Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Modest Proposal

John Podhoretz at The New York Post summarizes why he thinks the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) report on the effects of the ACA on future employment are the death blow to the ACA. He writes: The Congressional Budget Office released a major study of the government’s budget and its effect on the overall economy over the next 10 years. In dull bureaucratic language, it delivers a devastating analysis of the inefficiencies, ineffectualities and problematic social costs of ObamaCare.
The one-two punch: Virtually as many Americans will lack health coverage in 10 years as before the law was passed — but 2 million fewer will be working than if the law hadn’t passed.

One killer detail comes on Page 111, where the report projects: “As a result of the ACA, between 6 million and 7 million fewer people will have employment-based insurance coverage each year from 2016 through 2024 than would be the case in the absence of the ACA.”
This is astonishing. The "reform" was sold to the American people as a means of doing the compassionate thing which was to cover the approximately 30 million people who were not quite poor enough to be covered by medicaid but too poor to afford health insurance. Now the CBO, a non-partisan appendage to Congress which studies the economic effects of proposed legislation, tells us that a decade from now there'll be fewer people covered by insurance than there would have been had the ACA never been enacted. Podhoretz elaborates on this:
Even more damaging is this projection: “About 31 million non-elderly residents of the United States are likely to be without health insurance in 2024, roughly one out of every nine such residents.”

Why? Because, in selling the bill to the American people in a nationally televised September 2009 address, President Obama said the need for ObamaCare was urgent precisely because “there are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage.”

Now the CBO is saying that in 10 years about the same number of people will lack insurance as before. This, after new expenditures of as much as $2 trillion and a colossal disruption of the US medical system.
Last week I commented on the fact that the ACA will cause another 2.5 million to drop out of the work force because subsidies will enable them to afford insurance they'd otherwise have to work to pay for. Democrats have hailed this state of affairs as liberating, but I was baffled as to how it could be a good thing that people would be subsidized by the taxpayers so that they could work less if the wished. Podhoretz comments on this as well:
If that’s not startling enough, there’s also the telling projection about ObamaCare’s affect on employment — “a decline in the number of full-time-equivalent workers of about 2.0 million in 2017, rising to about 2.5 million in 2024.”

Indeed, overall, between 2017 and 2024, the actual amount of work done in this country will decline by as much as 2 percent.

How come? Because of perverse incentives ObamaCare provides in the form of subsidies to some and higher taxes to others.
Nancy Pelosi, who can always be counted upon to say the darnedest things, claimed that this would be good because it frees people to write poetry, but what Ms Pelosi fails to tell us is that these aspiring poets will be dropping out of the work force to pursue their passion only because the rest of us will be paying for their health insurance.

I'd like to make a modest proposal. Since we are now to believe it's a good thing to liberate people from the burden of work by paying their insurance for them, why not take this to its logical conclusion? Why not you and I also pay the mortgage, homeowner's insurance, utility bills, car payments and insurance, food bills and any other expenses someone might incur who would prefer to quit their job so they can do whatever their heart inclines them to do, including doing nothing at all?

Why shouldn't we live in a country in which no one is oppressed by having to work, no one works unless they want to, and everyone who doesn't want to is completely subsidized by the rest of us whether we want to pay they're way or not? Wouldn't that be great? Wouldn't that be what a compassionate people would do?

But where, a grouchy doubter might ask, will the government get the money to pay for this nirvana in which among a population of 300 million hardly anyone is working? That's easy: Just print it. What could be simpler? And in no time at all we'll "fundamentally transform" the wealthiest nation in the world into Zimbabwe.