Towards An America That Does Big Things

July 7th, 2012

Last weeks Supreme Court Decision upholding Obamacare was a big win for the president and a big win for the uninsured. More importantly, it was a big win for people who still believe in an America that can do big things.  The Federal Government was designed to make passage of major legislation difficult, but in our modern era, the checks and balances created by the Framers 200 years ago have more often become a way for entrenched interests to veto policies that impose any costs on special interests, effectively preventing anyting from getting done on important issues as long as a loud minorities are opposed to them.

We have huge issues to resolve in this country: unemployment, ever increasing amounts of debt, runaway health insurance costs, a broken immigration system, crumbling infrastructure, global warming and an intractable addiction to fossil fuels, just to mention a few. And on all of these issues, we have faced a political system that has not been up to the task of resolving them.

The Affordable Care Act is not great legislation. In fact, in many ways, it is a symptom of our broken political system where every special interest had to be bought off in order to pass the legislation. Most of the provisions that dealt with cost control were taken out of it after Republican’s demagoged them. Still, whether you believe that the Affordable Care Act was a good law or a bad one, it’s clear that it tried to deal with a major problem in our society and, if it was overturned, it would have been the last attempt to deal with this issue in a generation. 

Judge Robert’s decision was the right one as is the effect of Robert’s decision. As Republicans made clear this week, the decision doesn’t end the debate over the Act. What it does is put the decision back into a realm where the public can decide whether they want to keep it or overturn it. If the legislation is so bad, then the Republicans need to elect a Republican President and Congress in order to overturn it.

It is certainly possible that the ACA will be gutted by the next president and Congress. But I am glad that the decision will be made by the votes of hundreds of millions of people in both parties, not just 5 Republicans judges in black robes.

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