The New York Times is worried about the IRS scandal–but not for the reasons that have alarmed most Americans. Since the paper actually encouraged the government to target conservative organizations for prejudicial treatment last year, its response to the outrageous conduct that even the White House condemned has been somewhat equivocal, rather than expressing the fears that others feel about the tax agency involving itself in partisan politics. What they’re really scared about, though, is the possibility that anger about the IRS and big government in general that this and other administration scandals have engendered will make it more difficult to implement ObamaCare. Though the Times’s editorial page is usually wrong about most issues, they’re right on target on this score.
That’s exactly why congressional Republicans shouldn’t back away from the idea of attempting to separate the IRS from the role the bill has them playing in rolling out this vast expansion of government power. Similarly, they should also investigate the efforts of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to shake down corporations in order to get them to contribute to a campaign to pressure people to enroll in the act’s health exchanges.
The IRS is tasked by the poorly named Affordable Care Act to scour the tax returns of citizens and businesses to determine which Americans will be fined for failing to buy insurance. Given the fact that the same person who presided over the IRS department that engaged in political targeting is now tasked with running the ObamaCare inquisition, Republicans would do well to not just ask about that appointment but to separate the tax agency from the health care boondoggle. Indeed, after provoking the justified derision of the country for their three-dozen futile attempts to repeal ObamaCare, the GOP should seize on this issue as a way to engage more than just conservative partisans in the need to rethink the bill.
A government that can’t be trusted to handle the processing of tax exemption applications without using political criteria that just happens to conform with the president’s prejudices and which spies on journalists with impunity simply isn’t capable of pulling off what is already a health care fiasco in a fair manner.
In that context, Sebelius’s outrageous stunt in which companies are being strong-armed to pay for ObamaCare propaganda is another reason why Congress must step in. The Enroll America campaign is merely a new branch of the same old Obama campaign fundraising machine. The spectacle of current and former government officials shaking down private businesses to pay for ads portraying the president’s signature legislation as a panacea is more than unseemly. It is a scandal in its own right that crosses a line that shouldn’t even be approached. Yet the Times thinks it’s all worth it because shoving ObamaCare down the nation’s throat is worth any moral or ethical compromise.
This shows again that, contrary to the pleas of the Times and other liberal organs, the spate of scandals isn’t a distraction from implementing the president’s second-term agenda. They are a reminder that the connection between these ethical shortcomings and the president’s big government to-do list is a good reason to slow down the rush toward health care Armageddon.