Employer Mandate

Catherine Rampell at the Washington Post has thundered that The Employer Mandate Must Go.  Really.  Then she said:

Republicans are right: The employer health insurance mandate is dumb.

Perhaps it was a fear of not being invited to Georgetown cocktail parties that led her to:

That [postponing the mandate] has not kept the pitchfork-wielding anti-Obamacare partisans at bay. Instead, it has emboldened them. These unilaterally announced delays are, somewhat ironically, the basis for House Speaker John Boehner’s lawsuit alleging that President Obama has overstepped his constitutional authority. That’s right: Republicans claim to be mad that Obama delivered a policy outcome they say they want, too.

It is that darn Constitution.  Her point being that if we could ignore the administration’s behavior then we could all get together and eliminate the employer mandate and Obamacare would be OK.  Or perhaps it would be less bad.  Or perhaps there would be bigger fiscal problems.  Or perhaps it would be worse but folks would not notice for a period time and then we are stuck with O-care.

She is selling what the Republicans have been hired to refuse.  Obamacare is a Rube Goldberg machine.  If we start to tinker with it then there will be more tinkering until eventually it comes down on our heads.  We need to find simple solutions by eliminating Obamacare.  That would eliminate one level of Rube Goldberg.  Then we can move towards a market solution.  The market solution will eliminate most of the problems caused by the current environment.  Don’t worry there will still be some opportunities for government intervention.  We would hope to keep such interventions to ones the government will be successful at.

It is not going to be easy to convince folks to go market.  Everybody likes their own rent.  One of the biggest problems is that fringe benefits are not considered gross income (they have to be gross income before they can be taxable income) for tax purposes.  Eliminating the personal income tax might be easier than taxing the currently untaxed fringe benefits.

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