Repeal! No, Wait!

Regulations are far easier to pass than to get rid of.


Republicans promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But now they are hesitating.

I understand why.

Most Americans opposed Obamacare ever since the Democrats imposed it. But now that Congress actually might kill it, more (about half those polled) say, "Wait, I like Obamacare!"

Once people get a subsidy, they'll fight to keep it—fight hard.

People fight even to keep subsidies and guarantees that are obviously destructive. French job "protections," such as a 35-hour work week, have so wrecked France's economy that its socialist president tried to lengthen the work week, as well as raise the retirement age to 62 years old.

Thousands of people protested, blocking roads to airports. The reform plan died.

Greek day care workers took to the streets when their bankrupt government tried to get them to work more than 30 hours per week.

Recently, Mexico said it would stop subsidizing people's gasoline. Seems reasonable. But the riots were so severe that people died.

I hope Donald Trump's attempts to end bad programs have more success. But I won't count on it.

President Reagan promised to abolish both the Education and Energy Departments. But his Congress increased funding for Education.

Farm subsidies were supposed to be a temporary Depression-era "fix." They would protect America against food shortages. Now America has food surpluses; our citizens are fat; and farmers are richer than most Americans. Did farm subsidies diminish? No. They rose from $3 billion to $23.3 billion.

U.S. sugar quotas raise the price of everything that's sweet. Our crazy rules are why Coke is made with corn syrup in America but sugar in most of the world. This enriches Florida's Fanjul family, which protects its handout by donating to both Republicans and Democrats.

Peanut subsidies will soon approach the total value of the whole U.S. peanut crop itself. Insane. Yet the subsidies continue.

After World War II, American sheep and goat farmers convinced politicians that mohair deserved special protection because it was used in soldiers' uniforms. Today, uniforms are made of synthetics, but mohair subsidies haven't stopped. My former colleague Sam Donaldson even got some because his family raised sheep. When I confronted him, Sam agreed that the payments are "a horrible mess" but said he'd keep the money since "the law is on the books."

He could have made the same point about another bad federal program, government flood insurance. That's one that paid … me. Sorry. I won't do it again.

In 1995, the Clinton administration did manage to get rid of the mohair subsidy. But five years later, Congress brought it back.

Why? Recipients of corporate welfare are motivated lobbyists. They have lots of money at stake. You, by contrast, pay a little more in taxes or a few pennies more for soda. Will you bother your congressman about that? Probably not.

Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is still trying to kill the mohair subsidy. I wish him luck. At one point, he got help from, of all people, Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY). Weiner brought a goat to Capitol Hill to draw attention to the dumb handout. It may have been the only sensible thing Weiner ever did.

But even the goat didn't work. Congress rejected Chaffetz's bill. And the goat stabbed Weiner's hand with his horn.

Farm subsidies are terrible, but America's biggest handouts are entitlements: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

You say, "Social Security and Medicare are not handouts! I paid a premium every year." You are right, but you don't realize that your medical bills will likely cost three times what you've paid in. Medicare is mostly a handout.

But good luck to any politician who proposes cutting it.

One ray of hope: In the '70s, the Ford and Carter administrations eliminated the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Civil Aeronautics Board and the jobs of bureaucrats who regulated gas prices. Leftists and people in industry screamed, but the reformers prevailed.

That saved Americans billions of dollars.

It can be done.


NEXT: Major Blow to Obamacare Mandate: IRS Won't Reject Tax Returns That Don't Answer Health Insurance Question

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  1. I guess we could hold out hope that the politicians will do the right long term thing out of the goodness of their hearts or we could just wait for the bond market bubble to burst and have the new reality do it for us.

  2. I wasn’t hardened enough to wonder how Carter got deregulation through, but in hindsight it absolutely amazes me. If Trump can repeal Obamacare, maybe reform the Big Three entitlements, that will be another reason to be glad Hillary lost. I’ve read Rand Paul’s handout on replacing Obamacare, and it would be a fine replacement, even if outright appeal would be better. But I won’t hold my breath.

  3. I don’t think Trump cares about being a two-term President. He will push Congress to ObamaCare but has a lot on his plate and has made some pretty good inroads to change how the fed operates. Only time will tell though.

    I think the Democrats strategy is too try and overwhelm Trump with nitpicking, so they can stall the ObamaCare repeal.

    One thing they don’t understand about Trump is that while he deflects their stupid attempts at talking about Russia hacking elections, Flynn, etc. Trump is readying the next chess move that will send them a’ crying.

    1. Trump is readying the next chess move that will send them a’ crying.

      Pretty easy when any move will get them crying. Trump could nominate Hillary or Obama to SCOTUS and the left would find a reason to lose their shit about it.

      1. Well to be fair, Hillary’s experience in practicing the law is a little thin, she gleefully defended a rapist, and was embroiled in a bribery scheme near the end of her career.

        As for Obama, everyone knows that if a Republican nominates a black man for something, the guy is an Uncle Tom and not to be trusted, resume be damned. Plus he bailed out rich bankers, fought unauthorized wars (now not in vogue with the left), and Mr. Pen and Phone probably isn’t the guy you want as a check on an all powerful executive.

  4. Obamacare is a giant turd in a punchbowl.

    The problem is not just the turd and removing it. You also have a contaminated punchbowl to deal with.

  5. Yeah, and it was hard for Seward and Holmwood to say farewell to Lucy, but it was better for everyone that they did.

    1. -1 wooden stake

  6. And the goat stabbed Weiner’s hand with his horn.

    Now that is how you euphemism.

    1. I choked on that line, too! Great comment!

  7. In 1995, the Clinton administration did manage to get rid of the mohair subsidy. But five years later, Congress brought it back.

    Remind me again – who was running Congress in 2000? I know Dennis Hastert was speaker and Trent Lott majority leader, but which party were they?

  8. I keep telling people that Weiner was the most moderate Democrat in NYC politics at the time. The lunatics running the party today make him look like Bill Buckley.

    1. He was not a very distinguished congressman, but I was all in for him as mayor. By far the best candidate. Spoke out for school choice and private school funding and against zoning shenanigans and sweetheart deals, stupid regulations, stupid transportation projects, unnecessary bike lanes, animal rights nonsense, environmentalist nonsense, nanny state nonsense (he’d even vigorously opposed the smoking ban)…

      I don’t think it would have been like being governed by Justin Amash, or that he would have been a particularly skilled mayor. And he shares his views with pretty much every politician who represents Jewish Brooklyn at any level of government. But still, I was shocked to actually have a mayoral candidate in this town who was anywhere near that good on the issues. He would have won, too. But after fucking up for the second (not to be confused with the third) time, absolutely everyone turned against the guy with a passion and was totally disgusted. Looked like a dude with some serious mental issues, not just someone going behind his wife’s back.

  9. “Once people get a subsidy, they’ll fight to keep it?fight hard.”

    And in the case of Obamacare, the one’s who are getting subsidies will get plenty of help in that fight from the mainstream media who are all about presenting lots of anecdotal stories of people who got them and how hard it would be on them to lose them.

    There will be no push from them to present the stories of all the people who had insurance they were satisfied with and couldn’t keep it and got screwed by Obamacare. Inflicting hardships on people by loading them up with additional costs of paying subsidies for somebody else just isn’t as “newsworthy”.

  10. People like Stossel are good people but they refuse to seek out the truth-the US INDIVIDUAL INCOME TAX is not what it is supposed to be.
    Let those who want to pay the tax but are not required to pay the tax for the benefits. I have nothing against that. But the lib/conservative establishment for decades has refused to discover the truth about the income tax. They are so afraid, even if they have big big bucks like Stossel of the big bad IRS they refuse the discover the truth. If you are not engaged in a federally connected occupation or investment, you have no income or wages to tax! A grassroots libertarian in Michigan has been showing the way since 2003 but the freedom establishment refuses to consider the truth and so you all honest libs are in the dark! Shame on CATO, Heritage, FFE, Lew Rockwell, Kochs etc who will not consider the truth !
    Thousands of those in Occupations of Common Right receive full refunds of withheld taxes both Federal and State because the IRS processes their truthful returns. You want entitlement reform? You understand the Feds wont give it to you? Then learn the truth and get your money back!

  11. There was a tariff on every American’s telephone bill, to pay from the Spanish American War, enacted in 1898 that wasn’t eliminated until the mid 1990’s almost 100 years after it was created. At the time it was created, telephones were considered a ‘luxury’ that only affected a few Americans which is why it was created. Nearly 100 years later, not so much of a ‘luxury’ anymore, was it? This is the true nature of government.

  12. After Xiaomi got a lot of positive feedback for the Mi 5 which they launched in April 2016, they are now about to release the next device in the Mi series of smart phones, the Mi 6.
    It will have a better camera than its predecessor and also a more powerful Snapdragon processor. You can check out more technical details and also the
    Mi 6 features if you want.

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