Thursday, June 28, 2012

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Taking A Deep Breath

As I wrote yesterday on this space BEFORE the Supreme Court decision 
on Obamacare:

“A complete upholding of the law will do little to improve its popularity.
In fact, public opinion, if it is upheld, will most likely intensify its
opposition, and bring out in November those who are against it,
particularly among independent voters, all seeking to vote for those who
would repeal it.”

The Court decision, somewhat unexpected by many who either support
Obamacare or oppose Obamacare, now re-emerges as a central issue of
the 2012 national elections, as it clearly was the central issue of the 2010
elections. Those elections resulted in a landslide against the Democrats
who then controlled both houses of Congress, as well as the presidency.
The national electorate was clearly in favor of repeal of this legislation,
as has been reinforced by virtually every poll since. With control of only
the U.S. house, but not the U.S. senate and the White House, Republicans
were powerless to repeal the Obamacare law. If, as some thought, only the
health insurance mandate would be ruled unconstitutional, it now appears
the Court would have found the whole law invalid. This would have then
removed Obamacare as a central issue of the 2012 campaign, and enabled
President Obama and his congressional allies to refashion the legislation to
their political advantage.

As matters now stand, however, all of the profound fiscal problems with
Obamacare, particularly its impact on federal debt, remain. PLUS, the
Court decision now unarguably makes the mandate a TAX. In fact, it is a
huge tax increase. If Obamacare were unpopular before this, it is now likely
to be even more so because it is officially a tax increase and thus, of course,
will have a negative impact on economic recovery.

Candidates for the U.S. house and senate can now be simply asked the
question: Do you support the repeal of the Obamacare tax increase? If
Republicans are skillful in demonstrating over the next several months just
how damaging to the economy and to the individual voter’s pocketbook
Obamacare truly is and will be, the political cost of the Supreme Court
decision to the Democrats will be immense.

The ball is now in Mitt Romney’s court. The GOP leaders of the Congress
have been given a political gift of historic dimensions.

Copyright (c) 2012 by Barry Casselman.  All rights reserved.

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