Free Markets, Free People

ObamaCare: you wonder how much the government can screw up something?

Well the hits keep on coming with this atrocity of a law known as the Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare.  More and more negative nonsense keeps emerging as we get deeper and deeper into its implementation:

In his State of the Union address, President Obama urged Congress to “give America a raise.” Well, it turns out that Obama is giving America a $70 billion annual pay cut, courtesy of Obamacare.

That is the overlooked nugget in the new Congressional Budget Office report detailing the economic costs of Obamacare. While much attention has been paid to the report’s finding that Obamacare will reduce employment by as much as 2.5 million workers, buried on page 117 (Appendix C) is this bombshell: “CBO estimates that the ACA will cause a reduction of roughly 1 percent in aggregate labor compensation over the 2017-2024 period, compared with what it would have been otherwise.”

Translation: Obamacare means a 1 percent pay cut for American workers.

How much does that come to? Since wages and salaries were about $6.85 trillion in 2012 and are expected to exceed $7 trillion in 2013 and 2014, a 1 percent reduction in compensation is going to cost American workers at least $70 billion a year in lost wages.

It gets worse. Most of that $70 billion in lost wages will come from the paychecks of working-class Americans — those who can afford it least. That’s because Obamacare is a tax on work that will affect lower- and middle-income workers who depend on government subsidies for health coverage. The subsidies Obamacare provides depend on income. If your income goes up, your subsidies go down. This means Obamacare effectively traps people in lower-income jobs by imposing an additional tax on every dollar of additional income they earn. Working hard to earn a promotion or get a raise, or taking on additional part-time work — all the things people do to pursue the American Dream — are discouraged by Obamacare. As Keith Hennessey, former chairman of the White House National Economic Council, explains it, “Obamacare punishes additional work, education, job training and professional advancement, anything that generates additional income for those trying to climb into the middle class.”

Emphasis mine.  Obamacare provides a disincentive to succeed (as do the majority of government welfare programs).  And what is the old saying?  If you want more of a behavior, reward it.  Want less?  Tax it.

The new twist?  They then subsidize the cost when they’ve knocked the victim’s income down enough to make insurance unaffordable.

Meanwhile Congressional Democrats and the administration are agitating for a raise in the minimum wage.  They take it away with one hand, try to ignore the fact that they’ve done so and demonize the GOP because they’re not pro-minimum wage (or said another way, they actually understand the economic impact of a minimum wage).

If ever there was a picture beside the definition of “dysfunctional government”, it would be this administration’s along with Congressional Democrats.

And beside the definition of “punching bag?”  The GOP.


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19 Responses to ObamaCare: you wonder how much the government can screw up something?

  • We were sold on the idea this whole ObamaDoggle was intended to eliminate the uninsured “free-riders” (many of us paying our own health-care costs, and not being “free-riders” at all).
    Now it is apparent that we have codified “free-riders”, and provided them incentives to stay both poor and “free-riders” via subsidies.

  • “Why do the Republicans want Americans to work more?”  – they ask….
    “Now Americans can realize their dreams!” – they say.
    Well, my dream was to retire sometime around age 62, like my father did.  I can’t do that now, and I’ll have to work more after age 62 to benefit from any of the cash they ‘set aside for me’ for Social Security.  And then there’s the idiots, probably still a long ways from retirement, but oh so educated, telling us older Americans should work more on account of the national debt and all…
    My DREAM was to retire, I don’t WANT to work more, but the Democrats and assorted asshat Republicans are making sure that so long as there’s money in my wallet and my bank account, and my 401K and value in my house, the government has cash to spend.   Yes, funny thing my stuff, me me me me me.
    So I have a new dream, 5 minutes in a locked room with some of these people, that’s all I ask….

    • The Ross Douthat piece struck me in in more than a couple of ways.

      First, it had the feel of the Star Trek: Next Generation episode when the crew defrosted a bunch of folks from the 21st century, only to inform them that the persuit of money had no value any more. I noticed that this theme was never again used in any Star Trek episode across all of the franchises.
      It must have raised more questions than could be answered, like .. why would anybody be a “serf” in such an enlightened age ? Who would want a dangerous task ? Why wouldn’t they all want to be Captain of a Star Fleet vessel ?

      On the conservative side, things are somewhat clearer. There are libertarians who like the basic income idea, but only as a substitute for the existing welfare state, not as a new expansion. Both “rugged individualist” right-wingers and more communitarian conservatives tend to see work as essential to dignity, mobility and social equality, and see its decline as something to be fiercely resisted.

      … this brings me to the second point, on the conservative side, things are somewhat clearer. Who would be able to survive a Zombie Apocalypse ?
      In the such an event, the Progressive bastions, the cities, who look like “World War Z.” None of them would survive.
      Lastly, Douthat thinks we live in a ‘post-scarcity society.’ Isn’t the whole underlying political point of AGW that oil is scare ? .. notice that in the AGW mindset of politicians, it isn’t that carbon is completely bad, it’s that fossil fuels aren’t renewable.
      ‘Post-scarcity society’ fits in the Obama-esque world that is also post-partisan and post-racial … these fit so well in the world with unicorns.
      Which world that is ? .. I have no idea.

      • “as a rich, post-scarcity society”  All stop.    Forget the idea that the productive should cosset those who choose not to work.
        Says the clearly clueless guy..
        Clearly lumber (assuming he can recognize such, as such) magically appears in all manner of products and constructions, cutting itself down, milling, drying, transporting, assembling.  Green peppers, tomatoes and a plethora of other produce teleports and prices itself on the shelves of his local bodega or grocery store.   Oil, somewhere in transit through the ether between the magic well in the ground and his local pump cracks itself into the various viscosities and types and blends so he can put it into his Prius, the batteries and tires of same having magically created themselves because he needed to buy a ‘green’ vehicle.  The occasional piece of meat he eats, comes from the food duplicator, already packaged in clean white Styrofoam with shrink wrap applied and again, self weighed and priced into various portions, from single serving size to the Hogan family dinner size.
        The clothes he wears, made from either all natural fabric or manufactured, materializes on the racks and shelves (yet again marking and pricing itself….) where it awaits his pleasure to purchase.
        Yes, there is NO scarcity, we live in a post scarcity society where we could ALL choose not to work you know.   It is, today, now, post scarcity, so it must ALWAYS be post scarcity.   Nothing, NOTHING, could ever cause that to change, we shall never want for anything again.
        He must have received (in addition to the promise his climate would never change) a guarantee that the national standard of living could never change, no matter how much finger poking, government interventionist market manipulating central controlling poor decision unproductive welfare society behavior ever occurs on the part of a low information, cause and effect ignorant national populace and government.
        I would pay to be there the day his electricity goes out, and doesn’t come back on for a mere week or the day he goes to the grocery store with an empty little basket gripped in his paws to encounter wrecked picked over empty shelves.
        Because bad shit doesn’t happen any more, and never can.   And the productive will always always continue to work on behalf of those who ‘choose’ not to work.
        Ah, the New York times, elitist asshats that need a good spanking.

      • Lastly, Douthat thinks we live in a ‘post-scarcity society.’

        >>> Douthat is a moronic f**kwit to even utter those words.Like the blood clot Fukuyama with his “end of history” these idiots have learned nothing and forgetten nothing.
        Unless we live in the above mentioned Star Trek society where magic replicators solve all our needs that is.  Sure, when things are flush, the grasshopper can sing and be merry and pursue his dreams and not work, but when it’s winter and he’s begging the ant for food and the ant tells him to go dance….well, that’s simple justice. Except now the grasshopper instead of dancing gets his band of occupying grasshoppers together and votes himself a nice fat pice of the ants’ winter supply.
        Well so be it. The grasshopper sings, dances and freeloads…….until the ants have had enough.  Then the grasshopper will be singing a different tune

    • We didn’t get here in the last 10 years.  Here was a 50 year journey.  Young people have only been voting for a fraction of that time.  They’ve also been propagandized quite effectively and common sense consciously discouraged their whole lives.  What’s your excuse?  Well, really the most culpable people are the ones who have begun retirement already.  Honestly I’ve been caught in the sandwich of old stupidity and young stupidity.  There’s a narrow band of common sense and conservatism, people in their 40’s and 50’s, that have been outflanked by stupidity on both ends.

      • Comes of going to high school/college while teachers from the fifties and early sixties phased out and the progressive asshats from the Vietnam error took over the colleges and elementary schools.

    • Economist Craig Newmark, the husband of popular blogger Betsy Newmark, boils the implications of the left’s recent tack down to a couple of sentences:

      I love that Liberals have now decided that what individuals voluntarily choose–regardless of the consequences for the rest of us–is fine. Question for them: shouldn’t we therefore allow individuals to choose whether or not to have health insurance and if so, what kind?

      h/t Ed Driscoll, who worries about the sustainability of peak Orwell.

      • Deductive reasoning is so passé, just ask any good professor of modern political thought.

        • No, Doc.  So much MORE than “thought”.  “SCIENCE”.  WAY more authoritative and impressive!
          (And, really, shouldn’t it be post-modern political whatever…???)

          • Consensus will lead to the Obamacare miracle.
            Clap real hard or Tinkerbell dies comrade.

  • I think they have excel spreadsheets in the Whitehouse, they know they’re incentivizing dependance.  Or at a minimum flattening the compensation curve so we all earn the same wage.

    • Another way of observing that the Collective is at war with the middle class.  So much I have read of recent weeks brings that historically true notion to mind.
      They hate us.  They really hate us.

  • NRO has this wonderful satire

    Many of the president’s backers concurred. “I reject the premise of the complaint,” the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin wrote in her weekly column. “This is just anti-Mormon bias. They don’t see Mitt like I do.”

    • It’s funny because it’s true. Obama giveth and Obama taketh away. Megan McArdle was right: Obamacare is unrecognizable, beaten and kicked apart by its father; the precedent set for indefinite postponement of the inevitable costs now swept along with all those other unpleasant debts “democracies” inevitably rack-up.  There won’t be enough popcorn to keep me entertained when it all unravels…