Ah, Christmas! The season of good cheer and caroling and presents under the tree!
So why is the US Congress and the Obama administration going instead with a more Halloween-type routine? You know, the one where they put a bag full of dog feces on the porch, set a match to it, ring the doorbell and run away.
Answer: They’re politicians. It’s what they do. And in their minds, it really is a gift they’re giving you.
As I write this, the US Senate has achieved “cloture” (a successful vote, requiring the support of 60 of the 100 Senators) on its version of ObamaCare, a piece of legislation falsely and cynically advertised as “health care reform” and formally titled “The Affordable Health Care for America Act.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has announced that he expects the Senate to pass the bill before Christmas.
The bill has little to do with “health care,” of course. It also has nothing to do with “affordability,” and what it does accomplish would, if truth in advertising rules were followed, be described as “to,” not “for,” America.
The poop in the bag is 100% pure Grade A corporate welfare, no more, no less. The bill’s central provision, referred to as “the individual mandate,” is an undisguised gunpoint “your money or your life” demand — write more checks to the insurance companies, or else.
Like I said, they’re politicians. It’s what they do. And hey, it’s the thought that counts, right?
As I’ve noted in this column a number of times, the primary function of government (any government, any type of government) is to transfer wealth from the pockets of the productive class (you) to the bank accounts of the political class (the politicians and those who successfully woo them).
From professional licensure laws to protect industry cartels from competition, to endless war to provide “defense” contractors with a lucrative raisson d’etre, to subsidizing Big Insurance with the “individual mandate” — it’s all the same game, and in the post-WWII era the US government in particular has become quite adept at playing that game while pretending it’s doing other things entirely.
Note that I’m not trying to pass this off as a post-WWII American phenomenon by any stretch of the imagination. It’s part and parcel of the modern state’s history, observed and satirized at least as early as 1845 by French political economist Frederic Bastiat in “The Candlemakers’ Petition.”
Many have described “the people” as sheep being sheared or cows being milked. While those metaphors were once quite apt, I believe that America has passed out of that phase and into one of plain, unadorned cannibalism. The politicians and their masters have given themselves completely over to their appetites, unwilling — unable — to accept the fact that they’ve long since ceased merely to bag some wool or bottle some milk and are now tearing at the living flesh of their victims.
It’s a natural error. Livestock is livestock, and the leap from dairy to beef isn’t a great one. We’re what’s for dinner. Past and present experiments of this kind of menu expansion — the Soviet Union, the Third Reich, the People’s Republic of China, every backwater state socialist hellhole you can think of come to mind — demonstrate the end state at which we can expect to arrive if we continue to tolerate that error.
Look under the tree at your gifts. The one marked “from Barack, Harry and Nancy” is shaped rather like a sausage grinder, don’t you think? And by way of holiday reciprocity, they expect you to run some of yourself through it. Merry Christmas.