It was John Maynard Keynes who famously warned: "The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually slaves of some defunct economist." His words acquire an additional layer of irony now that he himself has joined the company of defunct economists.
Remember how, if you're satisfied with the health insurance you now have through your employer, you won't be affected by Obamacare? Tell it to another 160,000 Americans, this time those who work for the Walgreens chain. They've just been told they're being left to a health-insurance exchange, and will have to thread their own way through it to find insurance coverage.
But they'll have plenty of company. Trader Joe's, the grocery chain, is moving part-time workers at its 400 stores onto insurance exchanges, too, and United Parcel Service is dropping its health benefits for the 15,000 of its workers' spouses who can get their insurance through another employer.
It now seems so long ago that we were told how simple and smooth -- and affordable -- Obamacare would be. Call it Broken Promise No. 153.
It's not as if the folks at Walgreens or Trader Joe's are members of Congress, who had enough foresight to get themselves (and their staffs) special subsidies rather than just be tossed into Obamacare like the peons, aka citizens of the United States of America. Our ruling class only passes laws for the rest of us to follow.
Now the federal government -- that's you and me, fellow taxpayer -- is going to pay some 75 percent of these public employees' insurance premiums. These generous subsidies are reserved for members of Congress and their retinues. To borrow a phrase from "Animal Farm," George Orwell's ever-relevant fable, all are equal in this administration's eyes; it's just that some are more equal than others.
Picking up my dry cleaning the other day, I heard the sounds of a fight brewing right behind me. A man and woman were arguing over who was next in line. The lady insisted the gentleman had been there first, while the gentleman insisted she go first, as ladies should. In the end she graciously relented and agreed to precede him. If a thought balloon like the kind used in the comics had formed above my head, it would have consisted of a line from an old ditty Phil Harris used to sing: "And that's what I like about the South!"
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