It's Not Just Failed ObamaCare

ObamaCare rolled out last week in utter chaos. The ruling class conceit that anyone could stitch together a national system of health insurance exchanges went up in a billowing cloud of failure. Who could have seen that coming?

So what went wrong?

Let's start with the usual liberal narrative. Back in the bad old days, capitalism was an engine of exploitation and oppression as the bosses sweated their laborers in miserable work conditions. The workers died young with lung disease if they were lucky enough not to be killed due to unsafe work conditions.

But then came liberals and their beneficial legislation limiting hours of work, mandating safety codes, providing pensions, health care, education, and welfare. Finally the darkness of those satanic mills was brightened with a new day of decency and compassion.

But suppose all that beneficial legislation had very little to do with it. Suppose that capitalism was showering untold wealth on everyone from $3 per capita per day in 1800 to the present $120 per day with or without liberals to help. Suppose that, whatever the ethics of businessmen, prosperity encourages workers to balk at work in dangerous mines, and it provides them the means to protect themselves against hard times and build a little nest egg.

The liberals have spent the last century taking credit for capitalism's triumphs.

In reality, the ruling class has made a dog's breakfast of everything it has attempted. Forget the mess of green energy killing birds and "affordable housing" killing the credit system and all the other horror stories. Let's just look at the Four Bigs: pensions, health care, education, welfare. I use them as examples because usgovernmentspending.com shows that the Four Bigs plus the Pentagon account for most of government spending.

In pensions the ruling class decided that it was better qualified than the workers themselves to organize and maintain custody of worker savings. The big idea of the time was Defined Benefit. How's that working out for Social Security and the pension systems of many state and local governments?

In health care the ruling class encouraged the idea of pre-paid health care coverage. How's that going as health care is forecast to eat the federal budget in the next 20 years?

Hey Barry! How are those entitlement reform ideas of yours coming along?

In education, the government has utterly neglected education for the poor while grossly subsidizing the college education of the professional class. How are those student loan payments going, millennials?

In welfare, the government has encouraged the growth of a gigantic non-working underclass, and now even 60 Minutes has discovered the monstrous middle-class scam of disability fraud. And you thought that welfare was solved when Bill Clinton signed welfare reform in 1996?

What is going on here? It's just politics as usual.

Politics offers two temptations. It offers power to the ruling class, and it offers loot to its supporters. It's just like the Middle Ages. Or the Conquistadors. Or the absolute monarchs. Or the modern big-city machine.

Notice the difference between politics and capitalism. In politics the ruling class succeeds by offering free stuff to its supporters. In business the CEOs win by offering good products that consumers want to pay for. You tell me which is morally superior.

ObamaCare therefore offers power to the liberal ruling class and loot to the liberals' supporters. From this viewpoint, it doesn't matter if ObamaCare doesn't really work, as long as it's free. Loot is loot; you don't look a gift horse in the mouth, and about 40 percent of Americans have thought that ObamaCare was going to be free.

But if the majority of Americans was once happy with its own health plan and its own doctor, then the failures of ObamaCare matter. Free stuff is one thing, and everyone can applaud the idea of health care for everyone. But if you discover, as retired teacher Cindy Vinson just did, that your old health plan has been canceled and that your premiums are up sharply, and that you are going to have to pay for other peoples' free stuff, that changes things.

Cindy may decide that the problem with ObamaCare is not just that its bureaucrats are incompetent, or that the president's waivers to his special interest pals are corrupt. She may decide that the whole system of ObamaCare domination can be summed up in one word: injustice.

Then U.S. politics becomes a contest to see who can be the first to tell President Obama to his face: Mr. President, you lied!

They call it speaking truth to power.

Conservatives would like to persuade America that it's not just ObamaCare, it's the system that's unjust, the whole unjust system of the liberals' authoritarian welfare state, from health care to welfare.

But will the American people ever allow conservatives to fix it?

Christopher Chantrill (mailto:chrischantrill@gmail.com) is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism. Get his Road to the Middle Class.

ObamaCare rolled out last week in utter chaos. The ruling class conceit that anyone could stitch together a national system of health insurance exchanges went up in a billowing cloud of failure. Who could have seen that coming?

So what went wrong?

Let's start with the usual liberal narrative. Back in the bad old days, capitalism was an engine of exploitation and oppression as the bosses sweated their laborers in miserable work conditions. The workers died young with lung disease if they were lucky enough not to be killed due to unsafe work conditions.

But then came liberals and their beneficial legislation limiting hours of work, mandating safety codes, providing pensions, health care, education, and welfare. Finally the darkness of those satanic mills was brightened with a new day of decency and compassion.

But suppose all that beneficial legislation had very little to do with it. Suppose that capitalism was showering untold wealth on everyone from $3 per capita per day in 1800 to the present $120 per day with or without liberals to help. Suppose that, whatever the ethics of businessmen, prosperity encourages workers to balk at work in dangerous mines, and it provides them the means to protect themselves against hard times and build a little nest egg.

The liberals have spent the last century taking credit for capitalism's triumphs.

In reality, the ruling class has made a dog's breakfast of everything it has attempted. Forget the mess of green energy killing birds and "affordable housing" killing the credit system and all the other horror stories. Let's just look at the Four Bigs: pensions, health care, education, welfare. I use them as examples because usgovernmentspending.com shows that the Four Bigs plus the Pentagon account for most of government spending.

In pensions the ruling class decided that it was better qualified than the workers themselves to organize and maintain custody of worker savings. The big idea of the time was Defined Benefit. How's that working out for Social Security and the pension systems of many state and local governments?

In health care the ruling class encouraged the idea of pre-paid health care coverage. How's that going as health care is forecast to eat the federal budget in the next 20 years?

Hey Barry! How are those entitlement reform ideas of yours coming along?

In education, the government has utterly neglected education for the poor while grossly subsidizing the college education of the professional class. How are those student loan payments going, millennials?

In welfare, the government has encouraged the growth of a gigantic non-working underclass, and now even 60 Minutes has discovered the monstrous middle-class scam of disability fraud. And you thought that welfare was solved when Bill Clinton signed welfare reform in 1996?

What is going on here? It's just politics as usual.

Politics offers two temptations. It offers power to the ruling class, and it offers loot to its supporters. It's just like the Middle Ages. Or the Conquistadors. Or the absolute monarchs. Or the modern big-city machine.

Notice the difference between politics and capitalism. In politics the ruling class succeeds by offering free stuff to its supporters. In business the CEOs win by offering good products that consumers want to pay for. You tell me which is morally superior.

ObamaCare therefore offers power to the liberal ruling class and loot to the liberals' supporters. From this viewpoint, it doesn't matter if ObamaCare doesn't really work, as long as it's free. Loot is loot; you don't look a gift horse in the mouth, and about 40 percent of Americans have thought that ObamaCare was going to be free.

But if the majority of Americans was once happy with its own health plan and its own doctor, then the failures of ObamaCare matter. Free stuff is one thing, and everyone can applaud the idea of health care for everyone. But if you discover, as retired teacher Cindy Vinson just did, that your old health plan has been canceled and that your premiums are up sharply, and that you are going to have to pay for other peoples' free stuff, that changes things.

Cindy may decide that the problem with ObamaCare is not just that its bureaucrats are incompetent, or that the president's waivers to his special interest pals are corrupt. She may decide that the whole system of ObamaCare domination can be summed up in one word: injustice.

Then U.S. politics becomes a contest to see who can be the first to tell President Obama to his face: Mr. President, you lied!

They call it speaking truth to power.

Conservatives would like to persuade America that it's not just ObamaCare, it's the system that's unjust, the whole unjust system of the liberals' authoritarian welfare state, from health care to welfare.

But will the American people ever allow conservatives to fix it?

Christopher Chantrill (mailto:chrischantrill@gmail.com) is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism. Get his Road to the Middle Class.

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