Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Obamacare: Just Another Press on the Brow of Labor

The basic technique of government is to extract a fee from all market transactions.  That's what sales taxes and tariffs are all about.  Or government can demand to get a cut out of every paycheck in an income tax.

But probably the most ingenious approach is to demand that employers provide benefits to their employees.  Then the government doesn't actually apply a tax.  It just forces market participants to act in the way the government wants.

But it really doesn't make any difference in the big picture.

The big picture is that all these interventions harm the economy.  Let's look at Obamacare. Writes Michael Tanner:
By raising the cost of employment, Obamacare makes employers slower to hire and reduces economic growth. The CBO recently warned that due to the law, the equivalent of 800,000 full-time workers will leave the labor force over the next ten years.
But hey, that's what government does.  When it takes money from Bill to pay to Pete, or it forces Bill to provide services to Pete, there's a cost.  The cost is that the economy is smaller: less jobs, less products, less services.  Unfortunately, most people don't get it.  They buy into the idea that other people can and should be forced to provide benefits to them.

Here's a couple of Obamacare victims that suddenly find out from their insurance companies that they are going to be paying for Obamacare.
Cindy Vinson and Tom Waschura are big believers in the Affordable Care Act. They vote independent and are proud to say they helped elect and re-elect President Barack Obama.

Yet, like many other Bay Area residents who pay for their own medical insurance, they were floored last week when they opened their bills: Their policies were being replaced with pricier plans that conform to all the requirements of the new health care law.

Vinson, of San Jose, will pay $1,800 more a year for an individual policy, while Waschura, of Portola Valley, will cough up almost $10,000 more for insurance for his family of four.
Golly gee-willikins!  Who could have seen that coming?  They want to make me pay for the new government program?  Cindy Vinson, retired teacher, was laughing at Speaker Boehner and his government shutdown tactics, until the Obamacare bill came due.

But really, what planet do these people live on?  All government interventions have a cost.  They disturb the natural flow of the economy, of people providing goods and services to other people.  So, almost inevitably, something will get lost when the government steps in.

What government does, and it does it pretty well, is to inject plausible lies into the conversation.  It encourages people to believe that they have a right to a decent job, to health care, to education.  But the truth is that these basic goods are the reason we work.  It is our labor, our skills, what we can offer to other people, that makes gives us the right to hope for a decent life in exchange for what we provide to our fellow citizens.

We can use force to supply deficiencies, because some people get too little out of their contribution to society.  But every time we allow government off the leash to do this, we reduce the basic sociability of our society because we increase the span of force.

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