House Republicans should support President Barack Obama’s plan for a jobs program with one major proviso: In the jobs bill, he must agree to completely and unmitigatingly repeal Obamacare, his national healthcare plan.
Obama’s new proposal, set to be fully released Thursday night, is a sign of both the country’s dire economic straits and the political desperation the president finds himself facing.
The latest jobs report showed no growth in the employment picture for August. The numbers are actually more dismal when one considers that the federal statisticians continue to shrink the number of people in the workforce, keeping the employment rate artificially high.
No one disagrees that we need more jobs for the economy. Paying for infrastructure for roads and bridges as part of a jobs program is not a bad idea and a positive investment for the future.
Still, I wish Obama and the Congress would agree to across-the-board tax cuts that have worked so effectively in recent decades to spur economic growth. But we know Obama hates tax cuts.
The Republicans have no real incentive to be nice to Obama and give him his jobs program, which would certainly help boost his re-election chances next year. They have been treated cynically and disparagingly by the Obama administration.
During the debt-ceiling crisis, Obama dragged the country and the economy through the mud for months as he tried to get Congress to agree to new taxes with passage of a ceiling increase. In the end, Obama capitulated, giving Congress what they should have gotten all along, which was promises of spending reductions and no tax increases.
A ranking member of the Republican leadership told me the situation got so bad that they had no idea who was really running the White House, or who they could speak to to get an answer regarding Obama’s position on any matter.
|Boehner, Obama during debt-ceiling debate.
Worse, during the difficult negotiations, Obama kept changing the goal posts in the middle of the game, making it difficult for House Republicans ever to reach a compromise deal.
The Obama administration treats the House Republicans with contempt, so the president can hardly expect respect and reciprocity.
My proposal: If the president wants to get a big jobs program, the Republicans should put a flag in the ground and say they’ll do it as long as he repeals Obamacare.
Shortly after the last congressional election, Obama promised he’d fix some of the outrageous parts of Obamacare, saying he was willing to consider “tweaks” to the program. For one thing, his administration announced support for a bill to repeal a tax filing requirement in the healthcare reform package that would unduly burden small businesses.
Already we know that Obamacare is causing personal and business health insurance costs to skyrocket due largely to the mandate, already in effect, that forces insurance policies to drop annual limits on how much the health insurer must pay.
Last month, Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, the ranking Republican on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, confirmed at a hearing that Obamacare has driven up insurance premiums and warned that premiums are estimated to rise by 9.4 percent in 2014, the year full implementation of the healthcare law takes place.
A recent court ruling seemed to offer hope that all or part of Obamacare may be ruled unconstitutional.
But here again, the Obama administration has been playing a stalling game in the courts, and a likely Supreme Court ruling that will decide the matter once and for all might not come until 2013 at the earliest. Meanwhile lower court rulings have allowed Obamacare to continue to be implemented pending a final court ruling on the matter.
If Obama would agree to repeal Obamacare, it probably would help his political viability with the 2012 election approaching.
First, it would improve the country’s finances. It wouldn’t cost the country an additional $1 trillion in new spending, not to mention the exorbitant new healthcare costs that everybody with health insurance will have to pay for all the previously uninsured people and those with pre-existing conditions who are going to be slammed to the insurance rolls.
Obamacare also decimates Medicare, which hurts seniors who have paid into the system for much of their lives.
Seniors voted overwhelmingly against the Democrats in the last congressional election, and I have a feeling they are not going to look kindly on President Obama in 2012 with Obamacare still alive.
Not only did Obamacare cut $500 million directly from Medicare to help pay for tens of millions of younger people to be added to the healthcare system, it also added a new independent payments board that will oversee future Medicare cuts without any real oversight from Congress or the administration. It is a dangerous program for seniors.
The art of politics is the art of compromise.
If Obama really wants this jobs program and so strongly feels he needs a conjoint session of Congress, the Republicans should stake out a pretty big demand in exchange.
They want Obamacare to be tanked. Voters in the last congressional election gave their verdict on Obamacare as the Republicans won a landslide number of seats.
I think we could have a similar electoral verdict in next year’s presidential election if Obama doesn’t see the light.
Christopher Ruddy is CEO and editor of Newsmax Media Inc.
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