|Richard Barthelmess and Florence Short in John S. Robertson's The Enchanted Cottage (1924), via Fritzi.|
I'll get back to Brooks's post on "The Incredible Shrinking Obamacare" when I have more time, because his ignorance of what's in the program, seven years after it was passed and four years since it started getting implemented, is pretty startling, but there's one bit I want to note before somebody scoops me:
Philosophically, Obamacare tried to split the difference between European-style government coercion (the individual mandates) with a traditionally American respect for competition and freedom of choice (the exchanges).
But lawmakers couldn’t stomach a law involving forceful coercion (punishing penalties to make the young take part) and they couldn’t stomach a more purely market-based system. They wound up with a nonfunctioning compromise.Note how he refuses to name who couldn't stomach penalties (he presumably means Republicans, though in fact this was a big part of that famous old Heritage Foundation proposal), and who couldn't stomach a purely market-based system (like they had in England around 1775?). It's a rhetorical strategy to dump on the Affordable Care Act without noting how the Baucus committee did its damnedest to come up with the kind of bipartisan compromise Brooks is always demanding, and whatever is wrong with it is really that there's altogether too much compromise.
But it's also the case that there is coercion to make the young, and everybody else of working age who doesn't have employer-supplied insurance or Medicaid, take part, in that form of the tax penalties that the IRS will be taking in April, which has now grown up enough, after its humble beginnings, to take a pretty big bite (up to in the neighborhood of $2,500 for an individual, $10,000 for a family of four). Brooks literally seems not to have heard of this.
He's like somebody trying to explain that cookbooks are a failure because recipes never tell you whether you need salt or not.That's really not the problem!