Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Barack Obama took to the airwaves yesterday to announce his new round of gun control executive orders, and dab at his eyes with stinging, jalapeño-juice stained fingers in order to feign what actual humans call "tears."
Declaring for the umpteenth time that he is being driven by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's "fierce urgency of now," the president listed measures intended to close the "gun show loophole," prevent firearms ownership by Social Security recipients who need help managing their affairs, enable (and/or require) physicians to report people with mental instability to the FBI ("the patient was wearing a Donald Trump Make America Great Again campaign hat"), and possibly require people selling only one gun to first obtain a costly seller's license which takes the government months to process. Or longer, if Lois Lerner is in charge.
However, the executive orders weren't entirely one-sided. According to the president, even buyers who have been repeatedly convicted of violent crimes and are certifiably insane can still spend up to $150 billion a year on guns, threaten their neighbors, stockpile arms, fire missiles at American aircraft carriers, and...no, wait, that's his deal with Iran.
In any event, the president's executive orders are expected to be immediately challenged as unconstitutional, although his crocodile tears did dry long enough to sneer, "No matter how many times people try to twist my words around, I taught constitutional law."
Which perhaps explains why he wasn't home to watch the TV episode of Schoolhouse Rock which explained where laws come from.
BONUS: OBAMACARE UPDATE
It was never really our intention at Hope n' Change to make an ongoing feature of the Kafkaesque experiences associated with our Obamacare health insurance policy, but we feel that we owe it to history.
As you may recall, despite Barry's promises we couldn't keep our doctor or the health insurance we liked and were forced into an Obamacare policy last year...and it turns out we weren't allowed to keep that either. So we got a new policy this year which doesn't include any of our doctors, has an even higher deductible and, being an HMO plan, employs a "gatekeeper" to prevent us from getting actual medical care.
But wait! The helpful folks at Healthcare.gov recently called to say there was a problem with the application we turned in months ago. A problem which had to be rectified, or they'd take our insurance away.
The phone call began cryptically enough, with a man claiming to be with Healthcare.gov saying he needed us to give personal information over the phone to prove we were who he'd just called. We declined, citing concerns about identity theft, and instead asked him to tell us something from our records to show that he was legit. "I can't do that," he pointed out in his best Catch-22 style, "because you haven't proved that you are who you say you are."
Once past that hurdle, we got to the crux of the problem...
"Based on your previous tax records, your estimate for your future earnings in 2016 is too low."
"To begin with," we replied, "it's an estimate. But I already know that my earnings will be lower."
"Yes-s-s-s," the voice sighed, "but your estimate must be no lower than your adjusted gross income for your most recent tax year."
"Is that a rule? That's not listed on the application form. And why would it be my adjusted gross income and not my taxable income?"
"The rule isn't listed on the application because you're free to do your own estimate however you like. But if we disagree with your estimate, then your insurance will be rescinded."
"What?! Okay, how do I keep that from happening?!"
"You need to log on to Healthcare.gov again and change your application to reflect the higher estimated income."
"But won't that increase my insurance payments?"
"It will change the amount of any subsidy you qualify for."
"But my payments will then be based on an income higher than what I'll really have. So when 2016 is finished and I can show my actual earnings, will I get a rebate for what I overpaid?"
"No. But...you can begin our appeals process."
(Cue sounds of thunder and ominous organ music)
In the end, we did what the voice on the phone told us to do - much as if we were dealing with a kidnapper demanding ransom. So the price of our insurance has gone up needlessly, and we've been reminded that even when you think you've got health insurance the government can now take it away at any time for no reason at all.
If that doesn't scare you, you're not paying attention.