Americans are drowning in a sea of debt, paper work, rules and regulations. Yet voters continue to send to Washington a class of political elites with no experience to lead and no desire to stop America’s tsunami-like spending. According to Gallup, 72% of Americans are of the view that big government is a more of a threat to our future than is big business or big labor. In another poll, 61% of Americans think we are headed in the wrong direction.
Here Peggy Noonan explains why American morale is crumpling—from the malaise of O’Care with its barrage of canceled coverage, higher premiums, huge deductibles and lost doctors; to the CBO’s warning that the ACA will provide disincentives to work; to the IRS making it harder for independent groups to resist the constant claims of government. Now America’s most prized liberty—protection of personal privacy—is under grave threat from the NSA. As Peggy writes, “The persistent blues, the lack of faith, the bet that things won’t get better—it just doesn’t sound like America.”
In the dark screwball comedy that is ObamaCare, the Congressional Budget Office revealed last month the law will provide disincentives to work. Don’t worry, said Nancy Pelosi, people can take that time and go become poets and painters. At first you think: Huh, I can do that, I’ve got a beret. Then you think: No, I have to earn a living. Then you think, poor hardworking rube that you are: Wait a second, I’m subsidizing all this. I’ve been cast in the role of Catherine de Medici, patroness of the arts. She at least had a castle, I just get a bill!
The IRS is coming up with new rules making it harder for independent groups to organize and resist the constant messages and claims of government. Meanwhile it warns taxpayers they must be able to prove they have insurance coverage when they file their 2014 taxes or they’ll face a fine (or tax, or fee), which the government has decided to call a “shared responsibility payment.” It is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child to a maximum of $285, or 1% of your household income, whichever is higher. People already enraged by canceled coverage, higher premiums, huge deductibles, lost doctors and limited networks, fume. And the highest-ranking Democrat on Capitol Hill, Majority Leader Harry Reid, goes to the floor of the Senate to say of the ObamaCare horror stories that “all of them are untrue.” They’re “stories made up out of whole cloth” spread by “the multibillionaire Koch brothers.”
Imagine that—you have real problems caused by a bad law, and Mr. Reid tells you that what you are experiencing in your own life is a lie made up by propagandists. He sounded like Lenin. There is no cholera in the new Russia.
The NSA is a real and present threat to your privacy, HHS actually never has to come up with a true number on ObamaCare enrollments or costs, and at the EPA no one talks anymore about why Al Armendariz, a top regional administrator, felt free to brag in a 2010 speech that his “philosophy of enforcement” could be compared with the practice by ancient Roman soldiers of crucifying random victims. When it surfaced, he left the agency. Did his mind-set?
People feel beset because they are. All these things are pieces of a larger, bullying ineptitude. And people know, they are aware.