Imagine a scenario in which Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, as well as the presidency. In their haste to preempt the arrival of a newly elected senator they pen a bill that almost none of the legislators read. It is a massive tax cut with all sorts of measures that Democrats believe will hurt the middle class and the economy. The bill passes, but years later, before it is implemented, Democrats, who still believe that this tax cut will be economically harmful, ask for a one year delay in implementation. They pass a measure to keep the government funded with but one caveat—that there be a delay in the implementation for one year. Republicans refuse and the government shuts down, saying that Democrats are “holding the country hostage” and “acting like spoiled children because they didn’t get what they wanted.”
Our current government shutdown is the same, but flipped. Substitute Democrats with Republicans and the tax cut with Obamacare, and you have our current scenario. Yet I don’t believe that the vast majority of readers would actually have called the Democrats spoiled children. Left-leaning individuals certainly would have insisted that Democrats fight against a piece of legislation they felt would hurt the economy. But that is not how our system seems to work. Instead, dissent from Republicans is considered an act of unreasonable hostility and is condemned by liberals and the majority of uninformed “independents.”
Now there exists, as has existed for decades, a liberal view of “for me but not for thee.” President Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling as a senator. Today, when Republicans claim that we should use the debt ceiling to evaluate spending policies they are labeled “terrorists.” Senator Obama and his Democratic colleagues viciously fought against filibuster reform when Republicans controlled the Senate. But earlier this year Democrats derided Republican filibuster attempts and tried to reform the filibuster to prevent future attempts to stall legislation opposed by Republicans. Wendy Davis of Texas launched a “brave,” “historical” filibuster and was lauded in the press while Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz were lampooned and derided for theirs in the U.S. Senate. A president who refuses to even sit down and negotiate is assigned absolutely no blame while the shutdown is deemed “the Republican shutdown.”
The current liberal climate is saturated with the mantra of “for me but not for thee.” When it came to the current legislation, many turned a blind eye to who would pay for the steep increases in premiums and the layoffs that would result to trim a company’s workforce. As reported recently in one San Jose Mercury News piece, “Cindy Vinson, of San Jose, Calif., will reportedly pay $1,800 more each year for an individual policy. Additionally, Tom Waschura, of Portola Valley, Calif., will pay nearly $10,000 more for insurance to cover his family of four.” The takeaway line, however, comes from Vinson, who remarks, “Of course, I want people to have healthcare, I just didn’t realize I would be the one who was going to pay for it personally.”
Of course Vinson didn’t mind supporting a feel-good law to help those she thought needed help, so long as she wasn’t the one footing the bill. From taxes to political rhetoric to the healthcare legislation, there exists the classic liberal mantra of “for me but not for thee.”
Make no mistake, Republicans believe Obamacare will hurt the middle class. Premiums will skyrocket (in some cases already almost 300 percent), companies will dump employees onto the government plans, and businesses will cut employees to part time hours or fire them completely in order to avoid taking a massive hit.
Despite the fact that these drawbacks were predictable, union support for Obamacare was nearly universal. Why would unions (whose members would be adversely affected by the ACA) support such a measure?
Because they expected waivers. “Waivers for me but not for thee.” Now, unions have realized that Obamacare represents a big problem for their membership and they have started to speak out. But it is too little, too late — their members are seeing not only fewer options for their coverage but also increased premiums and decreased employment. So much for hoping for special exemptions.
And so we continue with the shutdown in its second week. Democrats are still whining about the system of democracy we have, all the while refusing to negotiate. Worse, our country is stuck in a cycle where many expect consequences not to affect them, or expect special treatment. Only when people actually get hit does it sink in — “for me but not for thee” only works so long. It’s time to wake up.