As a rabid Communist, I was thrilled when Comrade Obama was going to nationalize healthcare. "This is what I voted for," I said to myself, "hope, change, collective farms. Step one is a government takeover of the healthcare industry."
Imagine my disappointment when the Affordable Healthcare Act fell just short of a government takeover. By "just short," I mean the AHA is nothing like a government takeover. It is a few new regulations and a web portal that allows people to shop for private insurance policies, of which they are required to purchase one. I wouldn't call me being required to buy insurance from a private company a government takeover of insurance, I'd call that a government-aided private takeover of insurance.
Yet John Boehner and Ted Cruz could see the invisible hand of Stalin at work: the American people would be an enslaved proletariate, working their fingers to the bone to pay insurance premiums, while Federal Employees would make up a superior class of fat-cats, living large in DC on account of their exemption from the AHA. Anyone who read Animal Farm could see this coming a mile away.
Federal employees exempt from the AHA! It sounds almost too crazy to be true! Mostly because it is too crazy to be true.
The "federal employee exemption" has been disproven thoroughly several times, but most Americans, and especially some in Congress, don't let facts get in the way of their opinions. This non-existent exemption was at the crux of the Boehner/Cruz Shutdown. On Meet the Press Cruz called for an end to the "exemption," and at a pre-Shutdown rally, Boehner shouted, "Get rid of the exemption for Members of Congress! It’s a matter of fairness for all Americans!”
Fuck yeah! What that guy said! Fair-ness, fair-ness, fair-ness!
Cut it or shut it! Government is the problem! Drill, baby, drill!
To prove they meant business, Boehner and Cruz would close down the government. They'd trim the fat. No "nonessential" employees could go to work. There would be no more exemptions! Fairness! No special treatment! Not a single "nonessential" government employee would get paid ... until they got back to work and got paid for all the time they'd been furloughed.
Wait, what? All government employees are being paid for the time they were furloughed?
Yes indeed. The fairness brigade decided that, although no private employee gets back pay when they get furloughed by their employer since furloughs are a cost-cutting measure, all federal employees would get paid. So not a furlough, but a forced paid vacation.
This measure passed the House last Saturday 407-0. Unanimous! Aptly titled "The Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act." Even the Tea Party agrees that Federal employees should be treated differently.
But this being American government, we had to get there the long, expensive way. Since "nonessential" federal employees didn't think they were getting paid, they filed for unemployment while furloughed. Now that they're getting paid back pay, they'll have to return the unemployment money -- costing more time in unemployment processing, costing more time in government office productivity, etc etc etc.
Closing the government will most likely end up costing us more than keeping it open.
It's times like these that the collective farm isn't looking so bad!