“The politics and economics of health care are plain wacky. From the moment, in early 2009, when Obama backed away from the public option and embraced Romneycare, things have been turned upside down with liberals supporting a costly and hideously complicated giveaway to the health-care industry, and conservatives depicting a reform that originated at the Heritage Foundation as a socialist takeover. People on both sides are spouting claims that five years ago they would have dismissed as arrant nonsense.”
John Cassidy, “John Roberts and Mitt Romney: Two Peas in a Pod,” TheNewYorker
The GOP/Fox News machine is twisting itself into a pretzel over the “mandate is a tax” part of the Obamacare decision. They now effectively have their heads up their tushes.
First, they demonize Justice Roberts for calling the thing a tax. It’s not a tax, he’s wrong, he’s evil, he’s a moron.
But then, in the next breath, they turn around and start campaigning against Obama for imposing this horrible new tax. It is a tax. It is, it is! We are going to call it a tax every minute of every day from now till November.
So eight Supreme Court justices from both the left and the right agree that the mandate was purposefully written as a penalty and is not a tax. The GOP and Fox say these justices have interpreted the Constitution correctly, but when President Obama says it’s not a tax, he’s no legal scholar, he’s a liar.
You can say it’s not a tax if your name is Antonin Scalia, but not if your name is Barack Hussein Obama.
Mitt doesn’t know what his own immigration policy is. In an interview with far-right web site Newsmax, Mittens said illegals who come here as children should be able to gain permanent status if they serve in the military or have advanced degrees. This “advanced degrees” criterion was new and initially seemed to signal a more illegal-friendly policy change. But his campaign quickly yanked back the leash and said ix-nay on the advanced degrees deal.
Let’s cut him some slack. When you flip flop as much as he does on just about every issue, it’s not easy to keep track of what’s the policy dujour.
Peggy Noonan’s latest column — “Obama Has a Good Day (But liberty has a bad one)” — complains that “The ruling strikes me as very bad for the atmosphere of freedom in our country.”
You know, that wonderful freedom to choose not to have health insurance, crash your motorcycle into a truck, and stick your fellow Americans with hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills for your care. I’m sure that’s what the Founding Fathers saw as the essence of freedom, a God-given right to be a burden and a free-loader.
The GOP’s betrayal of the individual mandate they loved for two decades is worthy of John Edwards.
If the individual mandate had become law under President Bush or a President McCain, we all know Noonan would have been cheer-leading in a column that read “The ruling strikes me as very good for the atmosphere of personal responsibility in our country.”
At the European Summit, Italy, France, and Spain did their best to gang up on Germany, but didn’t get much in return. Merkel is still vehemently opposed to euro bonds, and I don’t see that changing, no matter what.
Italy and Spain will find it easier to get aid from the European bailout fund (the European Stability Mechanism or ESM), but the ESM didn’t get any more money. Its maximum is still about $633 billion, when Italy and Spain owe about five times that amount.
The ESM will put money directly into Spanish banks rather than using the Spanish government as a pass-through. And private bondholders of Spanish banks won’t be subordinate to government bond holders.
Such tiny steps have failed to satisfy the markets in the past.
By refusing to “go big,” Europe’s leaders are setting up the euro zone to go bust.