Now, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says she has the administrative flexibility to essentially rewrite the program herself from scratch, with no input or changes necessary from lawmakers. This too is absurd. Her lawyers no doubt have an expansive view of her discretion. But they are between a rock and hard place here. The only way CLASS works is if millions of healthy workers sign up for a program (though it will almost surely be a bad deal for them) even as sick workers who are likely to benefit are screened and kept out.
In one more sign of their shamelessness, the administration wants funding to conduct an “education campaign” to browbeat reluctant workers into signing up for a voluntary program that should never get off the ground.
The most serious threat to the nation’s long-term prosperity is runaway federal entitlement spending, and the CLASS Act is the perfect example of how not
to go about starting and running a federal entitlement program. And yet the Obama administration is doing whatever it can to salvage it. It’s yet another example of the president’s complete detachment from budgetary reality.
— James C. Capretta is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He was an associate director of the Office of Management and Budget from 2001 to 2004.