I wrote last week about HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ threat to put companies that criticize ObamaCare out of business by denying them access to the state-controlled health-insurance markets that begin in 2014. That same day, Michael Barone, who I believe coined the words “thugocracy” and “gangster government” to describe the Obama Administration, weighs in:
“Congress shall make no law,” reads the First Amendment, “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”
Sebelius’ approach is different: “zero tolerance” for dissent.
The threat to use government regulation to destroy or harm someone’s business because they disagree with government officials is thuggery. Like the Obama administration’s transfer of money from Chrysler bondholders to its political allies in the United Auto Workers, it is a form of gangster government.
“The rule of law, or the rule of men (women)?” economist Tyler Cowen asks on his marginalrevolution.com blog. As he notes, “Nowhere is it stated that these rate hikes are against the law (even if you think they should be), nor can this ‘misinformation’ be against the law.”
According to Politico, not a single Democratic candidate for Congress has run an ad since last April that makes any positive reference to Obamacare. The First Amendment gives candidates the right to talk — or not talk — about any issue they want.
But that is not enough for Sebelius and the Obama administration. They want to stamp out negative speech about Obamacare. “Zero tolerance” means they are ready to use the powers of government to threaten economic harm on those who dissent.
I’ve noted before that Barack Obama seems to have a problem with freedom of speech. Apparently Secretary Sebelius has that problem, too.
EDIT: I shortened the quote to remove some redundant information.