On March 6, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas introduced an amendment to defund Obamacare in the Senate version of the Continuing Resolution spending bill that will fund the federal government for the remainder of the 2013 fiscal year, according to a news release on the senator’s official website.
The “Restore Growth First” amendment will delay funding of Obamacare “at least until economic growth returns to historic averages” from its current moribund rate of 0.1 percent in the final quarter of 2012. The Texas senator cites President Barack Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment of the 2,500 page health care reform law known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed by the Democratic-controlled congress in 2010 as a primary force that is discouraging job creation.
Sen. Ted Cruz makes a clear and persuasive argument that the top problem facing Americans can be solved by stronger economic growth and improving prospects for the future by advocating:
“The very first priority of every elected official - Democrat and Republican - should be restoring economic growth, so we can ensure continued strength, prosperity, and opportunity for the next generations.”
Since the passage of President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the U.S. economy has failed to live up to the predictions of White House economic advisers.
As respected economist James Pethokoukis detailed in a July 2012 comparison of the Obama stimulus bill’s promises and results, the president’s Council of Economic Advisers predicted in early 2010 that the U.S. economy would growth at a rate of 4.3 percent in both 2011 and 2012 as a result of the “recovery act”.
In fact, the economy only grew a dismal 1.8 percent in 2011 and a projected 2.2 percent in 2012, despite President Barack Obama’s $800 billion stimulus spending extravaganza.
President Obama and his administration have yet to admit the stimulus bill was a failure, which inevitably leads to the question: “If the stimulus bill worked as the president and his allies claimed, then what other government policy superseded its effectiveness and continues to stymie economic growth?”
It is clear that since the passage of Obamacare in April 2010 the U.S. economy has underperformed dramatically from the 3.7 percent GDP growth experienced in the first quarter of 2010 and fell even further from the 5.9 percent GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2009.
The April 2010 passage and looming implementation of the Obamacare law introduced uncertainty and onerous costs on U.S. businesses through its new taxes, regulations, and employer mandates. Not surprisingly, the U.S. economy has struggled since the health care insurance reform legislation became federal law.
Sen. Ted Cruz displays an insightful understanding of the way the U.S. economy works on a practical level, as well as the destructive impact of Obamacare on the labor market, when he describes the law’s detrimental effects on job creation:
“Obamacare does precisely the opposite. It is already hurting small businesses, reducing the hours Americans are allowed to work, forcing employers to drop coverage, and leading to substantial increases in healthcare premiums—especially for young people. And, if Obamacare is fully implemented, it will create an even further drag on the economy, killing jobs and making it harder for those struggling to climb the economic ladder.”
The irony is that most of the federal government’s spending crisis is being driven by entitlement spending that is rapidly spiraling out of control due to aging demographics and the persistently high unemployment of the Obama era economy.
By removing the wildly unpopular Obamacare entitlement, the funding of existing programs like Social Security and Medicare would become a bit more manageable for future presidents and congresses with greater workforce participation driving increased revenues and payroll taxes.
As former President Bill Clinton warned House Democrats on Feb. 8, the Democratic Party now owns the health care issue – and its associated failures in implementation - and must be ready to make changes as politically necessary.
Perhaps the greatest irony of all would be if the eventual 2016 Democratic presidential candidate – perhaps even Hillary Clinton – ran on the issue of repealing portions of Obamacare. The unpopular health insurance reform act gave momentum to the Tea Party movement when it passed a Democrat-controlled congress without a single Republican vote in the U.S. Senate.
Sen. Ted Cruz might be the ideal GOP presidential nominee to present American voters with his vision of “Opportunity Conservatism” and economic growth to contrast with the Democratic Party’s model of “fairness” and redistribution of resources.
The Texas senator has rapidly become the premier leader in the Tea Party movement and continues to show the Republicans currently languishing in the political wilderness a map to regain ideological relevancy.
By putting forth an amendment in the Continuing Resolution bill to defund Obamacare, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is making true-believers of the Tea Party that helped him defeat the Republican establishment candidate in 2012, and proving why he shines so brightly among the GOP’s rising stars for the 2016 presidential nomination.
Steven Holmes is the Los Angeles Political Buzz Examiner.