America Needs a Second Political Party
America needs a second political party.
That’s not a typo. What currently exists in Washington, DC, is a de facto UniParty consisting of Democrats who act like Democrats, Establishment Republicans who kowtow to, or collaborate with, those Democrats, and a small portion of genuine conservatives who belong to a group called the Freedom Caucus.
When Barack Obama was president, the Republican-controlled House voted to repeal Obamacare or undermine it more than 60 times. The GOP-controlled Senate voted in favor of repeal in 2015, and a year later the House-reconciled bill was sent to Obama for a certain veto. “With this bill, we are standing for life,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said at the time. “We are confronting the president with the hard, honest truth: ObamaCare doesn’t work.”
In short, one would have been delusional to believe that after seven years of efforts aimed at dismantling health care legislation destined for a death spiral engendered by pie-in-the-sky assumptions, Republicans wouldn’t be ready to hit the ground running the day after the election of Donald Trump gave the GOP full control of the federal government.
They hit the ground — with a resounding thud.
How bad was the bill they cobbled together? A Quinnipiac University poll taken last week revealed 56% of voters gave it a thumbs down, while just 17% supported it, numbers that are worse than the current approval rating for ObamaCare. Even more pathetic, the Establishment GOP and Trump, with ample help from the media, blames the conservative House Freedom Caucus for its demise.
Why them? Because they had the temerity to point out the bill was nothing more than ObamaCare-lite, just as fiscally unsustainable as its predecessor.
They were exactly right. Republicans reprised the same mistake Democrats made with ObamaCare, namely trying to fix the problems of health care insurers, rather than addressing the broken relationship between health care providers and health care consumers — one completely distorted by those same insurance companies.
How distorted? “It’s a fundamental economic truth that too much health insurance actually increases costs,” explains Independent Institute senior fellow John R. Graham. He reveals that, as recently as the 1960s, “just under half of health spending was controlled directly by patients” and costs paid by insurers were largely tied to hospitalization. Today only 11% of health care spending is directly controlled by patients. “We need to do more than repeal and replace the ACA,” he states. “We need to repeal insurers' and governments' control over our health spending and replace it with a payment system controlled directly by patients.”
In other words, the GOP would be forced to confront a system “based on parasitic predation by all the cartel players [that] cannot be reformed or saved from its own perverse incentives and skyrocketing costs,” as columnist Charles Hugh Smith argues. A system where the U.S. spends more on health care than every other advanced nation by a considerable margin. A system, as a 2010 report by the Institute of Medicine at the National Academies of Science reveals, in which $765 billion of the $2.5 trillion spent on U.S. health care that year was wasted.
As Graham reminds us, “[C]ontrol by third-party payers is not some law of nature. It is the result of deliberate policies that can be amended or reversed.”
The GOP bill did nothing to address that reality.
Trump gets no pass either. If reports are accurate (and frankly there’s no reason to doubt them), the details of the legislation were not as important to him as getting something passed. “Forget about the little s—t,” he reportedly told the Freedom Caucus in reference to the particulars of the legislation. Sorry, but the symbolism of passage over the substance of genuine reform doesn’t cut it, Mr. Trump.
Last Friday, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) introduced a two-page bill to simply repeal ObamaCare with the intent of showing American voters “who really wants to repeal Obamacare and who merely acts that way during election time.”
The bill has no co-sponsors.
Moreover, Republicans and Trump are “moving on,” with Trump willing to let ObamaCare die, just to prove what a rotten law it is. That it will inflict untold misery on millions of Americans in the meantime? Trump apparently believes those Americans will blame Democrats for that misery.
The bet here is Americans will focus their anger an Establishment-led GOP that likes the trappings of power, but not the responsibility of using it to advance their agenda.
What agenda? Americans voted three times to stop ObamaCare, runaway spending, unfettered illegal immigration, sanctuary cities, military adventures with no intentions of achieving victory, and the social degeneration highlighted by revelations Planned Parenthood was harvesting aborted fetal tissue and selling it. What they got was meaningless ObamaCare repeals, GOP-approved budgets that fully funded Obama’s executive orders making certain classes of illegals legal, sanctuary cities and Planned Parenthood, while abiding Obama’s decimation of military preparedness to pre-WWII levels.
Now? Attorney General Jeff Sessions is vowing DOJ funds will be withheld from sanctuary cities, but where is a GOP-controlled Congress that could seriously up that ante with a bill cutting even more funding, while simultaneously restoring the Rule of Law?
Trump’s “skinny budget?” Some Republicans are reportedly worried the budget debate could trigger another government shutdown for which they would be blamed.
Tax reform? What could be simpler than the passage of a flat or fair tax, and the lowering of the highest corporate tax rate in the world to bring jobs back to America? A sentence from a Wall Street Journal article says it all:
“Democrats say they won’t compromise on core principles in the course of supporting the fiscal measures or a tax overhaul that is a top priority of Mr. Trump and his party.”
Democrats are in complete disarray at the state and local level, and a minority in both chambers of Congress, but they won’t compromise on their core principles.
Republicans? Walking on ideological eggshells, save for the same Freedom Caucus being vilified by both parties and the president — for standing on principles. Conservative principles people like Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) espouse when it’s time to get elected, but water down — or abandon — when elections are over.
The same conservative principles Establishment GOPers likely imagined they could largely ignore — because they never imagined Trump would get elected.
But Trump was elected — because Americans overwhelmingly voted for change. Millions of voters disgusted by a Ruling Class status quo that moves inexorably leftward, courtesy of a Democrat Party committed to its core principles of ever-expanding government, fiscal suicide and the “fundamental transformation of the United States” into a EU-style welfare state where entitlements — absent the funds to pay for them without massive levels of legal and illegal immigration — reign supreme.
Republicans? The consummate Titanic deck chair re-arrangers whose core principles are as “solid” as over-cooked linguine, lest they be forced to endure the wrath of Democrats and their media allies. Better to blame the “ultraconservative” wing of their own party, the faction of Republicans who actually have principles and are willing to stand by them.
The real lesson behind the GOP’s failure to repeal ObamaCare? Millions of Americans beginning to realize they have no representation in Washington, DC.
That’s why we need a second political party.