The Impact of ObamaCare on the Economy

According to the experts, the top issue by far in the November election is the economy. The polls all seem to bear this out. But there may be a problem with the polls in that some of the other choices in their multiple choice questions relate to the economy. These other choices include taxes, the federal budget deficit, and health care. Mixing "the economy" in with these other choices is mixing the general with the specific. Pollsters might as well have included in their mix of choices such specifics as restoring the Glass-Steagall Act or going back on the gold standard. (Also, except for environmentalists, anarchists, and a few America haters, virtually everyone wants a better economy.

But perhaps the polling companies have a follow-up question for those Americans who answer that the economy is their number one issue. If so, that follow-up question would surely list some of the very same options that were given for the initial question, such as health care. So let's take a look at how ObamaCare impacts the economy.

The first impact of ObamaCare on the economy is its ever rising price tag. As recently reported at The Blaze, the revised cost estimates for the first full 10 years of ObamaCare is now $2.6 trillion, almost three times the $900B President Obama had promised it would cost. This soaring cost, however, is only what government will be spending, not the additional costs of compliance borne by the private sector.

The second economic impact of ObamaCare is all the taxes that will need to be raised to pay for this rising cost. There's a list of these new taxes at The Daily Ticker, along with an informative 4 ½-minute video interview of Henry Blodget explaining them (which actually has a bit of humor in it). But it's not only businesses and the investor class that will pay ObamaCare's new taxes; the middle class will also get hit.

The third impact on the economy from ObamaCare is regulation. At Fox News, Jim Angle reports that bureaucrats have already written 13,000 pages of new regulations, and they're just getting started. This has business in a state of paralysis: what are these unelected, unaccountable regulators going to dump on me next? There's also the issue of whether the regulators know what they're doing. At Reason, Peter Suderman writes:

As part of a multipart study of the law's regulations, Christopher Conover, a health policy researcher at Duke University's Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research, and Jerry Ellig, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center, looked at eight of ObamaCare's major regulations and found that "that the regulatory impact analyses (RIAs) for these regulations were seriously incomplete, often omitting significant benefits, costs, or regulatory alternatives." ... The authors also conclude that the analyses were also "more likely to understate the magnitude of costs than to overstate them. All eight regulations appear to have understated the costs. In some cases, costs are understated by billions of dollars. The net effect of this pattern is to further contribute to the bias favoring regulation." Regulators who've decided to pursue certain rules have probably already decided that those rules are a good idea, and end up using the required analyses mostly to justify what they're already planning to do.

The cumulative effect of ObamaCare's negative impacts on the economy will be subpar growth. You see, ObamaCare is abysmal economics. The Pelosi-Reid Congress seemed to want to repeal the laws of economics and money (not to mention the laws of human nature). At National Review, Avik Roy explains why ObamaCare is so bad.

But one might disagree with Mr. Roy when he writes: "Republicans must run the table in November or we will all have to accept the permanence of Obamacare." It depends on what you mean by "permanence." If the GOP doesn't "run the table in November," ObamaCare will still fall. That's because ObamaCare is unworkable; the worst legislation in decades. But before ObamaCare falls, it will drag down the economy.

In January 2009, with the stroke of a pen, Democrats could have done much to correct the soaring costs of health insurance and health care in America. They could have ended the antitrust exemption for the health insurance business, allowing the purchase of health insurance across state lines. That would have created real competition and a real health insurance market. They could also have demanded that insurance companies provide a variety of products, including less expensive catastrophic plans. With more providers and more plans, health care price inflation would begin to moderate. It wouldn't have cost the feds a dime, and they could have wrapped it all up on Day One.

With an economy shackled by ObamaCare, the ultimate impact of ObamaCare will be America's continuing decline, and it will spread far beyond the economy. Perhaps "national decline" should be a choice for pollsters' questions about what's the most important issue in the election. Or is "national decline" too specific for the polls?

Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City.