The Corner

Obamacare Is the Vasa of Our Times

I have been trying to think of a good metaphor for the Obamacare debacle. I think I found it in the Vasa.

Vasa was a Swedish warship launched in 1628 — only to sink after sailing less than a mile. It is so apt! Here’s the Wikipedia recounting:

Vasa was built top-heavy and had insufficient ballast. Despite an obvious lack of stability in port, she was allowed to set sail and foundered only a few minutes after she first encountered a wind stronger than a breeze.

The impulsive move to set sail was the result of a combination of factors: Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus, who was leading the army on the continent on the date of her maiden voyage, was impatient to see her join the Baltic fleet in the Thirty Years’ War; at the same time, the king’s subordinates lacked the political courage to discuss the ship’s structural problems frankly or to have the maiden voyage postponed. An inquiry was organized by the Swedish privy council to find personal responsibility for the disaster, but in the end no one was punished for the fiasco.

Perfect! We have seen the same exact arrogance, stupidity, and lack of accountability in Obamacare — the public-policy Vasa of our times. 

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