> but nowhere there can be a successful outcome for me or my progeny
Actually, there may be some substantial up-sides for your progeny in whatever evolves out of the ACA. For example as I’ve noted in this thread and elsewhere the exchanges are going to provide the first real opportunity for many individuals who want to start a business to access to health insurance for their families at anything approaching parity with people employed by organizations large enough to bargain for coverage.
That’s *huge* for people who want to start their own businesses, not only because it makes it easier to start a business, but it makes it far easier to *succeed* in a small business if you encounter significant health problems.
It this regard I was just reading an interesting article in today’s Financial Times about the realization in France that you have to allow repeated attempts by individuals who fail at starting a first business if you want subsequent businesses to succeed.
So French policymakers are wising up to the fact that the experience of failing in one business substantially *increases* your chance of success in the second attempt (compared to someone with business experience), and it’s wise policy to structure affairs such you make repeated attempts easier rather than more difficult!
At the same time in this country we been moving in the opposite direction in some ways.
For example the recent revisions to the bankruptcy laws make it more difficult to discharge credit-card debt is now thought to be substantially retarding new small business foundation, because the way that a lot of people fund the startup of a small business is with the only “business” credit they have available: their personal charge cards.
And while it seems only “fair” to make it more difficult to evade such debt, the flip-side of that is that it makes it far more difficult for the same individuals to start a subsequent business to earn enough income to pay the debts incurred in the previous attempt!
In a sense, makeing it easier to discharge such debt in bankruptcy is a “tax” on everyone else, however it now increasingly appears to be the case that the increased economic activity resulting from making such debts easier to discharge may be a net gain for the economy.
And... guess what. Some Western European countries are starting to think about “reforming” their relatively strict personal bankruptcy laws - the opposite of our own recent changes.
In the same way you can think of the ACA has a sort of “tax” on the insured and employed on behalf of the uninsured and the un-employeind (including those attempting to start a business, or recover from the failure of the previous attempt).
It somewhat reduces my “freedom” to pay such a a tax, but it also increases other peoples’ “freedom” to become self-employed and economically self-sufficient - so the result may be a net gain in the “freedom” experienced by society as a whole.
(The arguments easier to take seriously if you think of it taken to extremes: you can imagine a society where most people live in a state of virtual economic serfdom to a very small minority of kleptocratic elites - and in fact there places in the world where such societies exist.
The people at the top of the heap have almost unlimited personal freedom, and for the most part believe they deserve at.
OTOH, most observers elsewhere regard such societies as highly “unfree”, based on the actual political and economic options of the majority of their citizens.)
If you work backwards from such extremes, you start to realize that as regards “freedom” societies exist on a continuum where if you attempt to assert absolute individual rights as a primary social good you can only do so by reducing the practical “freedom” of someone else - and that many kinds of political and social arrangements (such as bankruptcy laws or access to health care) can operate in counter-intuitive ways to increase or decrease freedom for one group or another - my “freedom” may be reduced by arrangements which supply the necessary preconditions of “freedom” to someone else.
And if on the average the “freedom” increases to my benefit (for example, by living in a more affluent society, which can better afford to fund medical research which increases the productive lifetime of people like myself - as Steve Jobs discovered “All your money can’t another minute buy”) I untimely come out ahead.
Or, for example, should you attempt to start a business without health care for your family, and one of your children experience an illness that would otherwise bankrupted you, I profit from the fact that you can continue to attempt to make your business a success, growing the economy and eventually reducing my tax burden relative to the benefits I receive.
It all seems kind of theoretical, and sort of like rhetorical sleight of hand, but freedom is a complicated thing to understand without thinking about the social conditions in nurture it, so here is one more example to ponder:
In several of the “less-free” societies of Western Europe, small business is a much larger proportion of the economy than here, primarily because of various social policies that make it easier for small businesses to succeed.
The rewards for the most successful entrepreneurs are somewhat lower than here, but there are many more “reasonably successful” small business people (relative to population.
So, is the freedom to profit from individual effort smaller (lower rewards at the very top), or greater (more people are their own bosses - think of them as the modern equivalent of the civilly virtuous yeoman framers beloved of some of the Framers)... or just “different”?
You know what else benefits the economy as a whole besides forgiving debt? Saving. Remember that? Remember when people actually invested money that gad been earned and set aside? Remember when capital formation used to be based on something other than credit or redistribution, or both at the same time?
Your “freedom” is of the positive kind Obama’s so fond of contrasting with the negative freedom of our sordid past. The negative freedoms are actually freedoms, your freedoms something else. Dependence, really. Also a sort of theft.
You have it right to view Obamacare as one giant tax, as in ot will be a big drain on the economy. The result will be ever more poor saps who need to be carried and ever less paying for it, as usual.
Your parenthetical extremity simply makes no sense. It is the fever dream of all debt smashers. But it only works under other economic systems, and then under violence, which makes your elite the government. Doesn’t work in capitalism, unless backed up by the government. Then you’re in the same place, relying on implicit violence.
You strike me as a Gingrich type, as I described him earlier: a “frugal socialist.” You take the welfare state for granted, and seek for ways to grow it better, with a dash of individual responsibility and a pinch of prudence. But grow it does. It’s difficult to tell now or a century ago, even, what is the market and what is interference. You make it all the cloudier, and throw out morality in favor of efficiency as well. Because who cares what’s right or wrong if maybe perserverence in the right could lead to a net loss to the economy.
Who even thinks about pulling back? Going in the other direction ever. No, not for us. We have to think up more insane schemes because the worse guys (we’re the bad guys ; they’re worse) can’t get there first. Let em wait their turn.