The Corner

Meet the Flintstones

In Hollywood, as elsewhere, there’s something called the “chain of title,” a line-item in the production of any movie to which studios, entertainment-business law firms, and major talent agencies devote an inordinate amount of time and manpower. Any fingerprints on a project, from the original book or first writer down to the last rewriter, have to be examined, trademark clearances obtained, copyrights secured. Come awards time, writers and others battle fiercely for credit on a movie, with large sums of bonus money riding on the outcome. 

And yet, when it comes to making laws — and, these days, more important — regulations that affect 300-million-plus Americans, we have no idea which trolls, munchkins, and evil dwarves wrote things like the Patient Deflection and Unaffordable Care Act, not-so-popularly known as Obamacare. There’s a reason for that, as Victor noted the other day: 

The “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010,” otherwise known as Obamacare, frontloaded for immediate enactment some popular freebies. Who would oppose keeping children on their parents’ health coverage until age 26, or prohibiting denial of insurance for those with pre-existing illnesses?

Then, three years later and with two elections out of the way, the tab for all the perks suddenly came due. The law turns out neither to protect patients from rate hikes nor to make health care affordable. In fact, the administration promises of 2009–10 are becoming the nightmare of 2013.

What a surprise. Anyone who spent five minutes as a sentient adult during the late 1960s could have — and did — see that coming, because lying in what they consider a good cause is what leftists always do. (Think of it as “American taqiyya.”) For them, deceit in the pursuit of extremism —  the “fundamental transformation” of a Republic that has lasted for more than two centuries, and was in any case not in need of transformation — is never a vice. 

So who are they, these dung beetles in the bowels of the executive branch, Congress, and the regulatory agencies (come the counter-revolution, the “regulatory” agencies must be the first things that go) who constructed Obamacare from merely a gleam in its daddy’s speechwriter’s eye to a full-fledged nightmare? Who gave the country a crushing, coercive tax (John Roberts was right about something) that masqueraded as “compassion” and was sold through a series of bald-faced lies delivered by a popular pitchman who now takes no responsibility for what he has wrought? Congress is fond of holding sham, consequence-free hearings on various administration scandals — Darrell Issa’s long-running Capitol Hill sitcom starring Eric Holder as the punching bag is one of the best –  so why not shine the lights on the regulatory basements and see what scuttles out? 

Better yet, a functioning press with its curiosity gene not already surgically removed would have done that already. The Establishment Media, however, is only capable of reporting the horse race, and analyzing the reportage of the horse race, not, you know, actually investigating; there’s no money or glory or face time with David Gregory in it. 

Legend has it that a dozen or so writers contributed to the movie version of The Flintstones, and you can bet that they fought to grab one of the three coveted “written by” screen credits the rules allow, no matter how the movie turned out. The real authors of Obamacare, however, prefer to remain deep in the cave. Maybe they deserve a little credit, too?

Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.

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