Thursday, June 28, 2012

What a disaster for the Democratic Party

Today is (ahem) "oversubscribed" at work, but while I usually don't post from work I left a slot for initial thoughts (so you're atypically getting this in real time).  The SCOTUS Obamacare decision is an utter catastrophe for the Democratic Party.  I'm actually almost speechless in admiration at how Chief Justice Roberts played this one.

Time prevents a complete update now, but here are first impressions:

1. This morning's post was spot on, even more so than I had though when I queued it up last night.  This is a political issue, and the SCOTUS forced the issue.  The intellectual ju-jitsu that Roberts just did to Nancy Pelosi is crystalline in its beauty.  Her approach was to go so big that the court would shy away from the issue.  By leaving the law in place as a tax, the Democrats are left with none of the benefits and all of the political cost of this decision.  Own it, Nancy.

2.  Americans really don't mind taxes when someone else pays them, but they hate taxes when they have to pay.  They hate it with the fire of a thousand suns, and while this may be hypocritical of them (give me benefits but don't tax me), that's how the American people roll.  This is now declared - as a matter of law - that this is a tax increase on the Middle Class.  And a whopping huge one at that.  Own it, Nancy.

3. Did you forget that Obamacare raided Medicare to the tune of a half trillion dollars?  The Democrats are now forced to acknowledge  that their philosophy is to tax poorer young people and the elderly (via reduced benefits) to implement their philosophy.  I gotcher Class Warfare right here, in the Majority Opinion.  Own it, Nancy.

4. The Insurance companies are screwed, and simply will not survive if the law is not repealed.  Remember how "if you like your health plan, you'll be able to keep it?"  Fuggetiboutit. The only things left standing in 5 years will be Medicare and Medicade (bankrupt, of course).  Most people liked their existing health plans, and now will find themselves in the Progressive Utopia of Single Payer.  They unsurprisingly, will hate this.  Own it, Nancy.

5. Up and coming Progressive pols have had to propose bigger and bigger programs to make their name and fame.  As with all systems, the big gains are at the beginning, and so with Progressive entitlements.  Now we're very far down that path, and the Democrats are holding a "great victory" that has an astronomic price tag that cannot be ignored.  All future Progressive proposals will be viewed with a lot more skepticism by the voters.  Future Progressive pols have just been unwittingly screwed by the Democratic Party.  Own it, Nancy.

Damn, I'm a jolly fellow.  More tomorrow, but right now today's oversubscribed.


Matt said...

While I can't deny the truth in your post, sometimes the simpler approach is best as Kennedy stated, "The entire act before him is unconstitutional".

If it's wrong just say so and stop it now, don't play some game to make the Dems look bad on election day.

Those games tend to blow up in one's face. Kind of like "gunwalker" did.

North said...

ObamaCare just became ObamaTax.

He is quoted as saying that taxes will go up.

There will be massive numbers of IRS SWAT team members hired to collect taxes.

Borepatch said...

Matt, I don't have time to go in depth this afternoon, but will for tomorrow. I think that Roberts was playing chess and Pelosi and the 4 liberal justices were playing checkers.

I think that we have just seen a fundamental shift in legal precident which will play out for years (in a good way), and the political landscape has just been reshaped as by an earthquake.

I'm quite frankly in stunned admiration.

Brock Townsend said...

One of my commenters mentioned

Comment on ObamaCare Decision Means Feds Will Continue to Cull Gun Owner Information

It was started in the Senate. Taxes have to start in the house. Just a faint glimmer.
I had forgotten about this and have seen no mention of such for quite awhile.

Matt said...

Borepatch, for the sake of my clarity, in spite of what I said, I really hope you're right. I actually like the guy, which is why I am so upset.

Jay G said...


How do you reconcile the media and democrats (but I repeat myself) crowing about this "victory" for Obama and the Democrats?

Look no further than the CNN home page:


The people won't give a hairy rat's ass about a tax two years from now.

They'll remember that "Obama won" the health care match up in four months, though...

North said...

"How do you reconcile the media and democrats (but I repeat myself) crowing about this "victory" for Obama and the Democrats?"

Jay: EVERYTHING is spun as a positive. It is the Obama propaganda machine. Ever listen to Debbie Wasserman Schultz? If so, a) I'm so very sorry. b) she spins EVERYTHING as a positive.

Not care about taxes in two years? It will be a visible thorn every year.

Duke said...

I might understand what you are saying but the average slob on the street just sees obama care is legal and the media will spin it as such. Things rarely work out as planned in situations like this. I never underestimate the dems and how they rebound. Social Security was just as hated in the day but now it is upheld by both parties as sacred.

Borepatch said...

Jay, GBBL is right, but some of these idiots think they actually won. They think this because they're playing checkers, not chess.

Here's why this will kill the Democratic Party:

In theory, people are compassionate to those who don't have insurance and can't get it. In practice, the Middle Class won't give up much to do anything about it. As it stands the Middle Class will give up their current insurance program (which they like) because the Insurance companies simply won't exist in 5 years. Costs will skyrocket as you see in Massachusetts, meaning the plans will get less generous, co-pays will go up dramatically, etc. This will hit people in the pocketbook, sooner rather than later.

Second, Medicare is toast, because it was raped to fund a big part of insurance for the uninsured. Seniors won't like this, because it will mean a cut back in benefits sooner rather than later. Hello, Death Panels.

Lastly, the States were going to be forced to fund a huge Medicaid expansion. This ruling kills that. The states will likely tell the Administration to get lost.

Net/net, the Middle Class loves benefits when someone else pays for it. That's what the law was intended to do. This ruling makes it very, VERY clear that the Middle Class itself is paying.

There's no spin in the world that can save the Donks here.

The Czar of Muscovy said...

BP, I think you nailed it on the head. There's a difference between winning the battle and losing the war, and I think Roberts just positioned the liberals into this spot. A tax is not unconstitutional; but a tax gives the conservatives several ways to defeat the legislation with no muss. After all, that's why the Dems insisted for so long it wasn't a tax. Because we don't need all three branches of government to defeat a tax. Actually, we don't even need the Senate: the House handles taxation.

Jay G said...


The taxes won't be instituted until 2014, that's what I meant. People won't see the taxes for two years - they'll LONG have forgotten about them by then.

In something like this, the people want - no, demand - that there be a "winner" and a "loser" - in fact, a good deal of their own personal identity gets wrapped up in whether their "side" "wins" or "loses" such matchups.

Whether or not it's true; whether or not at some murky point down the road it changes; the fact of the matter is that right now, Obama can and is spinning this as a major victory, a repudiation of the right's claim that his health care reform was unconstitutional.

*RIGHT NOW* is what matters to Obama - not some point two years into his second term. A big "victory" now is just what he needs - even if in two years the whole thing is overturned and forgotten...

The Democrats might be playing checkers to the GOP's chess, but they've also got the media trumpeting the *CHECKERS* match, and boy, they sure look like they're winning.

North said...

It still gives ammo to the Rs because it is a tax increase. The Rs will make noise that it is a tax increase, even if it isn't in effect until 2099.

Borepatch said...

Jay, the issue isn't the tax which will (mostly) fall on the young and healthy. The young (mostly) don't vote, and are more liberal anyway.

The problem is that the Insurance companies are in a panic, today. They thought they were grossly expanding their market (and profitability) by government fiat. Now they're in the worst of all possible worlds:

- They HAVE to grant insurance to people regardless of pre-existing conditions, and they can't charge those people higher premiums. They will get 30 million new customers, starting with the ones who are very sick. They'll lost enormous amounts of money on this.

- The tax won't go to them, it will go to the government.

They're on the road to extinction, and the only thing they can do is jack everyone's insurance rates up, right now, by a big, big bump. This is what will hit the Middle Class - they'll find that they're paying a lot more, for lower benefits, right away.

Now add in the seniors and what they HAVE to give up in Medicare, and the Democrats have kicked two hornets nests.

Stick a fork in them, they're done. We may even see an emergency Senate vote to repeal Obamacare before the election as desparate Democratic Senators scramble to keep their seats. I don't think that's likely, but I didn't think that was even possible before today.

Hoist, meet petard.

agirlandhergun said...

Seems like a dangerous game. I sure hope your right.

Jay G said...

WATimes agrees with my assessment:

Jay G said...

Ugh, hit "enter" before I meant to. WA Times agrees that the Dems are touting this as a major victory.

Remember, it is all about *perception*.

Insurance companies taking it in the shorts? That's GREAT for the Democrats, remember? They *hate* those big businesses, remember? Evil insurance companies, making money and all...

And brother, I love ya but... An emergency vote? To repeal Obamacare? Not in a million years.

Remember, I hope I'm wrong. I just doubt I will be...

Jay G said...

Oh, and re: tax increase. Are you serious? When the Bush tax cuts are about to expire, how is that framed?


Not "Hey, once these cuts expire, taxes will go up, ergo the Democrats are in favor of a tax increase".

BTW, just got the word you'll be joining us tonight. Capital news!

Goober said...

What about those of us that get to suffer for the next 5 years until this all comes to a head?

If I lose my health insurance, and lose the ability to pay for the drugs that I'm taking, I could be in a situation where I'm contemplating killing myself again in a few years. I'm ashamed to say that before they found out what was wrong with me and put me on the meds to put it down, I seriously considered it.

If you've never been there, i won't ask you to understand because you can't. The drugs I'm on cost $20,000 per year. When my health insurance company goes under, so do I. I lose my ability to get the meds I need.

John Roberts needs to not play chess with my health, goddamnit. THis isn't right. They need to just leave me the hell alone!

Jester said...

My concern with this is not what it may mean in the short term months or say five years but the unseen implications of such a ruling. Many others have mentioned things regarding this but what I'm concerned with is if this decision is used as precedent for any other number of things. Even if this "tax" gets the demonrats decimated at the polls for the next few years the damage could be longer lasting for the rest of us. What else can they toss in to place?

As a side note I'll measure the conviction of the GOP by this holder contempt vote. And the demonrats as well.

Brock Townsend said...

leave me the hell alone!

Leave us all the hell alone. Fair warning.

Anonymous said...

The only bright spot (sort of) is money is now pouring into the Mittens campaign to get Obama out. I also do not believe Justice Roberts was playing a "game" it is more likely he is trying to have his family not meet with heart attacks or unfortunate accidents.

Borepatch said...

Goober, send me an email with your phone number. I want to talk.

ASM826 said...

Whatever Roberts might have thought he was doing, now that Congress has a decision that they can make us buy things, health care is just the first. They'll make you buy all sorts of things before it's over.

I really thought this would go the other way, that we would pull back from the edge. It's a sad day and your spin on it isn't getting a lot of traction with me.

Old NFO said...

It's a tax, which is what was being said in 2010... NOW the dems DO own that. And I agree, this is going to bite the dems in the ass in Nov.

Anonymous said...

28 years ago I began a career in the insurance industry, specifically health insurance sales to self employed and small businesses. For years I made a decent living, not getting rich, but paying the bills. There were lots of companies in the market, and lots of competition. Then, in the early 1990's, I saw a huge shift. Where we once had several hundred insurance companies selling health insurance in Washington State, the market rapidly narrowed to about 8, then contracted to about 5. They had taken a bath, and were bailing out of the market as fast as they could. Washington State implemented a guaranteed issue window, and apportioned all the new people to seperate plans by market share. So what happened? Exactly what is mentioned above, the costs came home to roost, and the once competitive smaller companies couldn't absorb the hit.

I bailed, went back to school and began work in the health care industry.

The insurance companies survived, sort of. Not with much variation or options in plans, but my self employed patients could find insurance. Over the last 3 years, the cost has skyrocketed, and this is the finishing nail in the coffin.

The lights are going out, and the party is over. This is NOT retrievable folks.

You ain't voting your way out of this. There is no money for normal budgets, and the costs of health care just became a government expense, no longer covered by markets or free enterprise or competition.

There is no health care plan workable from a government viewpoint. Medicare failed, with 1 in 3 new Medicare participants unable to find a doctor already. Medicaid patients have NO specialty options, because the state pays so little and specialists see so much demand. Most are willing to take cash pay patients who pay up front, but no way do they take Medicare or Medicaid except in very small amounts.

Lights OUT!

Charles Lee Scudder said...

One angle I havent seen really covered with Roberts is one thing, it's him telling the American people "Stop being stupid and sending the nitwits into office, and letting them do this stupid stuff. We arn't always going to be there to fix your mess ups. In other words, stop being stupid with the responsibilities you have as a citizen."

Anonymous said...

Insurance companies will get new customers and the government will pay for it. Only other alternative is single payer.

Goober said...

Folks been wondering what's wrong with me. I posted it up over at my old blog that I haven't updated for over a year, but the short story long is that there is a genetic autoimmune condition that runs in my family that does a lot of goofy stuff to us, but one of those things is severe psoriasis and severe rheumatoid-style arthritis. In januray 2007, I had been bedridden for nearly a month because my back was so ate up with arthritis that I could hardly move without experiencing the most horrible pain imaginable. I'd been 90% covered* over my whole body with psoriatic lesions that burned and itched like a 4-day old third degree burn for almost a year with no reprieve. I was having trouble modulating my body heat, so I'd get dangerously hot (at one point I ran a fever of 102 degrees) and then 30 minutes later I'd be shivering uncontrollably (which hurt my back like hell).

I ended up in the emergency room more than once during this period. THey tried a bunch of different drugs and nothing worked - not even the drug that would cause me to have to get a liver biopsy every six months to make sure that it wasn't killing my liver.

It was right around this time that they discovered the new biologic medications worked for a wider spectrum of autoimmune diseases than they thought, and they tried me out on those. The arthritis more or less went away in two months, and the lesions are only spotty now, maybe 10% of my overall body.

If I lose my ability to afford that medication, I will almost surely fall right back into that hell.

*Imagine what areas consist of 90% of a man's body surface. Go ahead. Think on it for a while, and guys, tell me what you'd do if you felt like you had healing third degree burns "down there" for over a year...

Ted, I'm e-mailing you...

North said...

Light has been shined on the Democratic party. It fears the light.

Anonymous said...

You can spin this anyway you want but it was a devastating loss. Not only did 20% of the economy just get nationalized but a door was opened to do more via the taxing power. The Republican talk about repeal is just a campaign stunt. It is not going to happen. Romney campaign is already backing away from making it a major issue.

And if Roberts actually did cave under pressure or has defected to the left, there is worse to come. Everybody is speculating about what Roberts was thinking. How about some thought about what Obama is thinking now. I would bet he is trying to decide whether Roberts is a coward or a fool. Expect the pressure to ratchet up the next time a big issue comes up. It succeeded this time and thus incentivized future pressure.