsible individually for the conduct of their lives.  When the ruling class enacts its big government programs it denies the average middle class the right and the opportunity to live a meaningful live as responsible and productive citizens.

There has to be a consequence for a ruling class that cruelly and unjustly denies its people the right to live as responsible, contributing citizens.

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