The sequester is now the new fiscal cliff (all by itself). And of course, the fiscal cliff was the new health care reform. Can we get through a single quarter without some new manufactured crisis? I mean, aren’t there enough real ones?
As you already know, unless President Obama and Congress can strike some sort of bargain, the ax will fall on $1.2 trillion in spending over the next decade. Now, my first response is, “You say that like it’s a bad thing.” Hell, we could probably use more. And I’m sorry but I'm one of those across-the-board kinda guys who are pretty confident government waste isn’t confined to any particular department.
But I also understand such Draconian cuts could have a ripple effect that might stall out the economy as a whole when its recovery is blazing along as such a healthy clip. And why is everyone more worried about who’s at fault for this mess instead of just fixing it?
And, for the record, both parties agreed to this deal before they promptly disagreed about reaching any other kind of deal, which is how we got back to this deal. So, again, all those pots and kettles are black. Remember, this sequester was meant to be a “nuclear option” so catastrophic no politician would go near it. Well, here we are, and if they’re not that worried about it, why should we be?
In other news, the deadline came and went for the states to settle on the exchanges, and whadya know, it’s almost a straight up spilt. The feds will run the exchanges in 26 states, far more than the authors of the law intended, and a pretty startling figure. And just like that, we’re literally more than halfway to federalized health care in this country. And, strangely enough, every single one of those states is red. Or at least salmon. Which worries me because those Republican governors, legislatures and/or voting blocks were supposed to be our last line of defense against a federalized health care system and they’ve already surrendered half the battle. Unless they’re setting up some kind of brilliant political rope-a-dope, we’re in trouble.
Finally, as I sat here plucking away at this week’s rant, one of my more hard-lined colleagues burst into my office to ask about our Obamacare coverage. Did we cover this deadline or that extension? After about five minutes of interrogation, it occurred to me that he was trying to set up some kind of defense for those Republican governors and lawmakers, as if the health reform law was so confusing that they had no choice but to give up (wish I could use that line on the IRS).
And it may be. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a massive, meandering bit of federal law. And sure, it's included more on-the-fly changes, waivers and extensions than most, but can you realistically expect any kind of huge federal law to be punctual? Hell, they can’t even get highways and bridges done in time…