Saturday, February 7, 2015

Is Compulsory ObamaCare "Compassionate" and "Fair"?

Compassion is not weakness and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism.

Hubert Horatio Humphrey (1911-1978), Remark

Fair is faul, and foul is fair.

Shakespeare (1564-1616), Macbeth

In June the Supreme Court will decide whether federal health exchange are legal based on the health law’s text.

It will be a monumental decision. If the Court rules against federal subsidies, ObamaCare followers will cry “Foul!” It will be considered a crime against compassion. Compassion lies at the heart of liberalism (and federal political control). Compassion is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by suffering or misfortune accompanying a strong desire for relieve the pain and remove its cause. Compassion is admirable. It is said to be a moral imperative.

At issue for the Court is not only the legality of the ACA but the authoratative compulsion that drives it. The law compels citizens to have a federally-approved plan and for employers to offer a plan or pay restitution to an all-powerful government.

Is such compulsion fair?

Is it fair for everybody to pay their “fair share,” even if enforcing that “fairness” is “unfair” to the rest of society.

After all, is it “fair” when providing federal subsidies to 7 million people who incomes are 3 times below the poverty line causes plan cancellations, plan switches, and higher premiums and deductibles for the rest of us.

Is it “fair” for 7 million , 2.2% of the population, while 313 million, 97.8%, suffer some degree of economic discomfort?

Is it fair if it discourages small businesses from hiring workers?

Is it “fair” if it restricts freedom of individuals to choose a private plan, not meeting government standards, or no plan at all?

Is if “fair” for government to command and demand an all-for-one, one-for-all, and one-size-fits-all plan?

Is it “fair” to reject any alternative to President Obama’s Utopian vision of an equitable society achieved by redistribution of wealth even if it is against the public will?

Maybe, maybe not.

The latest average of Real Clear Politics< polls show a 39.3% approval of the health care law with a 51.3% disapproval.

What part public approval will play in the Court’s ruling is unknown. Perhaps none. But it is known there is something wrong with the economic and health system. Poverty is at its higher level since World War II, post-recession economic growth is as a sluggish 2.2%, the middle class is shrinking and under duress, and 30 million Americans remain uninsured.

How do we create a “fair” and “compassionate society?

Through government fiat, taxing the rich and middle class, restricting choice, redistributing wealth, economic growth, free-market capitalism, socialism?

High taxation (49% in Europe versus 36% in the U.S) and universal coverage has not worked in most European countries. Economic growth there is either negative or less than 0.5% versus a current 2.6% in the U.S.

Whatever the solution, as Stephen Moore of the WSJ says, “Inarguably, a top priority of U.S. economic policy should be to expand opportunities and raise the earnings of those stuck at the bottom. It’s been said that the measure of a society’s compassion and the effect of economic policy is how well the poor fare in society.” (Stephen Moore, Who’s the Fairest of Them All? Encounter Books, 2012)

Let us hope the Supreme Court helps clarify the alternatives for society.

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