President Obama and his progressive acolytes are renewing their theme of income inequality but one GOP Senator is stressing a different type of inequality – regarding enforcement of Obamacare.
Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson is filing a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Wisconsin to make Congress live by the letter of the health care law it imposed on the rest of us.
If President Obama and Democrats are so focused on fairness then why does his signature piece of legislation grant unfair waivers, exemptions, and delays for his cohorts and cronies but not for the everyday hard working American? Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Johnson says,
By arranging for me and other members of Congress and their staffs to receive benefits intentionally ruled out by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the administration has exceeded its legal authority.
Unlike millions of their countrymen who have lost coverage and must now purchase insurance through an exchange, members and their staffs will receive an employer contribution to help pay for their new plans. It is clear that this special treatment, via a ruling by the president’s Office of Personnel Management, was deliberately excluded in the law.
This is one of the major sticking points in America, political elitism. It was George Mason who articulated in June 1788, “Nothing so greatly impels a man to regard the interests of his constituents than the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, so he may participate in their burdens.”
This simple quote demonstrates the fact that our Founding Fathers never believed elected office should become a career pursuit, quite to the contrary. They believed in the service of legislating but also that one should live under the laws created. And the whole thing about “recess” did not mean elected officials went back home to the playground, but rather back to their regular career pursuits as doctors, lawyers, farmers, Soldiers, etc.
We see this principle in our state governments where there is a designated legislative session, mostly focused on creating an annual balanced budget. As well, term limits seem to work quite well at the state level.
Some would say we can’t afford to have term limits at the federal government and that the two year (House of Representatives) and six year (Senate) cycles for voting are de facto term limits, but I disagree. With the system of “gerrymandering” many of these representatives are there for life. I would suggest a system whereby maximum federal elected legislative service was limited to12 years (based on two terms in US Senate) and in the House of Representatives, eight years, so one could serve in both the House and the Senate, but the maximum aggregate would still be twelve years.
Some might say we need experienced legislators, but tell me, is it working now? They may be experienced, but their interests lie not with the American people, but with their own self and special interest.
Senator Johnson explains the chicanery,
Congress wanted to appear eager to avail themselves of the law’s benefits and be more than willing to subject themselves to the exact same rules, regulations and requirements as their constituents. Eager, that is, until they began to understand what they had actually done to themselves. For instance, by agreeing to go through an exchange they cut themselves off from the option of paying for health care with pretax dollars, the way many Americans will continue to do through employer-supplied plans. That’s when they went running to President Obama for relief. The president supplied it via the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which issued a convoluted ruling in October 2013 that ignores the clear intent and language of the law. After groping for a pretext, OPM essentially declared the federal government a small employer—magically qualifying members of Congress for coverage through a Small Business Health Options Program, exchanges where employers can buy insurance for their employees
As Senator Johnson realizes there is a growing chasm between the elected elite and the constituency. His closing comment is honorable and telling, “I believe that I have not only legal standing but an obligation to go to court to overturn this unlawful executive overreach, end the injustice, and provide a long overdue check on an executive that recognizes fewer and fewer constitutional restraints.”
I know Senator Johnson and he is truly one of the good guys. And you can bet he’ll be viciously attacked by the liberal progressive media. Please chime in and send his office a supportive call or email. This is what principled, courageous leadership looks like: service over self.