Obamacare

ObamaCare's First Major Casualties

Why the new health care law is bad for gays and aliens

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It takes hard work to squander the kind of political clout Democrats have in this Congress, but they have managed quite nicely as the recent debacle with the defense appropriations bill eloquently demonstrates. Even though Democrats control 59 seats in the Senate, they could not avoid a Republican filibuster of a bill that has had smooth sailing for 48 years. This effectively kills all hope of repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell or passing the Dream Act—both measures that they were poised to attach to the legislation. (The Dream Act would have created a pathway to legal citizenship for children of undocumented aliens.)

But Democrats have no one but themselves—in particular Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's arrogance and ObamaCare's miscalculation—to blame.

This is not to suggest that Republicans behaved well in any of this. They didn't. As usual, they demagogued both issues, trotting out tired old tropes that are becoming boring even to refute.

Every one knows that it is only a matter of time before America throws Don't Ask into the dustbin of history. All civilized countries already allow their gay members to openly serve in the military without any noticeable effect on their military readiness, unit cohesiveness, or any of the other things that Republicans get worked up about. Indeed, Israel arguably has the best fighting force in the world even though it has always allowed—indeed, required—gays to serve, as I wrote last year. Yet Republicans wanted a defense study to confirm everything everyone already knows before signing off on a repeal.

Don't Ask, however, will eventually go given the growing and overwhelming public opposition to it—even in the military's own ranks. That is not the case with the Dream Act on which Republicans have inflamed public opinion almost to a point of no return. They called the Dream Act—yawn!—amnesty, an accusation that Democrats deny. They shouldn't. The Act, which would give children of illegal aliens who sign up for military service or obtain a college education a shot at citizenship, is amnesty. And there is nothing wrong with it.

In an age when everyone is vying for victimhood status, the Dream Act youth are among the few who are genuine victims. Their predicament is truly not their fault. They had no say in being brought to this country illegally. Many of them have no ties left to their home country, don't speak its language, and don't know its ways. They are in a legal no-man's land, having built a hearth in a country where they don't have an official home. Giving them legal status would be an easy call for anyone of goodwill—even those who want to slam the door shut on everyone else. Indeed, extending amnesty to children of undocumented aliens is not all that different from extending it to people fleeing persecution, something that our—and every free—country does.

But restrictionists have blinded themselves to all humanitarian considerations, regurgitating bogus talking points till they acquire an air of plausability. For example, they point out that the Dream Act would allow these children to pay in-state tuition in college, something that out-of-state American kids don't get. But the reason that it is fair to extend the in-state rate to these kids and not others is that their parents for years have contributed to their state's public colleges through sales, property and even income taxes.

Even more fallacious is the restrictionist argument that legalizing these kids will only encourage more illegal immigration. This sounds like an open admission that they have no intention of fixing the country's broken immigration system, the root cause of the problem. The reason poor, unskilled aliens have to sneak into this country is that there are very few visas available for them to enter legally. And if they are lucky enough to get one, it doesn't allow them to work in the country while applying for a green card or legal residency—unlike  H1-B visas that high skilled workers use. The idea that there is some kind of line that unskilled workers could stand in and wait their turn to gain legal residency is a complete figment of the restrictionist imagination.

Nor is it the case that denying amnesty would make an iota of difference to future rates of illegal immigration. People come here to escape their economic destitution. It is far more preferable to them to eke out a living in this country illegally—than face slow starvation in their own. That their children will be denied legal status at some point in the future will make no palpable difference to folks confronting a life-and-death situation now.

Be that as it may, it was entirely predictable that Republicans would ignore all of this and make every effort to derail Don't Ask and the Dream Act. But Democrats needed only one—one!—Republican vote to avoid a filibuster, apart from holding their coalition together. This was hardly a Herculean undertaking given that there were at least two Republicans—Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine—who were either wholly or partially sympathetic to the bill. They both represent the bluest of blue states and therefore had every incentive to go along with their Democratic colleagues. But Sen. Harry Reid's refusal to entertain any more than three amendments to the bill when it is customary to consider scores—even hundreds—completely alienated the two senators. Some press reports suggest that Reid eventually relented, but it is inconceivable that Sen. Collins would go on the Senate floor and cite that as her main reason for not going along with the Democrats if he in fact had. Is it possible that instead of a victory he wanted an issue to stoke his home state, Nevada's, sizeable Latino community to vote for him in November against those evil Republicans?

But if Harry Reid was the proximate cause of this bill's demise, ObamaCare was the fundamental cause. The ugly, hardball tactics that Democrats deployed to shove this unpopular legislation down everyone's throat have so poisoned the well on Capitol Hill that Democrats have no good will left to make strategic alliances on even reasonable legislation anymore. When a party has such huge majorities, even small gestures of reconciliation are enough to splinter the ranks of opponents and obtain cooperation. But Democrats played the game of our way or the highway with ObamaCare, ignoring warnings that this would render them completely impotent for the rest of President Obama's term. Indeed, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina,who had been working with Senator Chuck Schumer of New York to craft comprehensive immigration reform, gave up in disgust in the wake of ObamaCare.

How ironic that a president who got elected on the promise of bipartisan comity has produced nothing but partisan rancor. And his signature legislation that was supposed to save America's most vulnerable has begun by throwing them under the bus.

Shikha Dalmia is a senior analyst at Reason Foundation and a Forbes columnist. This article originally appeared at Forbes.

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  1. As they say in the Navy: “You can polish a turd but it’s still a turd and all you’ve done is spread shit everywhere!”

    A politician is still a shit spewing waste of oxygen no matter how much he claims that he’s different from the rest!

  2. “In an age when everyone is vying for victimhood status…”

    I feel compelled to tell you I threw up in my mouth a little when I read that sentence.

    Perhaps you could stop ‘demagoguing the issues, trotting out tired old tropes that are becoming boring even to refute.’

    1. “In an age when everyone is vying for victimhood status…”

      Please explain your disagreement with this status. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t make it untrue.

    2. We’re all victims now

      1. An Admiral I knew was rather fond of saying that:

        “In this life you’re either a victim or a victimizer, so you’d better figure out which you wanna be real fucking quick!”

        Seems to be the only hard choice you have to make in life…

        1. Meh!

          That’s simply not true, though being neither is tough: it requires you to have all the skills and strength of a victimizer while putting up with your allotted share of life’s crap.

          No fun, but better than the alternatives.

          1. Nah, you’re just deaf and blind to all you’ve victimized.

  3. There will always be those who insist on punishing the children as a way to punish the parents.

    1. Eat the children.

    2. At least it is scripturally correct.

    3. Collectivist crap. It’s not punishment if I don’t let you steal from me to buy you healthcare. It’s not a punishment if I don’t let you steal from me period.

      The reason we can’t have open borders is the same reason no nation in the world has open borders.

      You can’t have a socialized democratic welfare state with open borders. It’s economically nonviable.

      If you want to let them in fine. Grant them perpetual work visas which allow them no access to public programs and as minimal exposure to taxation as it’s possible to achieve.

      Then let me sign up for that status too.

  4. The reason poor, unskilled aliens have to sneak into this country is that there are very few visas available for them to enter legally. And if they are lucky enough to get one, it doesn’t allow them to work in the country while applying for a green card or legal residency ? unlike H1-B visas that high skilled workers use. The idea that there is some kind of line that unskilled workers could stand in and wait their turn to gain legal residency is a complete figment of the restrictionist imagination.

    The HB-1 are seldom available for highly skilled workers as it is. The last paragraph is entirely true – there’s NO guestbook, no line the unskilled (but highly necessary) migrant worker can sign or place himself to obtain a greencard. It is not even available for skilled workers under OTHER visas including E-1/E-2. No wonder so many overstay their visas and use whatever trick available to stay, work and pay their taxes (another BIG LIE is that migrant workers do not pay taxes – that’s a load of shit: they HAVE to pay AT LEAST local sales taxes, excise taxes, etc.)

    1. Old Mexican- So they can’t escape paying sales taxes which I am sure they would if they could. Please tell me how do all of us here LEGALLY get around paying all the taxes the illegals do not pay? Should we feel everything is just peachy since they do pay sales tax? Something tells me the sales tax they pay pales in comparison to the amount of services they use at all our expense.

      1. Dee, something tells a lot of people that immigrants are net drains on the government, but I won’t believe it without evidence. Common sense says to me the opposite is true.

      2. Re: Dee,

        So they can’t escape paying sales taxes which I am sure they would if they could.

        And so would anybody else, Dee, sweetheart . . .

        Please tell me how do all of us here LEGALLY get around paying all the taxes the illegals do not pay?

        By growing a pair, for a change?

        Something tells me the sales tax they pay pales in comparison to the amount of services they use at all our expense.

        Which services? Last I saw, NOTHING the government gives are “services” in the strictest sense of the word, just like gangsters do not really offer “protection services.” All of the government’s “services” are mandatory in nature. Your beef should be with these illegally-pushed (i.e. UNconstitutional) “services.”

    2. OM your quote contradicts itself.

      The reason poor, unskilled aliens have to sneak into this country is that there are very few visas available for them to enter legally.

      and then The idea that there is some kind of line that unskilled workers could stand in and wait their turn to gain legal residency is a complete figment of the restrictionist imagination.

      Perhaps I don’t understand the meaning of “few”. I thought it did NOT mean “none”. Since the line is not long enough it is simply my imagination?

      1. When the “few” is order of magnitude less than the demand, it becomes a reasonable approximation of “none”.

        As with everything else, scale is important.

      2. Re: Marshall Gill,

        Before you pat yourself in the back for coming up with this “gotcha!” comment, please be reminded that there is a HUGE, HUUUUUGE difference between a work V-I-S-A and a Goddamned greencard, which is what Ms. Dalmia was aluding to.

        1. Are there ANY visa’s for low skilled workers? If there are ZERO then there is no line. If there is even ONE then you are full of shit, of course. But you knew that already.

          Public school education one must assume. Kind of like when reductions in growth equal a cut, right?

          1. Re: Marshall Gill,

            Are there ANY visa’s for low skilled workers?

            Yes, there are.

            If there are ZERO then there is no line.

            That’s not what Ms. Dalmia or I said. We’re BOTH talking about GREENCARDS – read my post again:

            “there’s NO guestbook, no line the unskilled (but highly necessary) migrant worker can sign or place himself to obtain a greencard. It is not even available for skilled workers under OTHER visas including E-1/E-2.”

            A migrant unskilled worker with a work visa is not guarranteed a greencard; and a skilled worker may receive one ONLY if his employer is willing to sponsor him, aun unlikely happenning.

            1. A migrant unskilled worker with a work visa is not guarranteed a greencard; and a skilled worker may receive one ONLY if his employer is willing to sponsor him, aun unlikely happenning.

              I wasn’t really trying to “gotcha” OM, I was simply pointing out that none isn’t the same as too few.

              Since I don’t know the actual numbers in question, I have no idea if there are enough visa’s available. When someone admits that what they have called “none” is some limited number, I distrust them. Just like I distrust people who claim a reduction in anticipated spending increases is a cut. Just like when they claim that cities “on the border” have less crime and then list Phoenix and San Antonio as evidence. If you make a claim and then directly refute it in your own argument “I”, at least, can’t take it seriously.

              U.S. immigration legislation in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) stipulates that a person may obtain permanent resident status primarily through the course of the following proceedings:[6]

              * immigration through a family member
              * immigration through employment
              * immigration through investment
              * immigration through the Diversity Lottery
              * immigration through Refugee or Asylum status
              * immigration through “The Registry” provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act

              Wiki lists several ways that people can obtain a green card. The first and the fourth sure seem to include the unskilled. Are you and Ms. Dalmia claiming that these don’t exist, or that they never apply? Or are you simply claiming there there are not enough, so you say “none”?

              1. I have no idea if there are enough visa’s available.

                Should read “I have no idea if there are enough greencards available.”

                1. A green card is a type of visa.

                  It’s the one that allows an alien to live permanently in the US.

  5. I normally agree with Reason’s take on things, but wait: when the Republicans block legislation that Reason agrees with, the blame goes to the Democrats for pushing through unrelated legislation that Reason doesn’t agree with? (Not to mention that it was the Democrats who made all of the bipartisan effort on the health care bill.)

    1. Locking the door to the room where the negotiations were held and telling Republicans that the key was dropped somewhere in DC doesn’t count as inviting them to the table for bipartisan talks, sorry.

    2. Elton|10.4.10 @ 1:31PM|#
      “(Not to mention that it was the Democrats who made all of the bipartisan effort on the health care bill.)”

      I presume you’re referring to that hag Pelosi buying votes? I guess buying some Repub votes counts as ‘bipartisan’.

    3. “I normally agree with Reason’s take on things, but wait:”

      +

      “Not to mention that it was the Democrats who made all of the bipartisan effort on the health care bill”

      =

      ERROR

      1. That’s all fine — we needn’t agree on my parenthetical statement about ObamaCare. I remain stumped as to why Democrats are to blame in this article for Republicans being (in Reason’s and my view) on the wrong side of these votes. It’s the kind of non sequitur that Reason would rightly flag as ridiculous if it were on another blog. Might help to have support for assertions like these from someone besides a Republican senator, to start.

        The ugly, hardball tactics that Democrats deployed to shove this unpopular legislation down everyone’s throat have so poisoned the well on Capitol Hill that Democrats have no good will left to make strategic alliances on even reasonable legislation anymore. When a party has such huge majorities, even small gestures of reconciliation are enough to splinter the ranks of opponents and obtain cooperation.

    4. We are watching different shows if you actually believe that democrats made bi-partisan efforts on that Healthcare abomination. Rather they were quite clever in keeping republican sponsored bills and ammendments on the floor of both “houses” while publicy upbraiding the republicans’ lack of ideas and effort, both being straight, knowing, and direct lies.

  6. I have quite a few gay friends and I’m happy to see some of them starting to see through the false promises of the Democrats. Many gays already hate seeing their money extorted from them through taxation and the long-term consequences of Obamacare may end up being the last straw.

  7. Shikha Dalmia what do you propose exactly? Letting every child that had no choice in their situation come to the US? Last time I checked NO CHILD has a choice in the situation they are born into. You sound like a bleeding heart liberal with your do it for the children BS. We have been doing shit in the name of old people and children for decades now and look what we have to show for it. The only way I would be willing to allow amnesty and a path to citizenship for illegals is if we can round up all the lifelong welfare leeches and ship them to Mexico. 1 for 1 sounds fair to me. After all it is not like they will be looking for work in Mexico anymore than they looked for it in the US. Of course the Mexican government benefits package for the worthless are not nearly as good as the US system.

    1. “Of course the Mexican government benefits package for the worthless”

      They’re not worthless, just difficult to incent.

  8. I see the DEY TUK AR JERBS brigade has arrived.

      1. DEY TUK AR SEATS!

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..r_embedded

        Warty the retard boy, I think you are sniffing too far into Felipe Calder?n’s ass.

  9. What would you recommend we do for kids who become homeless because their parents decided to gamble away all their money? Drink away all their money or any other of the miriad of things people make individual choices about everyday. These children had no choice in what their parents did so we must help all of them as well too?

    How about this idea. If you don’t want your kids to be considered illegal aliens stay in your own damn country! This idea that we can’t hold the parents accountable for their kids is ridiculous. It appears to me that you don’t want to hold anyone accountable except those that are US Citizens and who are forced to provide for these people. When a Mexican gets laid I don’t feel like I should get fucked as well.

    1. Dear Nuttcracker,

      If you stopped torturing your nuts and really looked into the circumstances and precarious safety of homeless youth — irrespective of their “status” — you would quickly shut the fuck up.

    2. What would you recommend we do for kids who become homeless because their parents decided to gamble away all their money? Drink away all their money or any other of the myriad of things people make individual choices about everyday. These children had no choice in what their parents did so we must help all of them as well too?

      In a lot of cases like that–we do. If the parents are incapable/criminal/abusive, child welfare steps in and the children get put into the system. In many cases, those children get free college and various forms of monetary aid.

      The children of illegals don’t get those ‘benefits’–of course, they’re not taken away from their parents either.

      But, I don’t mind something like the DREAM act, provided that the children are forcibly removed from the parents who dragged them into this country illegally. Surely, working with coyotes and dragging your child across open desert is ‘endangerment’.

    3. I have no problem with making the child a ward of the state and then finding the parent and interning them in labor camps to pay for the child until until such time as the child reaches the age of majority.

      If this were the case you’d find the rate of child abandonment would drop to near zero almost overnight.

  10. What would you recommend we do for kids who become homeless because their parents decided to gamble away all their money? Drink away all their money or any other of the miriad of things people make individual choices about everyday. These children had no choice in what their parents did so we must help all of them as well too?

    Are you serious? First, why are you against helping homeless children? Second, what benefit do you see in not granting citizenship to someone who has grown up in the U.S. and voluntarily joined the American military? You realize America’s armed forces are scrambling to keep their ranks filled … it really is a job that Americans just won’t do.

    1. I would have been willing to support the dream act if it was just military service. that sounds reasonable, fight for your country, get citizenship.

      Not sure why college should qualify though.

      1. We need more community organizers

        /snark

        1. And more womyns studies majors. Desperately!

      2. because illegal immigrant children who go to college will learn to vote Democrat.

    2. I’d make an exception for military service but that is it. As for helping homeless children why is it up to me to help them? Last time I checked I raised my kid all on my own, no one helped me. So you can see why I would ask why I should be required to help others. Bottom line, if you can’t feed them don’t breed them. The lax reproduction precautions of everyone else does not constitute a problem I feel obligated to fix.

      “In an age when everyone is vying for victimhood status, the Dream Act youth are among the few who are genuine victims.”

      Victims of what? Their parents decisions and nothing more. So tell them to hold their parents accountable for their being ‘victims’.

      Tell me if my dad robbed a bank or commited so crime 17 years ago that he has since been caught for doing. Should I as his kid be entitled to any money that he may have stolen from someone else? I mean I didn’t steal it and I am just a poor child so you certainly wouldn’t expect those funds to be returned to the rightful owner would you? I thought Libertarians were all about personal responsibility yet everytime I read Shikha it seems she wants something for nothing for those she deems worthy and she wants the rest of us to be party to it. This time it is for the children and gays. The gays I have no issue with but all these issues should never have been tied to a defense bill to begin with.

      1. Tell me if my dad robbed a bank or commited so crime 17 years ago that he has since been caught for doing. Should I as his kid be entitled to any money that he may have stolen from someone else?

        *facepalm*.

        How retarded are you that in your mind, doing work for pay without the permission of the government is the same thing as robbing a bank.

        1. A substantial portion of the population thinks of jobs as property. Though “They’re stealing our jobs…” is a trite bit of divisive propaganda rather than an outright quote, it is representative of a point of view that more than a few people hold.

          If those jobs are property of United Statians, then coming here for work is stealing…see?

          Sure, that POV ignores the fact that economies are dynamic rather than static and that jobs are nodes in a process rather than tangible and durable things, but how does Joe Sixpack see and understand the vast grinding of economic give and take? How much of shit does he give when the rent’s due and he hasn’t got it cause the plant is nearly idle?

          We do have a problem with demagogues stirring up dissent on these matters for their own ends, but don’t underestimate the scale of the pressure that exists separate of that.

    3. They threw in the “Military Exemption” for citizenship on the DREAM Act for cover. The number of illegal-alien servicemembers is not Zero, but it is close enough to be negligible. Someone using fraudlent documents to join will likely make it through the initial screening by the recruiter and MEPS (providing that the personal data isn’t COMPLETELY off the reservation), but they’ll most-likely get caught when the DIA does the a security check.

      I’m sure there are Pre-1990s illegal aliens who have joined and served their full terms, but the politicians knew they couldn’t just say “Illegal Aliens who go to college are allowed to stay” so they tack on the military as cover.

      God I hate being used a political cover.

    4. “You realize America’s armed forces are scrambling to keep their ranks filled … it really is a job that Americans just won’t do.”

      Maybe it has something to do with the mission the American military keeps getting tasked to perform? It’s kind of hard to get fired up about providing defense to some foreign land that has nothing to do with your homeland or invading some sandbox halfway around the world. That might, just might, have something to do with it.

  11. And here I thought the first casualties of Obamacare were the 300,000,000+ people whose civil rights and individual freedoms are being diminished by an unconstitutional law that forces them to buy something.

    Silly me.

  12. I have a hard time wrapping my head around how an entitlement that didn’t previously exist can be called a casualty.

    1. Same as a reduction in the amount of the increase in a budget is called a cut. People who are trying to pull valid points out of their ass generally consider themselves casualties of others being mean to them.

  13. Many of them have no ties left to their home country, don’t speak its language, and don’t know its ways.

    I would love to believe this statement, were it not for areas like LA, Miami, and many other places throughout the U.S. where the parents make no attempt at learning English. I have college friends who have lived here their entire life who still have to speak Spanish to their parents when they call home.

    I’m not a Borg over here saying assimilate or die, but don’t give me this bullshit that the kids lose their sense of identity from the old country. If anything, they should have an easier time taking the citizenship test since they went through 12 years of public schooling. /eyeroll

    1. I agree, Shikha’s statement is a bit of an exaggeration. On the other hand, ask your college friends if their parents give them shit about their grammar and vocabulary and lack of respect and they’ll probably say yes.

  14. I’m sick of the Republican talking points on “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and illegal immigration.

    They just use these issues as scare tactics to scare the public.

    1. Dude, go drop dead.

  15. Gee, the Dream Act sounds like a nifty idea on first reading, but the more I think of it, the less I like it. First, like many who have commented here, the idea that going to college (at the cheaper, in-state rates) should be a path to citizenship sounds ludicrous. That does sound like an increase in illegal immigration in the making. And when Border Patrol officers are thrown in jail for shooting a drug dealer, you can stop holding your breath that we’ll ever get the immigration situation fixed up anytime soon.

    Others have said they like the idea of military service as a means to amnesty. I agree; on the surface, it does sound like a better path than cheap college does. But then I think, do I like the idea of someone who isn’t even in this country legally being charged with the responsibility of defending it? There would have to be some sort of system in place to ensure their loyalties are intact before we do that, I would think, and if you think safeguards like that are unnecessary, I have only three words for you – Major Nidal Hasan. The Fort Hood shooter is a natural-born citizen. Granted, a lot of people who are here illegally may be very hard working, decent people, but some of them are not, and I would think that separating the wheat from the chaff would be extra troublesome considering we’re talking about people here illegally in the first place.

  16. “But then I think, do I like the idea of someone who isn’t even in this country legally being charged with the responsibility of defending it?”

    Exactly.

    Funny. We hear a lot about “if you don’t follow history you’re damned to repeat it” line.

    Of course, we pick and choose what we want to learn from.

    One need only read Roman history and later on Machiavelli’s explanations as to when, in part, began to crumble. It began when the military was no longer drawing its defense from Romans but foreigners and mercenaries.

    Hello.

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