« WSAU Opinion Blog

OPINION - Health care and sloth

by Chris Conley

NEWS BLOG (WSAU)  A woman from Indiana worked in the payroll department of a mid-sized company. Last year her boss needed a personal assistant. She was his choice. She didn’t like the change.

There’s nothing unusual about this story. The normal response would be to polish up your resume, quietly interview for a new job, and then quit once she finds something more to her liking.

But she quit right away. No need to find another job. Her two-income household now has one worker and one stay-at-home. By not working she gets a huge subsidy for her health insurance. That expense has been lowered to $500 a month, and she now spends her spare time babysitting her granddaughter.

A 20-something man in Texas has bravely battled leukemia, and now wants to pursue his life-long dream of starting a software company for kids with cancer. His uncle, who makes $88,000 a year as a computer programmer, quits his job to work on the project full time. Now that he has no income, he can get his health insurance for $170 a month. He can look for another tech job later.

A woman in her 60s has thirty years’ experience in childcare. The day care center she worked at was taken over by a large corporation. Her old employer didn’t offer health insurance. Her new employer does, but it’s expensive. She quit, got a 100% subsidy under The Affordable Care Act, and will limp along for a year or two when social security kicks in.

The Washington Post found those real-life examples of people who’ve withheld their labor because of Obamacare.

The White House offered other possible examples, to counter last week’s Congressional Budget Office report that predicts lower workforce participation because of tax subsidies that pay for health care. A single mother who works three part-time jobs to make ends meet might get to quit one, get spend more time with her kids, and still get a tax credit to pay her insurance premiums. A 63-year-old woman with chronic joint problems won’t have to work in pain just to get health insurance from her employer until she qualifies for Medicare at age 65.

In a different time in American history, this would be considered immoral. Quitting your job so someone else – the taxpayers – could pay for your health care would be downright wrong.

I should work, so my tax dollars can pay for sloth? Who asked me whether I’d be willing to do my job so other people could indulge their fancies?

But that was then, this is now.

I can’t make the argument that my tax dollars are paying for these people. Today 1 in 3 dollars spent by the federal government are borrowed or financed through the buy-back of treasury bonds. No one’s paying for it. It’s being added onto our nation’s tab. And at $17-trillion and counting, we’re never going to repay our debt. Someday we’ll either default or devalue our currency. We’d rip-off China and our other debt-holders before we’d kick the lazy among us off the dole.

Add these two items to the sins of Obamacare: First, it’s weakened the traditional American work ethic. Second, it’s reduced the number of Americans who care that it has.

Chris Conley

Image: Abraham Bloemaert, Parable of the Wheat and the Tares via WikiCommons.com