When President Obama talks about class warfare, he’s not talking about the good kind of CLASS warfare fiscal conservatives will be waging in Congress today.
The House of Representatives is set to vote today on the repeal of the CLASS Act, a facet of Obamacare that is so expensive that even HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says we can’t afford it.
If you want an example of the kind of ill-thought out legislation that results from ramming 2,000-plus pages of unread legalese through Congress, you could do no better than to study the CLASS Act.
Envisioned as an insurance program for long-term care, it was to be funded by a voluntary payroll tax. So the taxpayer is off the hook, right? Since, however, only the sickest were likely to participate in the program, it would either collapse of its own weight or—surprise! Surprise!—require a bailout by taxpayers.
The CLASS Act was cynically included as part of Obamacare as a way of hiding the cost of the program, which the CBO puts at $81 billion over a decade. The Wall Street Journal notes that this “only seems like a pittance because it was folded into the much larger multitrillion-dollar ObamaCare package.”
Although Sebelius announced that the program would be unsustainable, CLASS remains on the books. That worries GOP members of the House. Unless a stake is driven through its heart, the CLASS Act can be revived by the left.
The repeal is expected to pass the House but it is more than likely that Democrats will prevent it from coming up for a vote in the Senate. The Journal, however, urges GOP senators not to let the Democrats block repeal:
The conventional wisdom is that Class repeal is dead on Senate arrival, though a dozen Democrats voted to strip Class out of ObamaCare in December 2009. If Senate Republicans have any political wit, they'll declare all-out Class warfare and compel repeated floor votes. Either they'll get rid of it permanently or else force Democrats to defend the program that even they admit is indefensible.
If Congress can't strike a zombie entitlement that has no constituency, that now even the Administration says is unworkable, and that its own deficit commission recommended eliminating . . . well, what hope is there for reforming other entitlements?
As long as CLASS is not repealed, there remains the disturbing possibility that the taxpayer will ultimately get stuck for the cost of this fantasy land program, ill-designed even by the exalted standards of the rest of Obamacare.