In a commentary aired last night, Bill O'Reilly endorsed the Halbig decision and characterized the Obamacare battle as "capitalism vs. socialism," in a way that made clear that the right hopes to relitigate the "47 percent" debate, which seemed to have been won by Democrats and liberals in 2012.
Here's a portion of what O'Reilly said:
Obamacare is a pure income redistribution play. That means President Obama and the Democratic Party want to put as much money into the hands of the poor and less affluent as they can. And health care subsidies are a great way to do just that. And, of course, the funds for those subsidies are taken from businesses and affluent Americans who have the cash.This echoes what Cato Institute lawyer Michael Cannon, a driving force behind the Halbig suit, wrote after the ruling came down:
Income redistribution is a hallmark of socialism, and we in America are now moving in that direction. That has angered the Republican Party and many conservative Americans, who do not believe our capitalistic system was set up to provide cradle-to-grave entitlements. But Republicans have not been able to convince the majority of Americans that income redistribution is harmful. Mitt Romney was not able to make the case that America will suffer economically if the entitlement culture expands.
And the case is simple: Businesses contract, so there are fewer jobs and the massive federal debt rises, diminishing the value of the dollar. That's what an entitlement culture and income redistribution bring. But believe me, many Americans, perhaps most, have no clue about what I just said, and enough of them want free stuff, so they continue to elect the pro-entitlement politicians.
... a victory for the Halbig plaintiffs would not increase anyone's premiums. What it would do is prevent the IRS from shifting the burden of those premiums from enrollees to taxpayers. Premiums for federal-Exchange enrollees would not rise, but those enrollees would face the full cost of their "ObamaCare" plans.In other words, if you accept a subidy, you're a parasite. There are two types of people: the subsidized and "taxpayers." No one, according to Cannon, is both. This is objectively untrue, but it's the right's message, and the implicit question is: Which side are you on?
Can right-wingers actually sell this argument to the public? Even O'Reilly seems to despair of the possibility that they can. But if not, these commentators are at least distributing the party line to the faithful: Your neighbors, if they believe in even a modest social safety net, and especially if they avail themselves of that safety net, are un-American leeches, and you should despise them for betraying this country's values.
(Video via Crooks and Liars.)