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Autocrats Gonna Mandate: Health Insurance, Vaccines, EVs and More

The Hill

The White House and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are denying that recent EPA regulations are meant to mandate that everyone switch from gas-powered to an electric vehicle (EV). Don’t you believe ’em. Progressive elites rely on the power of government to force you to do what they think you should be doing. In other words, autocrats gonna mandate. 

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

And not just any ‘ole 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 they liked (including my wife) lost that coverage because progressive elites didn’t think it was good enough. Those who didn’t have ObamaCare-qualified coverage had to pay a penalty.  

Republicans eventually passed legislation that zeroed out the penalty, making the health insurance mandate moot. Yet the health insurance industry didn’t collapse. Yes, the cost of health insurance has risen significantly since 2014 — in contradiction to all the Democratic promises of how much cheaper it would be — but that’s in part 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 passed, so Biden imposed a vaccine mandate (or the taking of a weekly test) on government employees and contractors, the military, health care workers, nursing homes and private sector businesses with 100 or more employees — an estimated 84 million Americans. 

He would have mandated more but the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in. The court upheld the vaccine mandate for health care workers and nursing homes that receive Medicare or Medicaid funds, but struck down the mandate on businesses, asserting the government overstepped its authority — something the Biden administration does regularly. 

Now, Biden and his EPA are taking steps to mandate everyone driving an EV in the near future. Only this time, the administration is using what we might call a “back door mandate.”  

Biden has been handing out billions of taxpayer dollars to the car manufacturers to induce them to transition to EVs. And while they acquiesced, consumers didn’t get the memo. They still want gasoline-powered trucks and SUVs. 

So the EPA is progressively increasing restrictions on tailpipe emissions, in effect making it difficult or impossible for carmakers to make gasoline-powered vehicles that comply with government restrictions. Thus, the government isn’t mandating you have an EV, it’s just making it nearly impossible for you to buy anything else. 

The justification for the EV mandate is similar to that behind the vaccine mandate: The enthusiasm for EVs has waned. Car dealers can’t sell them, so the manufacturers are dropping the prices. Hertz recently dramatically cut its inventory of EV rental cars because no one wanted them. 

Declining EV demand 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 twisting some arms. 

It is a hallmark of the progressive mentality that if the public won’t do what progressives think best, they will use the power of government to force the public to do so. We saw it with ObamaCare, COVID-19 vaccines, EVs and many other issues — e.g., the mandated use of ethanol in gasoline. And they may be coming for your gas stove next.  

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

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