They won’t attack [Romney] for being Mormon (I hope), so calling him a murderer will have to do.... You know what’s really interesting about this spot? It’s not even a health-care ad. It’d be sleazy under any circumstances, but there’d at least be a concrete policy angle if Burton was selling it as an argument for, say, single-payer, to decouple insurance from employment. He’s not. There appears to be no actual policy argument here at all, unless The One now opposes layoffs on principle, for fear that someone somewhere might be left without insurance.The policy argument doesn't need to be explicit, I think: decoupling employment from insurance is clearly going to happen under Obamacare. As Dad29 was pointing out the other day, it's clear from the way the incentives and penalties are structured that the real desire is that employers should drop coverage, putting people on the public (i.e., government run) exchanges. Otherwise, how do you make sense of the fact that dropping coverage for all employees nets you a $2,000 annual penalty, but it's a $35,600 fine per employee per year if you fail to provide free birth-control, including sterilization and abortifacients?
The complexity of the regulations and the scale of the penalties will make compliance expensive even for those without moral objections -- especially as HHS appears to believe it has been given a free hand to revise the mandated requirements at any time. You can hire lawyers and accountants to keep you in compliance, risking massive fines if you should miss something; or you can pay $2,000 total and opt out for the year.
Just a cost of doing business, that.
As for attacking Mormonism, coincidentally Adam Gopnik just finished a piece for the New Yorker on the history of Mormonism. The upshot of the piece is that Mormonism is clearly a fraud perpetrated by an unstable madman, has weird doctrines, and was imposed in Utah through extreme brutality including the massacre of a large number of innocents who had accepted safe passage from Brigham Young's riders. We learn that it was so dangerous that the US Army was called out to quell it, avoiding war only because the Mormons surrendered key doctrines of their faith.
However, the piece concludes, all is well now because the Mormons sold out. Having left off pursuit of the stranger aspects of their faith for pursuit of vast, vast wealth, they are no longer the danger to society that once they were.
'But hey!' the piece concludes: religions selling out for money is a good thing. The Mormons are role models for the rest of you, who ought to sell out your values like they did. That brings us back around to the business about the huge fines and the contraception mandate, after all.
I'd assume that the timing was coincidental, except Mr. Gopnik explains that it isn't:
It’s only later in the cycle of integration that the group comes banging on the door—as Jews and Catholics did, in the nineteen-fifties—for more general admission, not as cardboard stage-ethnic types good at one or two things but as people available to do everything, just like the ruling Wasps. That’s when everyone starts asking what it is these people really believe.As he goes on to point out, his piece is not alone: in addition to "four scholarly books" on the history, there are a ton of "Mormon jokes" and "a Mormon-themed Broadway show" engaging the attention of New York City right now.
Now, I haven't heard any Mormon jokes. Religious jokes can be funny, if they're in the right spirit. Are they?