At The Corner, Mark Steyn has a post about a letter that Congress has sent to health insurance companies…privately owned health insurance companies…demanding information about salaries and compensation:
Doctor O’s enforcers decide it’s time to get heavy with the insurance companies:
Letters sent to 52 insurance companies by Democratic leaders demand extensive documents for an examination of ‘extensive compensation and other business practices in the health insurance industry…”
By Sept. 4, the firms are supposed to supply detailed compensation data for board members and top executives, as well as a “table listing all conferences, retreats, or other events held outside company facilities from January 1, 2007, to the present that were paid for, reimbursed, or subsidized in whole or in part by your company.”
You first. How come the compensations and perks of a vice-president in a private company are to be subject to greater public forensic examination than those of Dodd or Rangel?
They’re supposed to be representatives not rulers. George III couldn’t have got away with a letter like that.
Politico has the full story.
The bottom line here, though, is that Mark Steyn is correct. George III couldn’t get away with such a request. More to the point, it’s doubtful that Old King George would even think of making such a request even at his craziest.
This is the story of a letter, and may not get much play in the media, but it should. What we’ve got here is a government that is so consumed with its own power that it feels it can reach into privately owned and operated companies and request confidential information. For what purpose?
The reason is obvious: they are looking for dirt on these companies in order to blackmail them into supporting Obamacare. They (led by the revolting Henry Waxman) are essentially threatening insurance companies by requesting this information. The might of the Internal Revenue Service, congressional investigations, and public demonization are all unwritten in this letter but clearly hanging in the air like the sword of Damocles over the heads of the insurance companies. This is rule by intimidation; this is rule by fear. Letters like these are the rough equivalent of the Monty Python line that’s been paraphrased so many times, “Nice [blank] you’ve got here…shame if anything should ‘happen’ to it.”
Am I exaggerating? Let’s get serious. What possible purpose could the government have in demanding this information other than to gather data to be used as a weapon? Why would the government want to know about “lavish spending” except to accuse the insurance companies of living the lifestyles of the rich and famous off the backs of sick people?
It must be stressed here that the insurance companies have not been accused of any crimes, and that they are not being investigated for illegal activities. This is just a fishing expedition from the government. If they get away with this, where will it end? Will the government suddenly start demanding information from any industry opposed to a government policy? Will they send letters to private citizens demanding information about your family budgets: how much do you spend on entertainment? On food? On alcohol? When you combine this latest tactic with “pay czar” Kenneth Feinberg’s claim that he can retroactively rescind executive compensation to companies that accepted TARP money, you can see an agenda that is anti-capitalist at its worst and ferociously power hungry at its best (Michelle Malkin has details).
I truly hope the insurance companies will tell Henry Waxman to go fly a kite, but my fear is that they will do what they have so far done and bend over for the mighty Barack Obama and his rule by intimidation.