Obamacare and Atlas Shrugged
Obamacare as a policy is so bad that it resembles a scene in an Ayn Rand novel
Just like Clark Kent could change into Superman, President Obama has a remarkable ability to change into King Obama. Tired of that pesky Constitution? Irritated that the Founding Fathers created a system based on separation of powers?
Well, there’s a superhero to overcome those obstacles.
Faster than a last-minute Obamacare reg! More powerful than the Tenth Amendment! Able to leap the enumerated powers clause in a single bound! (“Look! Up in the sky!” “It’s a bird!” “It’s a plane!” “It’s Super President!”)… Yes, it’s Super President … strange visitor from corrupt Chicago, who came to Washington with powers and hubris far beyond those of the Founding Fathers! Super President, who can change the course of the Constitution, bend the Bill of Rights in his bare hands, and who, disguised as Barack Obama, mild-mannered uniter who stops the rise of the oceans and heals the planet, fights a never-ending battle for redistribution, statism, and the French way!
And what has our superhero done lately? He’s arbitrarily and unilaterally changed the Obamacare law.
Since it’s the 18th time he’s done that, this may not seem very newsworthy. But the latest change is particularly interesting because the President is ordering certain companies to maintain their existing payrolls.
Check out this blurb from a Fox News story.
Obama officials made clear in a press briefing that firms would not be allowed to lay off workers to get into the preferred class of those businesses with 50 to 99 employees. …Firms will be required to certify to the IRS–under penalty of perjury–that ObamaCare was not a motivating factor in their staffing decisions. To avoid ObamaCare costs you must swear that you are not trying to avoid ObamaCare costs.
When this story first came to my attention, thanks to James Taranto, something seemed eerily familiar. Where had I read about a government ordering companies to freeze in place their employment levels?
I went through all the usual suspects in my mind. Was it Argentina? Was it France? How about California? And then it struck me that life was imitating fiction. Obama’s policy is so bad that it resembles a scene in an Ayn Rand novel.
In Rand’s most famous work, Atlas Shrugged, the political elite try to halt the economy’s decline by imposing Directive 10-289, which seeks to freeze in place all factors of production – including the number of workers at each firm. (While searching online to get the details of Directive 10-289, I saw that John Sexton, writing for Breitbart, beat me to the punch.)
All workers, wage earners and employees of any kind whatsoever shall henceforth be attached to their jobs and shall not leave nor be dismissed nor change employment.
Obama’s latest diktat doesn’t go nearly as far as Directive 10-289, thankfully, but it’s more than a bit disturbing that we’ve gotten to the point where a bunch of hacks in Washington think that they have the right to tell private companies how many people they’re allowed to have on the payroll.
And what is really disturbing is that this isn’t the first time that the real-world unfolding of Obamacare has resembled a scene from Atlas Shrugged. Back in 2011, I wrote about how the waiver process for escaping the law was almost identical to the corrupt system of unfreezing railroad bonds in the book.
But I guess we shouldn’t be surprised.
Daniel J. Mitchell, a long standing contributor to The Commentator, is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, the free-market, Washington D.C. think tank. His articles are cross-posted on his blog by agreement
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