The Magazine

The Real Price of Politics

Obamacare is not an aberration

Dec 2, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 12 • By JAY COST
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All of this signals a profound irony of American civic history. A careful reading of the Founders, especially Madison, suggests that they were deeply concerned about the danger of corruption, a cancer they feared could rot the body politic from within. Their system carefully balanced structures and powers to prevent that. Subsequent leaders had less regard for balance and blithely expanded government’s powers without revisiting the structure. The result? A government so riddled with corruption that its people no longer trust it—and are right to doubt it at every turn. 

For generations, Americans have prided ourselves on our Constitution, though we choose neither to follow it dutifully nor to revise it thoughtfully. Obamacare is the bitter fruit of our civic recklessness. It rewards or punishes factions in society according to their political prominence. Republicans may eventually manage to repeal it, but as long as the country retains a disjointed view of what our government can do, we are bound to repeat its mistakes time and again.

Jay Cost is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard.

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