Even by the standards of Washington, this is one sick, twisted and deceitful deal. Quite possibly, it is a whole new low, even for the federal government.
Had we innocent, taxpaying citizens not long ago lost our capacity to be outraged by the disgraceful manner in which this place operates, we would already be in all-out political revolt. Against President Obama. Against Democrats in Congress. And, especially, Republicans.
Literally, revolutionary wars have been fought over less.
Last week, while many Americans spent hard-saved money on long-overdue vacations, the snakes and weasels inside the federal bureaucracy schemed until they hatched an evil plan. It would feather their own nests with more of your money, protect themselves from the ravages of the laws they foist upon us, desecrate our Constitution and then smear us with insult so putrid it would make a roadside vulture gag.
All the legal, constitutional and parliamentary maneuvering is enough to confuse Albert Einstein, but here is the bottom line: Congress and staff managed to get themselves exempted from the single, most-punishing aspect of Obamacare.
Yes, you should be sharpening the tines of your pitchforks.
Back when the president and his henchmen rammed Obamacare through Congress, Republicans inserted a key provision requiring that whatever Frankenstein healthcare boondoggle got yoked upon the hardworking American people would also be yoked around the necks of every congressman and staffer on Capitol Hill. Mr. Obama, being the slick fellow that he is, made sure it did not apply to him or anybody working for him in the White House.
The noble idea was that if they were seizing control of our titanic — yet still largely functioning — health care system and started ramming into every passing iceberg, then, by God, they were not going to get to be first in line for the life boats. No, they were going to go down with the ship.
If Obamacare was good enough for the American people, it should be good enough for Congress.
Well, that was before the bill passed, when they still needed to get it through. Now, it simply will not do.
It turns out that the health care packages currently provided to Congress and their staff are so generous and the squalor that will be caused by Obamacare is so terrible that the health care law simply cannot be applied to such precious people.
The thought is so terrifying that staffers from both parties in both chambers of Congress declared they would quit if forced to endure Obamacare. To those of us paying the bills around here, this sounded like a great idea.
But the federal bureaucracy blanched in terror. There would be a mass exodus of “talent,” they shrieked. There will be a “brain drain!”
After all, without these people, who would come up with all these fantastic new laws like, say, Obamacare?
I mean, if it was “talent” and “brains” that got us into this mess, maybe it’s time to try something else. Like letting them all quit. Or exempting all Americans from Obamacare.
Instead, after personal pleas made directly to Mr. Obama, his administration quietly ruled last week in the dead of August that Congress and staff would be exempted.
Now they will dispute this and say that, indeed, they are being forced out of their cushy government health insurance plans and into the Obamacare health exchanges. This much is true. But there is a dirty, dirty secret. You are still paying for their insurance.
If a regular citizen makes $100,000 a year working for a private company and loses his insurance because of Obamacare, he must pay out of his pocket for the insurance he will be forced to purchase from the exchanges.
However, if you are a sainted congressional staffer earning $100,000 a year and enter the exchanges, guess who picks up the tab for your new insurance plan? That’s right, your employer, the federal government, the lowly taxpayer.
In other words, under Obamacare, the only people forced into the exchanges whose insurance will still be paid for by their employer will be members of Congress and their staff.
Not only is this sneaky, self-dealing and cynical, it is a dishonest bait-and-switch. And once again, we lowly taxpayers are the suckers who get stuck with the bill, get chained down by their terrible laws and laughed at all the way to the hospital.
⦁ Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @charleshurt.