Matthews: Autocrats will mandate: health insurance, vaccines, electric cars and more
Matthews: Autocrats will mandate: health insurance, vaccines, electric cars and more

The White House and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deny that the latest EPA regulations are intended to force everyone to switch from gas-powered to electric vehicles (EVs). Don’t trust them. Progressive elites rely on the power of government to force you to do what they think you have to do. In other words, autocrats will mandate.

We’ve seen this movie before. Remember, the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) went into effect 10 years ago. One key component of ObamaCare that caused so much displeasure was the mandate that everyone have health insurance.

And not just any insurance, but the insurance that President Obama and his fellow Democrats thought you should have. Millions of Americans who had very good, affordable health insurance that they liked (including my wife) lost that coverage because progressive elites didn’t think it was good enough. Those who did not have qualified ObamaCare coverage had to pay a penalty.

Republicans eventually passed legislation that eliminated the penalty, making the health insurance mandate moot. Yet the health insurance industry did not collapse. Yes, the cost of health insurance has risen significantly since 2014 — contrary to all the Democrats’ promises of how much cheaper it would be — but that’s partly because of all the coverage mandates imposed by ObamaCare.

Or how about the COVID-19 vaccine? The vast majority of Americans lined up to get the vaccine as soon as it was available, with about 1 million a day being vaccinated when Joe Biden took office. But vaccine enthusiasm waned as boosters increased and time ran out, so Biden mandated a vaccine (or a weekly test) for government employees and contractors, the military, health care workers, nursing homes and private businesses. sector with 100 or more employees — approximately 84 million Americans.

He would have granted more mandate, but the US Supreme Court intervened. The court upheld the vaccine mandate for health care workers and nursing homes that receive funding from Medicare or Medicaid, but struck down the mandate for businesses, arguing that the government had overstepped its authority — something the Biden Administration has done regularly.

Now, Biden and his EPA are taking steps to make it mandatory for everyone to drive EVs in the near future. Only this time, the administration is using what we might call a “backdoor mandate.”

Biden is handing out billions of taxpayer dollars to automakers to get them to switch to electric cars. And while they agreed, consumers didn’t get the memo. They still want gas trucks and SUVs.

So the EPA progressively increases limits on tailpipe emissions, effectively making it difficult or impossible for automakers to produce gasoline-powered vehicles that meet the government’s limits. That way, the government doesn’t force you to have an EV, it just makes it nearly impossible for you to buy anything else.

The rationale for the EV mandate is similar to that behind the vaccine mandate: enthusiasm for EVs has waned. Car dealers can’t sell them, so manufacturers drop prices. Hertz recently drastically reduced its inventory of EV rentals because no one wanted them.

Declining demand for EVs is a problem for Biden, progressives and environmentalists because — like health insurance and the COVID-19 vaccine — they think they know what’s best for you and the country. In their minds, saving the planet may require arm-twisting.

A hallmark of the progressive mentality is that if society does not do what progressives believe is best, they will use the power of government to force them to do so. We’ve seen it with ObamaCare, COVID-19 vaccines, electric cars, and many other issues—for example, mandating the use of ethanol in gasoline. And they may come for your gas stove.

As Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel recently wrote, “Today’s Democratic Party is entirely devoted to the proposition that all Americans should be told how to live.”

If they continue down this path, they should consider changing their name from Democrats to Autocrats.

Merrill Matthews is a resident scholar at the Institute for Policy Innovation in Dallas, Texas. Follow him to X@MerrillMatthews.

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