Becoming the most hypocritical politician in America is not an easy goal to achieve, but New York’s Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Democrat, is up to the task.
Earlier this year, the Obama administration began rewarding its union friends and others with an escape from the clutches of Obamacare. Now one of the most outspoken Obamacare supporters - the man who actually said, “I wrote the bill … the bill and I are one” wants his own “get out of jail free” card from this abominable law.
Moments of unmistakable clarity may not always find their way to the president’s teleprompter, but occasionally, the curtains are pulled back on “the most open and transparent [administration] in history” to reveal what its footsoldiers think of their own law. This conflict between politicians’ words and deeds is nothing new, of course, nor is the selective enforcement of bad laws.
In 2007, the Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), the defunct leftist group with close ties to President Obama, was a vigorous proponent of the “living wage,” a euphemism for increasing the minimum wage. Long before the organization collapsed in the wake of group leaders exposing themselves as eager enablers of child prostitution and reorganized under a new name, ACORN sought an exemption - its own waiver - from the minimum-wage laws it professed to love.
Ironically, the community organizers had their own moment of clarity about the destructive nature of minimum-wage laws: “The more that ACORN must pay each individual outreach worker - whether because of minimum wage or overtime requirements - the fewer outreach workers it will be able to hire.” Finally grasping the inescapable reality that minimum-wage laws increase unemployment, these big-government types refused to abandon their pursuit of the destructive laws and instead simply wanted an exemption from them, an uneven playing field, instead of better laws that would benefit all Americans.
Fast-forward four years, and the community organizer in the White House evidently has had his own moment of clarity about the unholy health care law that bears his name. Obamacare is already leaving a trail of destruction. Despite promises to the contrary, Mr. Obama’s own Medicare chief actuary estimates that up to 20 million Americans may lose their current health insurance. Despite promises to the contrary, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates Obamacare will destroy 800,000 jobs. Despite promises to the contrary, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently admitted cooking the books by double-counting $500 billion toward both Medicare savings and Obamacare implementation funds and admitted that a major program within Obamacare, the CLASS Act, is - in her words - “totally unsustainable.” As a direct result of this government takeover, many insurance companies already have been forced to raise their premiums or drop out of the Medicare Advantage program, while others no longer offer policies for children, and still others have simply closed their doors.
So how does the White House respond to this unraveling? With more waivers. HHS acknowledges issuing 1,040 “get out of jail free” cards to unions and other friends. Five states have been graced with their very own Obamacare waivers, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee and, newest pampered friend, Maine. Why Maine? According to the administration, Obamacare “has a reasonable likelihood of destabilizing the Maine individual health insurance market.”
If you happen to live in one of the other 45 states, don’t worry. The same administration that predicted its $787 billion so-called “stimulus” spending spree would keep unemployment below 8 percent predicts that you’ll be just fine.
Sweetheart deals for friends is nothing new when it comes to Obamacare. Just ask Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson or Louisiana Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, both Democrats, who struck their respective Cornhusker Kickback and Louisiana Purchase backroom deals. Or ask AARP. The interest organization for persons age 50 and older endorsed Obamacare - despite $500 billion in Medicare cuts - and was rewarded with a tax exemption on its highly lucrative Medigap policies. Or ask the American Medical Association. The AMA may represent just 17 percent of American doctors, but it endorsed Obamacare despite the fact that the majority of doctors oppose it, and the AMA will keep the government as a customer in its lucrative ICD-9 diagnosis-coding business.
Now Mr. Weiner wants in on the action. Why? He thinks escaping Obamacare would mean that New York City “can save money and have more control over its own destiny.” Regular Americans need not apply.
Such is the standard operating procedure for big-government types: Impose ever-increasing burdens on hardworking Americans who play by the rules and don’t have best friends in Washington or armies of lobbyists at their disposal or millions of dollars for campaign contributions. This sickening display shows that, at best, this administration is admitting that Obamacare is unraveling, in part, because its one-size-fits-all, big-government plan simply cannot accommodate all the unique needs of 310 million patients. At worst, its pay-for-play, politics-as-usual scheme is enriching administration cronies on the backs of everyone else. As Mr. Weiner said, “A lot of people who got waivers were … people who are our friends.”
The question remains: If Obamacare is such a great law, why does the White House keep exempting its best friends from it?
If we hope to have, as John Adams said, a government of laws and not of men, every American must be afforded equal protection under the law. Every power we have ever granted to the government has always been at the expense of personal liberty, but when we grant government the unholy power to choose arbitrarily who among us will be winners and who will be losers, we grant it the power to make losers of us all.
Americans deserve a level playing field. If one American deserves an exemption from a bad law, all Americans do. Repeal Obamacare.
Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a Washington Times columnist, is a board-certified diagnostic radiologist and President Obama’s cousin. He blogs at miltonwolf.com.