Monday, October 21, 2013

How the Affordable Care Act Hurts the Poor

President Obama with HHS Secretary Sebelius

Most of the dialogue saturating the endless media outlets is the demagogues’ propaganda either for or against the Affordable Care Act—otherwise affectionately known as ObamaCare.

One side is completely against it, virtually predicting the doom of medicine as we know it (not to mention the mass deaths that will occur when the next outbreak hits).  The other side completely for it, predicting the mass deaths which will occur when the next outbreak hit because those mean old conservatives hate the poor (and all beautiful things that induce happiness).

Let’s step around the propaganda of Fox News and MSNBC—both of which are as honest or balanced as a see-saw with a fat kid on it—and take a look at a real case.

We’ll look at one of my dear relatives, to whom we’ll refer as Jane Doe.  Like many women across the country, Jane is a single mother with three children.  Her ex-husband is a total deadbeat who fled California to avoid paying child support—she never even asked for alimony!—and he’s still out there somewhere, running.

Jane lives on a $30,000 annual salary.  When we look at the Austrian school’s theories of subjective value and marginal utility, it immediately becomes super impressive that she manages to maintain three children, a car, and a home in Southern California on her meager salary—all without any welfare or government health insurance plan.  Jane barely gets by, but she manages to do so, knowing her children will have a better life than she had.

Ever since the Affordable Care Act became active law this year, Jane is faced with a dilemma.  According to the Act’s individual mandate, all households are required to be on some kind of medical insurance plan, whether it’s private-sector insurance, Medicare/Medicaid, or ObamaCare.  The CHEAPEST plan which will cover her and her three children is ObamaCare, and that coverage sings the tune of $375 a month.

Jane has enough trouble making her $40 a month car insurance payment—she has a spotless driving record.  How in the world will she pull $375 out of a hat???  She can’t!  So now, with this utopian law imposed on her by the federal government, she has two choices: find a way to come up with $375 every month that she doesn’t make, or face the penalties.

Based on the situation, one of two things can happen.  If she’s lucky, Jane can go without unaffordable coverage and pay the $99 mandate “tax” this upcoming tax filing deadline, but she knows the fine gets bigger each year until the penalty becomes jail time.  If she's not lucky, she gets the "tax" plus a fine of 1% of her annual income (before the punishment progresses to jail time).

Basically speaking, Jane is financially screwed because of ObamaCare.  At this point, some left-leaners may be inclined to support the Affordable Care Act.  That the $375 a month will come in handy if she or one of the kids gets hospitalized, right?  Wrong. 

While there are always endless possibilities of bad things to come, we have no idea anything will happen.  Here’s what we do know: Jane and the kids live a remarkably healthy lifestyle.  They go for annual check-ups at the free clinic and are all in top shape.  The only times Jane has ever needed to go to the hospital were to give birth, and to this day Jane and the kids always play safely and manage all risks outside.

However, the “Affordable” Care Act is going to be quite unaffordable for Jane Doe, and it’ll hit her exceptionally hard.  This is why conservatives and libertarians oppose ObamaCare!

We also propose an alternative: repeal the interstate bans!  The health insurance market is made up entirely of cartels who can control prices because consumers are stuck buying what's in their state.  They can charge what they like because We the People were legislated into being fish in a barrel.  

Thanks to special interests, there are federal bans on buying a health care coverage plan from out of state, even if it's more affordable or better suited to the consumer's needs.  Thanks to the federal government threatening the states to withhold funding for Medicare and Medicaid, many states also have bans on buying health insurance across state lines.

The moment we repeal the bans and break the health insurance cartels, and the cartels are forced to return to the competitive market rather than dictate what the market is, the cost of health insurance will go down.  That way, Americans like my Jane Doe will be able to afford health insurance without Uncle Sam having anything to do with it.

Simon Rosenberg, New Democratic Network, on ObamaCare:
"I don't think it is going to work, and everyone is going to be really mad at Obama."

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Obama/Sebelius photo by Dept. of HHS and in the public domain. E.R. photo courtesy of Theorry Geoffrey via CC BY-SA 3.0 license.  Rosenberg photo courtesy of "Meelar" and used via CC BY-SA 3.0 license.  Photos were obtained from Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Libertarians, Don’t Get Too Excited About the Shutdown

Furloughed workers pissed off at us

While Republicans have been nearly giddy about the government shutdown—hailing this as a victory over the Obama Administration—the libertarian crowd has been all kinds of excited about the debacle for different reasons.

The primary reason libertarians have been happy is the seeming anarchy ensuing from the shutdown.  By no means has this been a chaotic anarchy, but rather an orderly one.  While state and local police continue their regular law enforcement duties, the overwhelming majority of federal agents—of all departments and agencies—have been on an indefinite furlough.  Yet the market economy has shown that life goes on.

Most of American society has been running quite smoothly, and after a week-long dip from the shock of the shutdown, the Dow Jones has actually consistently risen.  Libertarians and conservatives alike are also glad that the furlough of nonessential employees has shown us exactly where the federal government can be cut in the future in order to lower national spending.

This is all fine and dandy, but there are reasons for libertarians and conservatives alike to beware the shutdown and not to jump on the excitement bandwagon.  Frankly speaking, this government shutdown will have negative consequences for the liberty movement.  One example:

It’s most unfortunate that Senator Ted Cruz has been painted as the mastermind of the shutdown, since it was really the brainchild of eighty Republicans from the House Neo-Fascist Caucus.  Nonetheless, Cruz is getting massive heat following his filibuster to prevent the passage of the Affordable Care Act, so affectionately known as ObamaCare (which Mitt Romney actually invented).  This is a perfect example of how the liberty movement is to be seen.

The LIBERTY Republican blamed for this unpopular mess
Many from the left gave Senator Rand Paul a nod of approval when he pulled his thirteen-hour filibuster over the drones subject.  The same was not so for Cruz’s filibuster.  Remember, the left is the left for a reason; there’s a huge difference between protesting so the government will stop assassinating its own citizens, and protesting so the poor won’t be offered cheap health insurance.

Yes, I know the Affordable Care Act is a bad idea.  I know it will destroy jobs and businesses, ultimately make health insurance more expensive, and lower the overall quality of health care.  Trust me people, you’re preaching to the choir.  It still doesn’t change the reality of the present situation.

The whole idea of shutting down the government—at this time, in the way it was done—was stupid.  No other word can describe such a hair-brained scheme by House Republicans.

The truth is that a lot of people are hurting. The government created a situation where 800,000 public workers are directly dependent on government for their livelihood. Much as I believe we should cut those jobs in the near future (with enough notice for the workers to find another job), we have to face the here and now.

As a libertarian, I'm all for limiting government and doing it fast, but we can't just bury our heads in libertarian economic theory. We have to face the reality: shutting down the government the way it was done this time means 800,000 families are getting no income for making ends meet.  They’re going to blame someone for their stopped income, and I doubt they’ll magically turn libertarian and blame their source of income—government.

I'm libertarian through and through, but this government shutdown was a BAD idea. Let's face it: the GOP made this shutdown happen and the shutdown's been incredibly unpopular.  That means it's discredited the entire party, which now makes it 100 times harder for libertarian Republicans to run for office in 2014.

We’re no longer the crowd who passionately fought against two dictatorial administrations to preserve everyone’s civil liberties.  We’re now the bullies who prevented poor people from getting health insurance and who put 800,000 people out of work with no warning.

Many who have fallen under the spell of the Democrat Plantation and the promises of the Affordable Care Act honestly can’t distinguish between a neoconservative and a Constitutional conservative/libertarian.  Simply having an R after one’s last name on the ballot will cost a great many votes in the 2014 midterm elections.  Even worse, if the liberty movement doesn’t go into overdrive NOW to distinguish between our movement and the neo-fascist Republicans, this shutdown will cost Rand Paul a LOT of votes in 2016.

Face it, Obama won the election and his party controls the Senate and the Supreme Court.  ObamaCare is happening whether we like it or not.  If Congressional Republicans wanted to score a victory, it would have been wise to argue from the beginning only to remove the individual mandate.  They should have just let ObamaCare happen so it would take effect and be a total disaster.  THEN they could have said "We were right all along!"

Unfortunately, the economy further tanking from excessive government intervention will now be blamed on the GOP for shutting the government down.

In review, the shutdown did show which jobs can be cut in the future, but it also resulted in the following:
--It failed to prevent ObamaCare from launching
--It failed to repeal the individual mandate
--It severely weakened Republicans’ collective bargaining power in Congress
--It made the Republican Party severely unpopular, strengthening statist Democrats by default
--It will make 2016 elections incredibly difficult and 2014 elections a suicide mission for the liberty movement

The inevitable increase of seats won by statist Democrats in upcoming elections will result in more government, a national economy further harmed, and more of our liberties stripped away.

So, are you still happy about the shutdown?

The great leader whose presidential candidacy just got 100x harder

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Protest photo by Congressman Keith Ellison (CC BY 2.0 license). Ted Cruz photo by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 3.0 license). Rand Paul photo by Allison Stillwell (public domain).

Monday, October 7, 2013

FREE eBook!!! "Senator Obama" EPUB

In the spirit of laying literary foundations for libertarian culture, I've launched my "Senator Obama" story onto various online bookstores.

Senator Obama has been expanded and is now available at the Lulu Bookstore for FREE.  This is an EPUB file which will work on almost any e-reader device.  Now YOU can curl up by the fire place and enjoy some libertarian/Constitutional conservative fiction on your e-reader!

Download the free EPUB eBook here.  Be sure to also check out my author's spotlight page at Lulu so you can also download a free Ron Paul eBook.

Very soon Senator Obama will be available on the Nook Bookstore, Kindle Store, and iTunes Bookstore.  I'll keep you folks updated!  THANK YOU for supporting what I do.