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September 3, 2014

Obama's Honor-nomics

We're All On The Honor System Now

Looks like we’re all going to be on the Obama Honor System—or “Honor-nomics”—in one way or another, including some of the world’s worst despots.

President Obama’s complete inability to pass liberal legislation that actually works—or now to pass any legislation at all—has driven him to rely on the honor system in the hope that people will do the right thing in several policy arenas.


Everyone knows by now that Obamacare’s federal website,, has been an unmitigated disaster. But nearly a year after the rollout the website’s backend still doesn’t work. Obama’s response has been to put health insurers, policyholders and even health care providers on the honor system.

For example, since the system can’t verify an individual’s income, Obamacare subsidies for individual policyholders are based on an honor system. Applicants tell the government how much it’s supposed to give them in subsidies and the government will trust them.

The website also cannot calculate and transfer the taxpayer-funded subsidies to the health insurers that provide subsidized policies. So the administration instructed insurers to tell the Department of Health and Human Services how much they think the government owes them and HHS will pay the bill—with the promise of resolving any discrepancies later.

To understand just how bizarre this solution is, remember that Obama’s whole justification for fundamentally remaking the health care system is that he accused health insurers of being greedy profiteers that make money by denying people needed health care. And yet now he trusts them to tell the truth about millions of dollars they say the government owes them.

Climate Change

Obama would like an international climate change treaty, but he knows can’t get the Senate to pass one he’d be willing to sign. So Plan B is to convince countries to go on the carbon emissions honor system—what the administration describes as an effort to “name and shame” countries into cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Because, um, we know how well several of the world’s leaders can be trusted?

Let’s see: We’ve caught Russian’s Vladimir Putin lying about Russian soldiers in Ukraine; Syria’s Bashar al-Assad lying about getting rid of all his chemical weapons; Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro lying about why the country can’t get toilet paper; China lying about cyberhacking business and government websites, and Obama lying about if you like your health insurance you can … oh, wait. He’s on our side (or supposed to be).


Although the challenge created by thousands of mostly Central American minors crossing the U.S. border illegally has thankfully diminished since its recent peak, those who are here still have to move through the immigration process to see if they will be allowed to stay. Enter the honor system.

Most of them will have to go before a judge and plead their case, a process that can take months—if the children show up at all. According to immigration officials, about a third of them never show. As a Fox News reporter said last June, “Those sent to Arizona are expected to check in on their own once their deportation process nears completion in an honor system of sorts.”

These new arrivals fan out across the country, with the help of taxpayer-provided transportation, and many disappear into their communities, never to be heard from again—unless Obama decides to grant some widespread amnesty.


One area where Democrats have drawn an honor-system line in the sand is voter photo ID laws. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, eight states have passed strict photo ID laws, and another eight have passed non-strict laws—e.g., some exceptions are allowed such as a poll worker might vouch for the voter.

Obama’s Justice Department claims that voter fraud is virtually nonexistent, and that people should be allowed to vote with little or no proof that they are who they say they are and are eligible to vote. But while voter fraud may not be rampant, it clearly does occur, and the honor system has no way to protect against it.

So the man who has become one of the least trusted world leaders is trying to govern by the honor system. The irony in all this is that Congress is reluctant to pass legislation because members don’t trust him to follow the law.


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