First term U.S. Senator Ron Johnson is a fierce critic of Obamacare. He believes the government’s attempt to take over one-sixth of the U.S. economy was a major blunder and is a looming disaster. The Wisconsin Republican says it is the American people who will ultimately have to decide whether or not to reject the president’s signature legislation.
“You’ve got to start informing people who work with you of the destructive path this nation is on,” Johnson said. “You’ve got to be talking about how harmful Obamacare is going to be, because we have to do it. In the political process, you have to inform, you have to persuade and you have to win the argument. We haven’t done that sufficiently enough.”
Senator Johnson is touring Iowa this week, as part of Americans for Prosperity’s “Big Government Braley” tour, which is designed to highlight presumptive Democrat U.S. Senate nominee Bruce Braley’s liberal record. Johnson also met with Iowa business owners during an afternoon luncheon in downtown Des Moines. The discussion focused on the impact of Obamacare on small businesses.
“My message, as we talk about this, about the enormous challenge we have facing us, with President Obama in the White House, Harry Reid in the senate, the challenge patriots have in trying to overturn this law, so it doesn’t harm our healthcare system, so it doesn’t further bankrupt this nation: Don’t give up,” Johnson said.
Johnson provided attendees with a dose of sobering reality during the luncheon. Despite a push from fellow Republican Senator Ted Cruz to defund Obamacare, Johnson said that is not possible. It’s not that he is opposed to the idea. Johnson says it cannot be done.
“There’s no way, unfortunately, for us to defund Obamacare,” Johnson told the group. “I know people say you’ve got the power of the purse. In this case, we don’t. Two-thirds of the federal budget is mandatory spending. It’s on automatic pilot. You can’t stop it from being spent by just not passing a two-year resolution to fund the other third. And quite honestly, Obamacare is all mandatory spending.”
Several of the business leaders in attendance at the luncheon expressed concerns about how the implementation of Obamacare will affect their company. Mike Whalen, the owner of the Machine Shed restaurants, cannot get a straight answer from his healthcare provider regarding how much Obamacare will cost him. Whalen was given an estimate of somewhere between a half million dollars and five million dollars.
“That’s real simple to calculate into your business plan for the next year,” Whalen scoffed. “I look at the coverage, and the coverage is not as advertised. This thing is a train wreck.”
Jeff Ballenger, who owns a car dealership and a chain of car washes in the Council Bluffs area, said due to the mandates being pushed on Americans by their government, who wonders if his children will have the opportunity to own a small business like he does.
“Or will they put up that white flag and say you know, it’s probably just easier to work for somebody else,” Ballenger said during the luncheon. “And I think that’s my message back to Washington, D.C. We’ve really got to be careful about killing the American dream and about saying to entrepreneurs that you’re not valued. One of the ways that they show that is by continuing to pile on with the regulatory atmosphere and the mandates.”
Senator Johnson concurs. He says a poll showing Congress’ approval rating standing at 10 percent is probably too high.
“The problem in Washington, D.C., is you have all these utopians, all these geniuses who think that they can actually command one-sixth of the economy,” Johnson told the group.
Senator Johnson believes the solution is to bring the free market back into healthcare and giving people the responsibility and wherewithal to pay for, with things like health savings accounts. Johnson says the root problem of the country’s woes lie with its elected representatives in Washington, D.C.
“We don’t pass laws in this country anymore. We pass frameworks for the regulators to write the laws,” Johnson said. “Getting down to the root cause of what’s harming our culture and our economy is the size, the scope, all the rules, all the regulations, all of government’s intrusion in our lives, result in the cost and debt of government.”
Senator Johnson finds hypocrisy in President Obama’s decision to exempt members of Congress from the same Obamacare regulations they are imposing on Americans. He also finds it very telling that the same unions that back Obama and his fellow Democrats are also asking for exemptions.
Ron Johnson came to the U.S. Senate after 31 years in the private sector as a manufacturer. In fact, he is the only manufacturer in the senate. Despite his visit to Iowa, Johnson said he is not interested in pursuing a presidential bid and the goal of his visit was to help elect a Republican in 2014 to fill the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Tom Harkin.
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