[Posted by Karl]
Pres. Obama has staked quite a bit of his administration on making a “downpayment” on a government takeover of the healthcare system. However, even laugh-inspiring amounts of creative accounting fail to pay for Obama’s health scheme.
Of course, the money would ultimately be extracted from the citizenry, but how?
Ian Murray makes a pretty good case that Obama intends to pay for healthcare reform with the money from his economy-crushing cap-and-trade scheme for greenhouse gases. The supposed slowing of global warming that would occur under the Waxman-Markey bill in the House is insignificant, but the $600 billion a year the government would plan to raise — a cost of about $3,000 per American household — is not insignificant at all.
This theory would explain why Obama is pressing the House to tackle cap-and-trade before healthcare, despite significant opposition from the Blue Dogs there. Indeed, while the Democrats’ budget resolution kept open the option of trying to railroad cap-and-trade through Congress in tthe budget reconciliation process, the Senate has shown no stomach for passing the cap-and-trade scheme — which would be another reason for Obama to lean on the House first. It also explains why Obama has been so desperate to sell the idea that his “too much, too soon” agenda cannot be dealt with piecemeal.
This is a gamble with serious risks to the Obama and the Democrats. The all-or-nothing approach could easily result in the failure of both cap-and-trade and healthcare. Conversely, passing cap-and-trade could seriously damage not only Democrats facing reelection in 2010, but also Obama’s chances in 2012, when the bills come due with consumers.