But notice the gravity of what Mr. Elmendorf is describing. He’s talking about Medicaid, a social care program from our federal government that is intended to offer short-term assistance to poor and lower income households. And the head of the C.B.O., the individual described as the “top accountant to Congress,” is making the observation that we have, as a result of Obamacare, given increasing numbers of Americans a reason not to work (or to “not work as much”), and to choose instead to avail themselves to a government welfare program.
In short, our federal government has incentivized (some) people to consume more than they produce. And this is a very destructive thing.
Unfortunately, this is also a common thing. When government tells people “you don’t have to provide for yourself, you can instead choose to subsist off of somebody else’s effort,” it is inevitable that some people will choose the latter. And when people make this type of choice, it does long term damage to themselves and their families and to the broader society as well.
So why couldn’t the President of the United States and members of the U.S. Congress have anticipated this problem? There are at least a couple of different answers.
For one, naivety may have been the culprit. In the rigid and ideologically narrow worlds of liberal academia and politics (worlds in which Barack Obama has lived most all of his life), the lessons of history are usually ignored, and the possibility of government welfare programs “failing” isn’t even considered.
It is also possible that less productivity in America may be a part of President Obama’s actual agenda for “change.” If, for example, the President desires to not only elevate the “poor” in America, but also to “lower” the “wealthy” – perhaps as a means of, as he often says, “leveling the playing field” and bringing the “rich” and the “poor” closer together – then Obamacare would seem to fulfill his economic agenda. In this scenario, our nation as a whole becomes less prosperous (which in the minds of many would make for a “more fair” world), yet such a scheme purports to prevent people from “failing” too much, while preventing others from being “too successful.”
So is this an “Obama success,” or an unintended failure for the President? We may never know what is truly in the heart and mind of Barack Obama, but it is bad news for the nation he leads.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.
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