Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fewer Americans WANT to all

Speaking at a little-noted event at the University of  Southern California's Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, Mr. Douglas Elmendorf, the Director of the non-partisan C.B.O. (Congressional Budget Office), a federal agency within the legislative branch of our government that produces some of the most objective, "fair", and non-politicized date that we receive from our government, stated that, in some cases, Americans will choose not to work, because their needs for healthcare will be provided by the enhanced Medicaid Funding that is provided for in the Obamacare Law.  This  assessment of Obamacare by Mr. Elmendorf coincides with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's remarks last May, when she insisted that Obamacare would allow "artists" to "quit their day job" and pursue their art, free from the constraints of having to  provide for one's self, because the government would now take care of artists' healthcare benefits.

Is this a problem?  Long-term, it will be disastrous.  Humanity takes the path of least resistance and makes decisions based on the pain-pleasure principle: on the pain side, we make the decision that reduces pain; on the pleasure side, we make the decision that increases our pleasure.  Of course this is complicated a bit by the fact that different people define those terms differently and that any one person on different days will define the terms a bit differently also, but...details...

It has been suggested that 15-30% of people will always do the "right" thing:  they will obey the laws as they exist, they will strive to work hard and be fair to others just because they have been raised to believe that "it is the right thing to do."  Likewise, it has been argued that there are 10-15% of the population that will do what they want to do without regard to laws, training or "rightness."  These are what we refer to as the criminal elements of our society that cannot be "rehabilitated" because punishment and reward outside their definition has no effect.

That leaves the vast majority (between 55% and 76%) of our population who's behavior IS responsive to our laws, our moral attitudes and our perception and response to the pain and pleasure in our lives.

What does this have to do with Obamacare?

This is one more unearned reward for people.  It is another entitlement.  It is one less reason for contributing to society.  And, for those who work hard to get ahead and achieve peace of mind, it is one more thing that unfairly is given to others who haven't worked for it.

No matter what your point of view may be with regard to the economics of Obamacare, the only way the costs can be made even remotely reasonable to each of us is if the greatest number work to contribute toward the costs.  If that number falls, the burden on those of us working becomes greater and greater, decreasing the benefit to us while giving a free benefit to others.

Human nature operating on that vast middle of our population is going to decrease the contributors to the costs.  At first the decrease will be quite small.  But, as the realization sets in that there is increased pain from having to pay for others and no decrease in coverage (pleasure) from NOT contributing, there will develop a tsunami of those no longer bothering to work and pay for this benefit, leading to a total collapse of the system.

This has always been the weakness of Socialist programs:  the inherent self-interest to work and earn is destroyed by providing benefits as entitlements.  This is a disincentive to produce, which means less worth is produced and removes the fund from which Progressive-Liberal-Socialists expect to redistribute in accordance with their elite points-of-view.

This legislation expects to avoid this disaster by passing a law mandating contribution to Healthcare costs.  But there are two problems, one legal and the other human nature.  Legally, the Supreme Court of the United States could well find that mandating that a citizen buy something for no other reason that being alive is unconstitutional.  On the human nature side,  the government cannot make you pay something if you earn nothing...if more and more people figure that welfare is sufficient when it also includes coverage for illness and accidents and decide not to work but to live off the government dole, it will ultimately bring down the government.  Either it will collapse monetarily, or be removed through another revolution.  Either will fail.

What is amazing is that the smartest people in the world (Congress and the President) cannot see and/or understand this.

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