Quote of the Day

“People used to be stuck in jobs because they needed the health insurance,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a practicing physician and a specialist on health care policy at the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute. “Now they’re going to be prevented from taking jobs because they need the subsidies.”

The Washington Times

This sounds like welfare—which rendered not working more lucrative than working for many recipients—all over again. The quote comes from a Washington Times story this morning headlined “Specter of Welfare State Jolts Democrats; CBO Hits Election Pitches for Jobs.”

The CBO report is of course the one released yesterday by the officially non-partisan but filled with liberals agency that estimates that two million full-time jobs will be eliminated because of ObamaCare.

This is projected because ObamaCare tempts government subsidy recipients to opt for continued subsidies over a job.

Some Democrats have tried to spin this, talking about how freeing it will be not to be “locked” into a lousy job—as if being locked into government dependency is somehow better.

The Affordable Care Act holds out the possibility of radically changing the way Americans work and think about work—and not in a good way. The story continues:

“They’re going to lose more in subsidies than it’s worth what they’re making in income,” Gottlieb said. “So it remakes the whole wage-labor relationship, and that’s what I think CBO is starting to recognize. We’ve never subsidized the middle class like this. This is going to have a much different effect on the labor force than anything we’ve ever done.”

There are a lot of lousy jobs out there, and, since I had a few of them in my twenties, I am sympathetic to the idea that one often wants to flee employment. Still, the idea of being “locked” into a job is what used to be regarded as behaving in a manner that makes paying one’s rent and grocery bills feasible.

Aside from not being financially sustainable, ObamaCare will do much to erode the values that make life meaningful. Charles C. W. Cooke writes that ObamaCare attacks the work ethic:

Work is a virtue that should be reflexively encouraged. It is the means by which standards of living are grown, human potential is reached, individual lives are focused, positive and negative instincts are channeled, resources are utilized most efficiently, and, above all, by which dignity remains intact.

It is the best antidote to personal and national ossification and sclerosis, and the primary means by which our present material comfort was achieved. It is the driving force behind improvement, both real and imagined, in the nation’s mainstream culture.

Whatever the ideal role of government in contriving work or wages for those who are without them, we should all presumably be able to agree that if we are going to have an intrusive state, it should be doing precisely the opposite of encouraging people to limit their involvement in work.. (Prudence dictates that I couch this asseveration with a disclaimer: No, I do not consider it the role of government to force people to work against their will, nor to support them if they choose not to. But that is a decidedly different question from whether it should do more to enable them not to work.)

If the Affordable Care Act stands, the United States will have been radically transformed.

Much of that transformation will be effected by features in the Affordable Care Act that are just now coming to light.