Thursday, July 24, 2014


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.

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.
This echoes what Cato Institute lawyer Michael Cannon, a driving force behind the Halbig suit, wrote after the ruling came down:
... 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.)


Anonymous said...

Oddly enough, people who accept that whopping tax subsidy for having a mortgage are not parasites, unless they're middle-income.

(Some people may remember that other interest payments, such as credit-card interest, used to be deductible too, until too many of hoi polloi had major interest expenses.)

aimai said...

No, they can't sell this to "the public" because the public they want to sell it to is the same people who are receiving the subsidies. Halbig only affects people who are buying insurance through the exchanges--not medicaid recipients who are subsidized invisibly through medicaid. So these are people who are working--and probably voting--and who are not receiving health care through their employer. That is a fairly hefty bunch of people including lots of people who are not necessarily poor or democratic.

These people do not think they are moochers. They haven't thought of themselves that way and they won't start thinking of themselves in that way. They are simply going to be angry that one party is taking away something they were expecting to receive.

Also the only reason we need subsidies at all in the tax code is because Obama did the insurance companies a favor and kept them in the mix. Without a private system, which this is, no subsidies we just use price controls and no middle man. So the insurance companies and the hospitals and all those big businesses are not going to be backing Halbig--why should they? the cost of the ACA is more than balanced,for them, in the profits.

Palli said...

"In other words, if you accept a subsidy, you're a parasite."

And how about all that corporation personhood that excepts state and federal subsidies or all that corporation personhood that ends up paying no taxes at all?

Victor said...

Please proceed, conservatives.

Please, please proceed...