“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, April 24, 2010

ObamaCare takes a dysfunctional mess and makes it even more dysfunctional, and at greater cost.

ObamaCare to Cost More Than Expected? Where Have I Heard This Before?
Peter Suderman | April 23, 2010 Reason

Today, as Nick Gillespie noted earlier, Washington is shocked, SHOCKED to learn that the Affordable Care Act might not be as easy to pay for as promised. According to an AP summary, a new report "found that the law falls short of the president's twin goal of controlling runaway costs, raising projected spending by about 1 percent over 10 years. That increase could get bigger, since Medicare cuts in the law may be unrealistic and unsustainable, the report warned."

But didn't budget-hottie Peter Orszag warn us not to be swayed by such obviously false charges? After all, ObamaCare is fiscally responsible! What clan of knee-jerk critics could have produced such a report? The libertarians at Cato? The conservatives at Heritage? The neocons at AEI? The socialists at Physicians for a National Health Plan?

Try again: This is the word straight from the Obama administration's Health and Human Services Department, the agency assigned to manage the reforms at the federal level.

Nor did the report's bad news stop there. It also "projected that Medicare cuts could drive about 15 percent of hospitals and other institutional providers into the red, 'possibly jeopardizing access' to care for seniors." So when the President told AARP members that "nobody is talking about reducing Medicare benefits," presumably he meant nobody but, um, Medicare's chief actuary. But that doesn't really count, does it?

Of course, at this point, if we discount the claims of any agency or news organization that has expressed caution or concern that the law might not work as promised, we have to throw out the Congressional Research Service, the Joint Committee on Taxation, the New York Times, the L.A. Times, and The Hill, just to name a few. In the days since the Affordable Care Act's passage, reports from government agencies and mainstream news organizations have started to ask many of the same questions—and come to many of the same conclusions—that were asked by critics of the law in the year before it was passed.

Just look at the New York Times. Since the law's passage, the Grey Lady has reported that New York state's efforts to regulate insurance companies drove premiums through the roof and destroyed the market—and an individual mandate, which the state lacked, is a theoretical fix at best. The paper of record also reported that the law may not actually bring down costs for the sick, that the law was hastily and confusingly written (enough that it may deprive Congressional representatives and their staffs of health care coverage), that it may not help all the tough-luck cases it was supposed to resolve, and that health insurers may soon be turned into de facto public utilities.

The details vary somewhat, but cumulative picture is one that's broadly in line with what critics have been arguing since the first legislative drafts became available (at least). Rather than offer true reform for our country's health care system, ObamaCare takes a dysfunctional mess and makes it even more dysfunctional, and at greater cost.


  1. Obamacare will not be repealed, nor will any other government program. Only a complete Greek style economic collapse would make that happen.

    Will that happen? It is far easier to keep printing money than it is to slow government programs in any meaningful manner.

    What to do?

    Hedge against inflation.

  2. European Stocks Fall on Budget Deficit; Nokia Drops, RBS Gains

    April 24, 2010, 3:48 AM EDT

    By Francesca Cinelli

    April 24 (Bloomberg) -- European stocks fell for a second week as the euro area’s budget deficit widened to more than double the European Union’s 3 percent limit in 2009, led by Greece and Ireland, offsetting better-than-expected results from companies including Ericsson AB and Volvo AB.

    Greek banks sank as Moody’s Investors Service cut Greece’s sovereign rating. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc rose 16 percent as BofA-Merrill Lynch Global Research added the stock to its “most preferred” list and it may consider a share buyback. Nokia Oyj sank 14 percent as it cut its margin forecast.

  3. Higher taxes are coming.

  4. Surf's up!

    And the grunion are running!

  5. A grunion and cunt hunt is in order for the EB.