Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Impossible Things

Alice did six impossible things before breakfast. The Obama administration seems to be trying to outdo her.

I will call the most recent attempt the Immaculate Payment. For those who haven't kept up with the administration outrages, it seems that Obamacare requires that Catholic institutions provide contraception in their employee health care policies, which is a violation of Catholic teachings and conscience. The first attempted "accommodation" by the administration was permission for the Catholic institutions to take a year beyond the intended initiation date to allow them time to prepare and make adjustments. How does one prepare for or make adjustments to a violation of conscience?

After an ocean of public outrage the administration's fall back position was that the institutions would not have to provide insurance covering contraception services, but the insurance companies that sold them health care would, and for free. Get it? Blue Cross would sell insurance to a Catholic hospital without contraception coverage, but would simultaneously give contraception coverage for free to the recipient of that health care. Now you get it... don't you?

In justifying the "need" for contraception coverage the administration falsely claimed the cost of such coverage ran up to $600 per year. Using that number, we are being told that insurance companies will provide $600 extra coverage for free. The part of the constitution that permits the feds to mandate such payments doesn't pop right out in my mind. Should this Obama fantasy occur, it would be a truly immaculate payment.

The debate is about government overreach, not contraception. Should government have the power to force religious based institutions to violate their conscience? Not only does the mandate require conventional contraception, but also the morning after pill and the week after pill. That sounds like abortion to me, in spite of the administration spokesman's bogus claims to the contrary. Also, the "settlement" fails under any interpretation for those Catholic institutions that self insure, like the archdiocese of Washington DC.

The good news is that the administration believes this is a political winner. They are so wrong it is laughable. They want to make it appear that Republicans are against birth control, rather than the real objection which is the government's attack on religious liberty. Those who comprehend the real issue almost uniformly oppose this unprecedented intrusion, and unlike the others, they are very passionate about their beliefs.

The bank mortgage settlement is another administration impossible thing. The banks were found guilty of robo-signing foreclosure documents. The law requires personal review by a bank employee to move foreclosure forward, and the banks had computers sign without review. They were guilty of a technical but real violation. A fine was the appropriate remedy, although you can count on one hand the people who were truly injured by it. Many people were put out of their homes, but the paperwork for 99% of them was correct. The fine for this injustice was 25 billion dollars. 5 billion will go to people forced out of their home (99% of whom would have suffered the same fate had the violation not occurred,) and the the balance will be used for mortgage adjustments for people who owe more than their house is worth.

What you see at work is the heavy had of government, designed not to help homeowners, but to score political points. In fact homeowners will be hurt. Banks will impose stricter requirements for mortgages, there will be higher costs to the lender and consumer, and a justifiable exit from any area  the government is involved in..aka..maneuvering for political advantage.

More impossible things to come.

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