The Realpolitik of Illusion
It’s a race against time. Obamacare is going into effect, piece by piece, link by link, yard by yard.
The idea when legislating big programs such as this is to push up as many benefits as possible early in the timeline, and shove the burdens as far down the road as possible. The strategy depends on enough voters noticing the benefits before the extravagant costs become clear. (And the full costs never become clear.) Once the program has been around long enough, the benefits will turn enough voters into special interests, and the costs will remain dispersed enough to discourage over-burdened taxpayers from fighting the inertial mass of the program.
About the only thing that can go wrong is that the costs become all-too-clear all-too-soon.
That’s Nancy Pelosi’s realpolitik, as she honestly explained in her proud defense of “the health care law” (as if there were only one!):
We think the more people know about this legislation, you see it has changed even in the past week, the support for it has increased and as people understand what we all heard here today — how it affects their lives directly — that will even grow. So as I’ve said before, the politics be damned. . . .
That line, “the politics be damned,” is disingenuous in the extreme. The politics, here, is everything. And the Democrats have big government’s “home court” advantage, the illusions of interest-group cost-benefit analysis.
And against them? A Republican presidential candidate who had previously supported the same kind of law, supported by the same kind of illusions.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.