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February 23rd, 2010 10:20 am
Slow-Motion Government
Posted by Print

In the President’s shiny new once-over-lightly-with-a-higher-price-tag health care proposal (too vaguely written, it seems, for the CBO to score the economic impact), parts of it are implemented all the way to 2018, when the excise tax on expensive health care plans kicks in (and kicks anyone who has one in the groin). 

Many people who believe they don’t have one of those “Cadillac” plans now are likely to find that they do have one by 2018.

Also in the proposal, the fines for those incorrigible scoff-laws who stubbornly refuse to yield to the so-called “individual mandate” start small and progressively increase by year.

Call that slo-mo government, which has the distinct and not-to-be-overlooked advantage that all who impose it will likely have gone on to greater or lesser rewards by the time the populace actually catches on.

As David Brooks points out in his column this morning, “The odds are high that the excise tax will never actually happen.”  But that excise tax (along with other tricks in the bill) is what allows the whole house of cards to be nominally (and nominally only if you are deceiver or deceived) “deficit neutral.”  We thus face punitive taxation or fiscal disaster.

In a different slo-mo government development, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has informed some unruly coal-state Senators (all Democrats) that they shouldn’t get all worried about that EPA plan to regulate greenhouse gases.  It will now be “phased in” beginning in 2011, so as not to upset the fragile economy. 

Hit the buzz saw with your overreaching, did you, lady?  By 2011, the science on which the EPA determinations are being made will be so discredited that the EPA will have to cop an insanity defense.

There are good and rational reasons for phased-in government projects (such as you don’t build the bridge until you’ve got the road to it, even if it’s going nowhere), but the two aforementioned are not among those.  They are examples of government folly, the former predicted, the latter now being acknowledged.

In the meantime, where are the fast forward projects to get us out of our economic mess?  You know, some stuff the people actually want the government to do.

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