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…and Obamacare will fix it all

One of the great problems in politics today is not the laws that are being passed, though many are quite troubling. It’s not the partisanship that has gridlocked Congress, though that is pervasive and adds to the problem. It’s the fact that there is no consideration of the consequences of what is being shoved into law.

Obamacare is of course a great example. Here we have a partisan law, passes without being read, that the public has never wanted, touted as the great fix to healthcare insurance woes. So far, the website cost 3x it’s initial estimate and is inferior to similar sites by 10 years of technology. Millions are finding out that “affordable” is a relative term, rarely matching the hype that this law has been surrounded by. Hundreds of thousands are quickly learning that keeping the insurance and doctors they have and like is not an option – or when it is, it is too expensive to be realistic.

Is this because healthcare reform was a bad idea? NO. Was it because of the partisan gridlock? Partially, as excluding reform ideas from across the isle limits the effectiveness of any law. Is it because partisan ideology demanded that politicians not pause for a moment to reflect (or read) what they were doing. The consequences of their actions were of no concern in the face of getting it done. Mere years later and already havoc is starting to play out, with no end in sight of how long the dominoes will fall.

All of that, and the worst consequence of all. Partisanship sold the Rights of America on the cheap. A precedent has been made that Government has a Right above the people. If the Government can make everyone do one thing, it can make them do anything. Maybe not this Administration, or even the next, but eventually it will happen because absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Still, this is not the only example. Look at the Obama Stimulus, which was another speedy race to pass a law that few understood the scope of. In June of 2009 it was found, by the Associated Press, that food was literally being taken out of the mouths of the public.

“People are finding out that because of the extra $25 they cannot decline, calculations made including this money is placing Americans over the Government limits for food stamps and other forms of aid. The range of the loss is unknown (and likely to remain so), but the AP provided an example – costing a family $300 in food stamps they now cannot receive.”

Perhaps the best example is all the bluster about the national debt. Each side keeps talking about how devastating the cuts are and how big a cut is being made. Except they leave out that the cuts are reductions in the future increases in spending. And even then Congress tries to find ways to spend money it doesn’t have and evade laws it put in place to prevent spending more. If you think that anyone is being honest on the debt, try and find one person who has stated the impact of interest rates increasing to just the level since 1980′s (4.25%). You won’t find that in any plan of debt reduction – which is odd since it will nearly overnight add several trillions of dollars to the debt, assuming not another dime is spent.

The problem is that Government thinks it can fix it all. Congress thinks that enough short-term fixes will patch up any problem forever. More than a few elected officials are quite happy riding the fence on issue after issue, making a few well placed comments to keep constituents in the dark and their re-election secure; knowing full well that at some point it will be time to pay the reaper. Except that politician won’t be around to worry about it, apparently they hope.

If all you want are 30-second soundbites, the headline is all you need from this commentary. You can vote for whatever politician makes the best empty promise you like – such as Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s, ‘You need to pass it to find out what’s in it.’ If you think that Government is filled with people endowed by an election with knowledge that surpasses the norm, simply because they won, there are plenty of politicians that act as if they are nobility (like Sen. Schumer for one example) that you can vote for.

But be prepared. Voter apathy combined with the political ambitions of too many in Congress have led to consequences that we are really not able to kick down the road without consequence any more. Our credit rating is in danger, our energy independence is questionable, our freedoms are eroding, and our economic stability is in jeopardy. If you believe that simply fixing the bugs on a website will resolve the holes in Obamacare, you really won’t like what probably will happen over then next several years.

Politicians are not soothsayers, nor should they try to be. But reasonable attempts to think more than 1 election down the road, combined with taking the time to pass laws that are actually meaningful and what voters want isn’t too much to expect. Having a Congressman that can actually take a position and stand by it would be a nice change in the New York 22nd Congressional District as an example; and if that Representative could also try to pass a law that might benefit constituents and the nation, well that would be a night worthy of fireworks.

Until voters take on politicians and vote out those that are the worst in preserving their power at the cost of quick fix gimmicks and finger-pointing, dominoes will fall where we least expect them, leaving us a weaker and less great nation.

It doesn’t have to be like that. We can have better laws, better Representatives and Senators. We can have a better Government that is smaller and more controlled. All we need to do is vote.

***Michael Vasquez is exploring a run for the New York 22nd Congressional District in 2014.***

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