As conservatives begin to come to grips with the passage of the health care law (and their failure to defeat it), they are -- predictably -- reacting poorly. Following weeks and months of failed rhetoric portraying passage of the law as "the end of America as you know it," some conservatives are still in denial, while others are stoking fears about what's coming.
What's coming? IRS "thugs coming with their guns" to force you into socialized medicine.
If it's not clear by now, it should be: Right-wing reaction to health care reform has the potential to become violent.
Fox Business Network's Stuart Varney took to Fox News this morning and claimed that the IRS is going to "hire 17,000 new agents and spend $10 billion so that they will check that you have the insurance that you're supposed to have." Varney's number of agents is based (shock) on a Republican estimate of the bill and the CBO actually projected that the costs to the IRS would be between $5 billion and $10 billion over the next 10 years.
Last night on Fox Business Network, America's Nightly Scoreboard host David Asman opened his show with an epic rant, repeatedly trashing the IRS and claiming that Americans "lost their freedom to choose their own health care options." Of the IRS, Asman stated:
[T]he IRS already has a history of forcing people to do what they don't want to do. But what's really scary about all this is that the IRS has a reputation of turning American justice on its head. In the world of IRS enforcement, you're often guilty until proven innocent. There have been many businesses that have had to fold up shop because of an IRS investigation, even if the owners of those businesses were later found to be innocent. And now IRS agents will have access to more of your personal files than ever. Does that make you feel good? Could that make any American feel good?
Asman wasn't done:
Frankly, it scares the hell out of Scoreboard. We don't trust the government with that kind of power and influence in our personal life. And we don't think that makes us anti-American, either. In fact, Scoreboard thinks that skepticism about growing government control is pro-American since America was founded on the principles of individual choice and distrust of government mandates that remove individual choice. This legislation is turning that philosophy upside down and putting IRS goons potentially in charge of matters that involve the most personal choices we make regarding life and death and this adds insult to injury.
Asman then immediately turned to a "man who spent his life fighting for the freedom to choose life," Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX):
ASMAN: Now the private option ... it's going to be illegal and not only will it be illegal because everybody will be forced to buy insurance, but you're going to have an IRS agent on your tail if you dare not to have insurance.What do you think of that?
PAUL: I think symbolically, the American people didn't have concern, they ought to just think about it: 16,500 armed bureaucrats coming to make this program work.
ASMAN: It's incredible.
PAUL: If it was a good program and everybody liked it you wouldn't need 16,500 thugs coming with their guns and putting you in jail if you didn't follow all the rules.
ASMAN: Exactly. I think you just said it. If it was a good program, you wouldn't need coercion. This is coercion. Using the power of the state as a coercive body rather than a representative of the American people's will. There's something deepy, deeply wrong with that.
Asman's portrayal of the legislative process as "coercion" rather than "representative of the American people's will," is of course absurd, if not childish.
But here's the deal:
Asman may not find "skepticism about growing government control" to be "anti-American" -- and he may indeed even see it as "pro-American" -- but referring to federal workers as "goons" and "thugs" is shameful.
And stoking fears that they are "coming with their guns and putting you in jail" if you don't comply is not only disingenuous, it's dangerous.