Crony capitalism is alive and well in Washington, where politicians cannot help but put special interests ahead of ordinary, hard-working Americans. Big businesses breathed a collective sigh of relief when President Obama delivered them a mid-summer gift, delaying their Obamacare health insurance mandate. Unfortunately, the same tax break was not extended to all Americans, just those who employ more than 50 people.
Millions of the rest of us are still on the hook for the individual mandate that imposes a federal requirement to buy insurance or pay a fine. The Republican-led House of Representatives just gave the same break to individuals that the president gave to big business by executive fiat. We need the president and the Democrat-led Senate to step up and follow the House to prevent this burden on individual taxpayers.
In just a few months, individuals will be required to purchase health insurance that is approved by the Department of Health and Human Services. This federal entity will not only be able to mandate coverage, but they will also be able to determine how it is applied to the individual. And this extra government intrusion into your healthcare is just the tip of the Obamacare iceberg.
The law has established an unprecedented mandate: buy government-approved healthcare or pay a tax penalty. Depending on the size of the family, the Congressional Budget Office estimates by 2016 that six million Americans will be responsible for sending an additional $695-$2086 to the Internal Revenue Service each year.
It was wise of the president to delay the job-stifling mandate on big business, even though the delay was probably motivated by a selfish attempt to avoid further economic turmoil before the 2014 elections. The president realized that businesses could not afford the crippling new taxes and regulatory headaches in Obamacare, but what about the rest of America?
This is no longer about healthcare or President Obama; it is about getting the economy running again. The truth is, Americans cannot afford Obamacare. The economy remains stagnant, the recovery has all but failed, and there are millions of Americans still out of work. Piling more fines or taxes on the backs of already struggling families is not the way to bring back prosperity.
Americans have been told to believe the economy is the president’s top priority — that’s what he says after weak economic growth numbers are released each month. But if that were true, he would be working tirelessly to lower taxes and make it easier for the economy to grow. That does not just mean perks for big businesses; it means creating a pro-growth environment that benefits everyone.
When President Ronald Reagan was faced with a recession, the nation’s recovery was inspiring; he created millions of jobs by extending the ladder of opportunity with pro-growth policies, not by taxing it further. Under President Reagan, we saw the economy come roaring back at a pace more than double that of Obama’s recovery. In just three years, Reagan presided over the creation of 12 million jobs. In the same amount of time, the Obama “recovery” has only been able to create 2.5 million.
President Reagan had faith in the American people, and he gave them the right tools. He simplified the tax code and lowered taxes for all Americans. He believed poor and middle class entrepreneurs deserved a shot at pursuing the American Dream, and his policies encouraged economic growth and prosperity. Reagan led America out of a recession and into one of the most impressive periods of economic growth in our nation’s history.
Unfortunately, the reality is President Obama and the Democrat-controlled Senate have shown little interest in abandoning their liberal agenda for the pro-growth policies of the Reagan recovery or even the economic boom that occurred after President John F. Kennedy reduced the tax burden.
Since the president and the Democratic leadership are unwilling to change their failed policies, only by changing the players in Washington will we be able to affect true policy change that will unleash the true power of the American economy. If people want to know where the Tea Party went, you can find us working hard in the campaigns to take back the Senate and expand our influence in the House. It is critical that Americans elect pro-growth conservatives in 2014.
Sal Russo is the co-founder and chief strategist of the Tea Party Express, the largest tea party political action committee.