Harry Reid Argues Government-Induced Languidness Is Freedom
The Congressional Budget Office released a report revising employment projections under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). The report was not so good for defenders of the health care law. The CBO projects approximately 2 million full time jobs lost by 2017, due to the provisions of the law, with another 500,000 full time jobs lost by 2024.
Then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sagely remarked in 2010 that “we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it…”
As it turns out, what’s in there is a host of tax and regulatory provisions relating to income taxes and insurance subsidies provided by the federal government (i.e., the taxpayer) such that 2.5 million people will eventually make the decision that not working is more preferable to working.
The remarkable takeaway from the report is that it doesn’t quantify how many jobs might have been created by employers absent the tax and regulatory scheme that is Obamacare. Instead, the report analyzes individual choices people make with respect to the level of free subsidies received from tax payers, the cost of insurance coverage, income levels, and what is available as public assistance. The CBO proves an age-old adage that mankind generally wants what he wants, and he wants it in exchange for the least possible effort.
Perhaps competing with Nancy Pelosi for the dunce’s crown, Harry Reid is reported to have said at a meeting with the press, “We have the CBO report, which rightfully says, that people shouldn’t have job lock. If they — we live in a country where there should be free agency. People can do what they want.”
Generally we would agree, but this statement is about as dumb as they come.
Harry Reid is advocating that having a job to pay for one’s expenses represents a kind of slavery from which one should be freed. “There should be free agency,” he says. But free agency refers to being “able to act freely without being controlled by someone else.” The good folks at Merriam-Webster even published that, maybe just for Harry!
People who make their decisions based on the coercion of government tax policy are not acting freely without being controlled by someone else. They’re being controlled by the government and its policies. When the government makes a life of mooching mathematically valid and more profitable than a life of holding a job, three things are certain. One, the person giving up work for life on the public dole is definitely being controlled by government policy. Two, there are a healthy number of people who will take the government up on their offer. Three, someone else must pay the bill.
Is it truly freedom or slavery when a government-created policy creates a disincentive to work and favors collecting public welfare as a new career path? What about the person who faithfully maintains a job, pays his or her own bills, and pays taxes?
Is it freedom or slavery to take away the fruits of his or her labor and give them to someone who has made a conscious choice not to work and to collect tax-payer funded benefits?
What about the man who stands in front of you, and with all sincerity tells you that giving up your job in exchange for government benefits somehow sets you free? Is he showing you a tunnel to freedom and new opportunities? Or is he setting a trap for you to run at full speed into a boulder face? Is he offering you freedom? Or is he offering you slavery?
One thing is certain: it’s anything but “free agency” or “freedom.”