If my Congressman, Henry Waxman, were in any other line of work, he would long since have lost his job, but alas for us, he’ll remain in Congress. The wily Henry is the modern day equivalent of a “Yellow Dog” Democrat. (“The term ‘yellow dog’ derives from the saying, ‘I’d vote for a yellow dog if he ran on the Democratic ticket.’“)
Like Chris Dodd, Waxman was first elected to Congress before the president entered high school. He represents a district that regularly votes for Democratic presidential candidates by a two-to-one margin. The 18-term Democrat always wins more than 60% of the vote, with his lowest tally being 61% in 1992. As long as he keeps that (D) after his name, ol’ Henry will keep his job. To paraphrase Edwin Edwards, he wouldn’t lose an election even if he were “caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy.”
No wonder that he, in the wake of Obamcare’s passage, companies “declared that a provision of the new health care law would hurt earnings”, rushed to judgment, summoning “some of the nation’s top executives to Capitol Hill to defend their assessment that the new national health care reform law will cost their companies hundreds of millions of dollars in health insurance expenses.” He knew he would suffer no electoral consequences for what Glenn Reynolds (who alerted me to the New York Times article linked above) called a “fail,” should this rush to judgment prove too hasty.
Times reporter Robert Pear notes that “after investigating, House Democrats have concluded that the companies were right to tell investors and the government about the expected adverse effects of the law on their financial results.”
In the business world, Waxman would at minimum be disciplined, more likely demoted, maybe even fired for his hasty action. But, I doubt Speaker Pelosi will relieve him of his position as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Nor will he suffer at the ballot box. In a district such as ours, the (D) after his name relieves him of all responsibility for mistakes as egregious as this; it’s like a “Get out of Jail Free” card.
So, even if, as per Ed Morrissey’s sarcastic suggestion that Waxman demand “his own Democratic colleagues in the House appear before his Oversight committee to explain why they have corroborated thoseeeeeeeeeeeevil corporations who announced writedowns after ObamaCare passed“, he won’t suffer any political consequences.
Morrissey also unpacks the issue a bit:
As explained here repeatedly, Congress set the rules that required publicly-traded companies to make those statements. The Sarbanes-Oxley laws demand full and complete disclosure of changes to financial positions, especially negative changes. The CEOs would have broken SEC laws had they not announced the writedowns as soon as they were calculated and substantiated.
To some extent, though, this entire episode was a farce. Democrats knew full well that they had ended the tax credit for the subsidy that keeps retirees on private, employer-based prescription coverage. They did that deliberately in order to gain $5.4 billion in revenue to close the gap for the CBO analysis of ObamaCare. That money comes right off of the balance sheets of private industry — in fact, Democrats counted on it.
Over at Red State, Moe Lane reviews “the sequence of events leading up” to the Democratic admission of their mistakes in this matter.