The Unsurprising Success of Subsidy

Paul Jacob

2/16/2014 12:01:00 AM - Paul Jacob

“Moving on from unfulfilling jobs, thanks to health-care law,” was the gleeful headline across the story spoon-fed to the Washington Post by Families USA, a pro-Obamacare group that maintains a “database of people who have benefitted” from the so-called Affordable Care Act.

No doubt, that’s a pretty easy list to maintain.

One person on the list is Polly Lower of Bourbon, Indiana. She quit her job and says, “It was wonderful.” Lower didn’t want the job anymore, because she went from “doing payroll, which she liked, to working on her boss’s schedule, which she loathed.”

Oh, the humanity! Take this job and . . .

She’s hardly alone, though. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released their analysis declaring that many Americans would do as Polly Lower has done and quit their jobs or reduce their hours in direct response to the new “benefits” being bestowed by the O Administration on those making as much as 4 times the poverty rate.

How many Americans are we talking about? Well, the CBO did their estimate, compiling both folks likely to leave the workforce altogether and those apt to lessen their hours or their income, and determined that this magic statistic equals 2.5 million full-time jobs lost over the next decade.

But this is all good, saith the Obama folks — actually a selling point for the new healthcare law. Perhaps Mrs. Lower is a fitting face on the new government posters for lower productivity.

Of course, let’s not pretend that income and economic productivity is everything. No one has a duty to work more than they choose to or to labor in any occupation they choose not to pursue. Smart folks, like our Founders, knew that it is actually happiness, not mere wealth, we ought pursue.

Someone may want to stay home with kids or grandkids, instead of working. Maybe you have all the money you need and just want to sit home and do crossword puzzles. I’ve known many people to retire early from much more lucrative jobs to work for non-profit groups doing something they passionately believe in.

That’s Eddie Gonzales-Novoa’s story. He left a job in New York making $88,000 annually and moved to Houston, because he wanted to help a cancer-surviving relative start a website for others battling the disease. Now he makes very little in comparison, but has much more rewarding employment.

Well, if people can afford not to work or to make less in order to do what they want, good for them! Great for them!

But . . . if you pay taxes (anyone?), it might not be so good for you. Under the Affordable Care Act, both Eddie and Polly are getting their health insurance subsidized by the taxpayers.

Gonzalez-Novoa’s job change is extremely easy to sympathize with, a move you might be willing to pull out your checkbook to support even. But why should “the taxpayers” be forced to pay his bill? Might not a few of these taxpayers have similar dreams of their own to finance?

Should our individual dreams depend on Washington, or on us?

Polly Lower’s dream appears to be not working. And she not only didn’t like her job, she was actually financially better off without it — so she can receive even more in Obamacare subsidies. (He sure is a generous fellow.)

Mrs. Lower told the Washington Post that she has “adjusted well” to not having a job.

But while those receiving the Obamacare subsidies are feeling peachy-keen, the Post offered no report at all on how well taxpayers are “adjusting” to continuing to have to work full-time both to earn their own way in this world and also to pay these new subsidies to others who have to opted to slack off.