Thursday, January 14, 2010

ADVICE FOR THE GOP (and advice they (1) won't read and (2) won't follow):

Some, but not all of the reasons for the dislike of Obamacare is the feeling it contains a bunch of special deals for favored segments (the Louisiana Purchase, the Cornhusker Compromise) while the public at large gets screwed with a combination of higher costs and lesser care. Since the public (rightfully) feels that there is only so much to go around (in effect, a zero sum), the more they see the special treatment given to some, the more they feel they're not going to like what is left for them.

The White House/Congress/Labor deal reached today that exempts union-negotiated health care plans and government employee health care plans from taxation applied to 'Cadillac plans' is the latest example of this 'give to Peter and screw Paul' approach to legislation.

Given the need to keep the overall 'cost' of Obamacare down to a certain level, to the extent that sponsors were counting on tax money from Cadillac plans to help finance Obamacare, exempting union-negotiated health care plans and government employee health care plans will only result in higher taxes charged to those who don't have union-negotiated health care plans and who don't work for the government. And since taxes deter whatever is being taxed, people who work in the private non-union sector will find their health care choices limited while government workers and union members won't.

Ads should be running immediately asking why it is okay for union members and government employees to be exempted but not regular folks who work in the private sector. If it is good enough for a clerk at the DMV to get special treatment, why isn't it okay for the people who have to wait in line at the DMV to get the same special treatment? If it is okay for a worker at GM and Chrysler - firms that only exist because of taxpayer support - to get special treatment, why isn't it right that the same special treatment be given to those who buy GM and Chrysler cars?

As I've said before, the American people are usually pretty generous. I bet there is going to be some serious donations flowing out of America and into Haiti in the next days and weeks. But Americans very much dislike being played for fools and they dislike having to pay the full price while someone else gets a discount.

The GOP and other critics of Obamacare can get some serious mileage from this... but they won't.