Erick Erickson: Washington hijinks
By Erick Erickson
With election season upon us and the Democrats’ generic ballot numbers declining, President Obama has done the only thing he could do — delay, again, the employer mandate in Obamacare. The new delay will run until 2016.
The delay comes after a Congressional Budget Office report found anecdotal evidence of employers already shifting employees to part-time employment. The report also noted “(b)eginning in 2015, employers of 50 or more full-time equivalent workers that do not offer health insurance … may respond to the employer penalty by seeking to reduce or limit their full-time staffing and to hire more part-time employees.”
The only way for the Democrats to postpone the shift, which would happen in 2014 as employers gear up for the 2015 budget year, was to delay the mandate. The mandate delay will only benefit companies with 50 to 99 employees. But there is a catch. For employers to take advantage of the delay, they must swear, under oath, that any labor changes they make are not related to the Affordable Care Act.
In other words, to get the benefit of a delay premised on a shifting labor market, the employers must swear that the shift the CBO says will happen is happening for reasons other than Obamacare. The president is incentivizing businesses lying to avoid Obamacare. Already, the media and Democrat activists are attacking businesses that are restructuring because of Obamacare. In some cases, despite the clear statements of employers, the media and Democrats are simply denying that the employers are restructuring because of the costs of Obamacare.
The Washington press corps, dining last week with the presidents of France and the United States, has been relatively mum on the latest delay and the logically foreseen lying that will come from it.
Down Pennsylvania Avenue, under the great dome of the Capitol, Republicans and Democrats have given President Obama a blank check to raise the national debt. In the last few years, Republicans have been willing to raise the debt ceiling to ever-increasing amounts. This time, instead, the GOP decided to go along with the Democrats and set no new cap. They will revisit the issue in March of 2015. Until that time, the president and Congress can add as much debt as they like.
The national debt is currently at $17 trillion. When President Obama took office, it hovered just north of $10 trillion. President Obama has added more to the national debt than any other president. By the time he leaves office, he could very well have added more than all other presidents combined.
Last year, Republican leaders in Congress declared they should fight them on the debt ceiling. When conservatives chose to fight on the continuing resolution to fund the government, Republican leaders, the Democrats and the press attacked Sens. Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and others for daring to risk a government shutdown. Speaker John Boehner, Congressmen Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan, and Sens. Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn argued the GOP must fight on the debt ceiling.
After the government shutdown, the GOP continued the case for a fight over the debt ceiling. They would demand approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, a full delay of Obamacare and other assorted demands. Two weeks ago, Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, said the GOP must extract concessions from the president in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.
Instead, with no strings or concessions, the GOP handed President Obama a blank check good through March of next year. Sen. Mitch McConnell personally led Republicans to the floor of the Senate to overcome Sen. Ted Cruz’s filibuster of the debt-ceiling increase.
The Washington Press Corps, formerly guardians of propriety in George Bush’s administration, applauded the Republicans and Democrats coming together to mortgage our future. The collaborative efforts of the press and political parties in Washington to preserve the status quo further alienates them all from the American people. A seething animosity toward Washington runs through middle-American voters now. They feel betrayed by all sides. That animosity is only going to grow, making for a very interesting election year.