A good friend posted an article on Facebook that purports to explain why the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) scares the Republicans. The article posits that the GOP is scared, because ACA will work, and people will realize that they can now “afford” healthcare. What should really scare all of us is that it isn’t about some being able to afford it now, it’s that it quite simply is a redistribution of wealth (generally) and in the long term is a shifting the burden of paying for healthcare from us, to our creditors, and then ultimately to succeeding generations.
I recommend reading the full article, but in the set-up to the argument there is this one, very interesting line: ”Washington would pay the extra cost entirely for three years and pick up 90 percent of the bill thereafter.”
If only this was true, that “Washington” would pick up the costs. But that’s the fallacy. We fall into a line of thought that says “we” aren’t paying for this–’Washington’ is” and then we as “who do they represent?”
The reality SHOULD be, the whole nation pays, not Washington, because the whole nation sends money for Washington to spend. Sadly, that isn’t the reality. We as a nation prefer spending over taxing, and thus we are spending Chinese money (and any other holder of the debt instruments we use to finance our debt.) The extended reality of who pays is “our grandchildren” when those debts come due.
But let’s come to grips with another reality. We are the grandchildren of the spending ways of our grandparents, and our parents. We are currently spending $220B on interest each year, with that number projected to go t o $1T (Yes, TRILLION) by 2020. And that’s only 7 years away. (http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/11/19/how-the-nations-interest-spending-stacks-up)
Subsidies aren’t free. Defense isn’t free. Highways aren’t free. Decisions made today not only impact our immediate paychecks, but those we hope to earn, and those our children earn, and our children’s children.
As with everything the decisions are about trade-offs. But we cannot be informed decision makers if we let the rhetorical use of “Washington” paying for things continue.
WE are paying–and we all deserve to know the impacts, and true costs, as well as benefits, of the decisions for which we pay.