This post is actually just four separate illustrations that I like to use to explain the problems with Obamacare. This is as much for my benefit as yours, as I want to pull these together in one handy link the next time I need a simple way to explain to lefties why their beloved law has not been the unicorns and rainbows that Dear Leader promised. Submitted for your easy reference:
The Flight of Icarus
Not just an excuse to embed a video from The Greatest Album Ever Made,
If Icarus were making his flight today leftists would be yelling at us for not supporting his efforts or agreeing with their proposal to launch a moderate tax on wealthy Americans to subsidize new “green” wax technology companies that will improve the sustainability of flying toward the Sun on bird wings held together by wax. Stupid ideas don’t work better when the opposition shuts up and agrees to throw more money at it.
The Burning Bush
Leftists love to blast the GOP for not having a plan of their own, and this is one point I’ll concede. I find it hard to believe with all of the think tanks, lobbyist interests, and otherwise overeducated a-holes (and I’m one of them) running around this town there isn’t a single white paper on realistic health care reform that the GOP’s party machine can get behind? But sometimes not doing anything is better than doing something wrong.
Let’s say that I have a burning bush next to my house. While it’s a problem it isn’t a threat to burn down my house. Now you, a well meaning leftist, come along and throw a can of gasoline on the bush, with predictable results. You missed a few science classes and think that throwing any liquid on a fire will extinguish it as water might. Unfortunately our problem of a fire (rising health care costs) is caused by the flammable material (over-regulation) of the bush, and not only has adding more flammable material to the mix worsened the problem, but now the fire has grown enough that it is a threat to my house (the US economy). And now you’re telling me that not helping throw more gasoline on makes the fire my fault, worsened by the fact that when you were running up with the gas can I was screaming to stop while you just yelled back that I’m a racist teabagger and threw the gasoline on anyway.
Giving more power to the bureaucracy that pushed up prices in the first place is like inviting the arsonist who torched your bush to drive the fire truck.
What if the government decided that the fact that not every American can afford to eat at McDonalds whenever they want is a problem? Let’s say that we passed a law that forced every American adult to buy McDonald’s vouchers. There would be price supports for lower income Americans in McDonaldcaid, and this would be paid for by doubling the cost of every item on the menu for any customers with middle class earnings. Participation in this would require you to buy your burger through a new intricate touch screen which may or may not work, but will (unsecurely) warehouse your personal and private data which may be used for audit or law enforcement purposes, forever ending the notion of customer/cashier confidentiality.
But more importantly, let’s look at how the fry cooks are compensated. Let’s say that instead of an hourly wage they were paid per customer served. Now we tell the cook that to save money we’re going to have to reduce the amount he gets paid for this flood of new McDonaldcaid that have recently signed up for the program. How much incentive do you see for the chef to accept these new customers on top of his loyal regulars, or for new chefs to see these new customers?
I can see my lefty pals gnashing their teeth as they read this, pointing out that McDonalds is a simplistic, flawed analogy. And now that you mention it, it is. It’s ridiculous to try to compare something as complex as health care to making a bad cheese burger. But is it any less simplistic than arguing that forcing every American to buy health insurance will magically lead to every American to seeing a doctor in a timely manner, receiving excellent service while costing less than they paid before?
The Underpants Gnomes
But what I think is the best analogy comes from those wonderful kids from the long running cartoon, South Park. For anybody unfamiliar with South park, it’s an adult cartoon whose main characters are four roughly ten year old boys living in South Park, Colorado. Although known for its generally crude humor, SP often weighs in on politics. And although their pragmatism generally has them taking conservative leaning views, when a particular episode’s theme is based on a current political issue they do a surprisingly balanced job of skewering both sides while presenting both sides of the argument. Two issues that come to mind immediately were the Terry Sciavo case and the question of allowing gay scout masters in the Boy Scouts. Because the cartoons are very crudely drawn they’re able to turn around quickly if there’s a current event they want to tackle. For example, last week’s episode blasted the Healthcare.gov debacle. The episode being cited for this post is actually more of an ode to capitalism and free markets, and yet is quite timely to the Obamacare debate.
This particular episode features one of the minor character mentioning that Underpants Gnomes are coming into his room at night and stealing his underpants. As the story goes on the boys follow the gnomes back to their underground lair and learn the purpose of their thievery:
Phase 1: Collect Underpants
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Profit
In our continuous back and forth on Facebook my lefty pals have presented quite a few arguments. Most of them are chiefly angry rhetoric for us not supporting their bad ideas or reality-challenged assumptions. But I will credit them that the theory of how Obamacare is supposed to work does sound good.
The problem is that the devil is in the details. Obamacare is dependent on young people choosing to buy expensive insurance over a less expensive penalty, which they’ll pay for with the paycheck they don’t have because companies are terrified to hire, not knowing how Obamacare will punish them next, that is when they’re not cutting the workforce or reducing their full time employees to get below the 50 employee “Red Line” where Obamacare is imposed on them. That is, assuming they plan to expand with the loans that Dodd-Frank is protecting them from obtaining. So what’s not to love?
Where I have particular fun with my lefty pals is using that avowed enemy of all leftist thought: math. When Global Warm Mongers harass me I shoot down their anti-science religion by asking them for a few simple measures that will win me over to the cause, or when they throw out “balanced” approaches to our budget I point out that the amount of taxes needed to actually balance the budget would be nowhere near anything they are considering proposing, and the amounts of those “reasonable” increases that leftists like to throw out wouldn’t be more than a drop in the bucket given the size of our budget. And don’t get me started on paying off our federal debt…
Obamacare is no different. Unmeasurable platitudes like “will bend the cost curve down”, “has slowed the growth of rate increase”, “will provide coverage for millions” are given in response, and evidence to support their claim is usually the first link that could be found searching Salon or Slate’s web sites. What I always ask is what benchmarks they’re going to use to determine success, or more importantly, admit failure. I’ll even throw out that I’m not even looking for just the big finish point – what are the short term milestones and metrics that can determine if they’re on course or on a path to failure? We already know that they’re well short of the pace needed to hit the March enrollment goal.
But pesky things like facts and reality will never shake the left’s belief in Obamacare. The beauty of their position, like most leftist beliefs, is that results are completely irrelevant. The only yardstick is the outcome that the left wants to see happen, and how good it makes them feel to support it. And this is why we saw President Obama steal America’s underpants in Step 1 as we now wait for some unspecified, illogical miracle to happen at Step 2, and magically we’ll get to Step 3…
Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog