Over at the Washington Examiner, Tim Carney writes on the waiver process for Obamacare:
Congress imposes mandates on other entities, but gives bureaucrats the power to waive those mandates. To get such a waiver, you hire the people who used to administer or who helped craft the policies. So who’s the net winner? The politicians and bureaucrats who craft policies and wield power, because this combination of massive government power and wide bureaucratic discretion creates huge demand for revolving-door lobbyists. It’s another reason Obama’s legislative agenda, including bailouts, stimulus, ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, tobacco regulation, and more, necessarily fosters more corruption and cronyism.
As Dan Mitchel at Forbes notes, this replays a scene from Ayn Rand’s epic novel Atlas Shrugged:
Nobody professed to understand the question of the frozen railroad bonds, perhaps, because everybody understood it too well.
At first, there had been signs of a panic among the bondholders and of a dangerous indignation among the public. Then, Wesley Mouch had issued another directive, which ruled that people could get their bonds “defrozen” upon a plea of “essential need”: the government would purchase the bonds, if it found proof of the need satisfactory. There were three questions that no one answered or asked: “What constituted proof?” “What constituted need?” “Essential-to whom?”
[…] One was not supposed to speak about the men who, having been refused, sold their bonds for one-third of the value to other men who possessed needs which, miraculously, made thirty-three frozen cents melt into a whole dollar, or about a new profession practiced by bright young boys just out of college, who called themselves “defreezers” and offered their services “to help you draft your application in the proper modern terms.” The boys had friends in Washington. [Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand]
Was Ayn Rand a fortune teller? No. She was a philosopher who identified the principles that guide action in the human sphere and carried them out to their logical conclusions. And when government bureaucrats are granted the arbitrarily power to regulate commerce, the rule of economic production is replaced by replaced by the rule of political pull.