October 3 2013

ObamaCare Day 3: War on the Work Ethic

Charlotte Hays

ObamaCare isn’t just a lousy excuse for health reform.

It is the cause of a looming moral disaster: a decline in the U.S.’s work ethic, which, not to put too fine a point on it, already ain’t what it once was.

Like welfare, ObamaCare is going to prove destructive to our work ethic. Casey B. Mulligan, a professor of economics at the Chicago University and author of The Redistribution Recession, explains in a nutshell in today’s Wall Street Journal:

A new wave of redistribution will arrive in America on Jan. 1, primarily thanks to the Affordable Care Act. The president's health-insurance plan forces those who hire, work and produce to pay full price for health care, while creating generous discounts for practically everyone else.

This second redistributionist wave of the Obama era will follow a first wave of tax hikes, additional unemployment benefits, food-stamp expansions, waived work requirements for welfare benefits, etc. These measures were supposed to be temporary, intended to help people cope with the recession. The recession officially ended in mid-2009, but many of the administration's measures continue.

Regardless of whether redistribution is achieved by collecting more taxes from families with high incomes, levying employment taxes on businesses, providing more subsidies to families with low incomes, or all of the above, an essential consequence is the same: a reduction in the reward for working. …

To appreciate the added burden that the two redistribution waves put on the labor market, look at what people keep, on average, when they decide to retain or accept a job, or to take on a longer work schedule. Before the recession, a decision to work would benefit public treasuries by an amount equal to 40% of the compensation from the job. The worker and his family got the other 60%.

In the years 2015 and beyond, full-time workers with median incomes will keep only half of the compensation created by their decisions, with the other half going to the government in the form of additional taxes and savings on subsidy payments. By keeping 50% rather than 60%, workers will find that the reward for holding a job will have fallen a damaging 17%.

ObamaCare reduces the need to become a becoming a mature, functioning adult, holding down a full-time job (assuming some continue to be available). Thus ObamaCare eats at the moral and spiritual foundations of America. Like many welfare programs, it reduces the incentive to become an adult.

We got a hint of how ObamaCare would infantilize our nation when Nancy Pelosi hailed it as a boon to “artists” and such who want to leave regular jobs. But of course part of growing up, even if one is an artist, is taking care of oneself. ObamaCare encourages the opposite. And just a note to Ms. Pelosi: calling yourself an "artist" doesn't necessarily make you one. But not supportig yourself, whatever you want to call it, makes you a deadbeat.

The ObamaCare system depends on young, healthy people signing up for health insurance to defray the cost of sicker, older people. On the surface, Brendan Mahoney, 30, a law student, who was paying for a basic $39-a month policy and who signed up yesterday for ObamaCare, would seem to be the ideal candidate to hold up the ObamaCare edifice. Not so fast:

So, how much of a premium is strapping young Brendan Mahoney paying to help make ObamaCare work? Oops. The Courant reports that Mahoney "said that by filling out the application online, he discovered he was eligible for Medicaid. So, beginning next year, he won't pay any premium at all."

So the great success story of ObamaCare's first day is the transformation of a future lawyer who was already paying for insurance into a welfare case.

On Day 3 of the rollout of the state insurance health exchanges, I am beginning to see why shutting down the government to fight it might actually be the correct course of action. The future of our nation depends on saving ourselves from this morally destructive health care system. 

 

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