Monday, October 28, 2013

The Deficit Fetishists, Austerians and Pain Caucus Are All About Punishing Poor People, Period

Remember these three:

1) The deficit is too low, and that's why we're still in a recession.

2) Budget cuts kill jobs, and that's why 10 million people are still unemployed.

3) The filthy rich stole all the money from the working class, and we won't have economic growth until they give it all back.

David Atkiins at Hullabaloo:
Why do all these "deficit hawk" conservatives hate Obamacare, again?
The Affordable Care Act is already working: Intense price competition among health plans in the marketplaces for individuals has lowered premiums below projected levels. As a result of these lower premiums, the federal government will save about $190 billion over the next 10 years, according to our estimates. These savings will boost the health law’s amount of deficit reduction by 174 percent and represent about 40 percent of the health care savings proposed by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform—commonly known as the Simpson-Bowles commission—in 2010.

Moreover, we estimate that lower premiums will lower the number of uninsured even further, by an additional 700,000 people, even as the number of individuals who receive tax credits will decline because insurance is more affordable.

In short, the Affordable Care Act is working even better than expected, producing more coverage for much less money.
It's arguable, of course, whether we should even be worrying about the deficit right now. Some of us don't think it's even close to our biggest concern compared to people actually being able to get healthcare, so the fact that Obamacare is also saving money not just for real citizens but also the federal government itself is just icing on the cake.

But there is an entire political party and pundit class out there that professes to believe that deficits are the scariest thing ever, and we need to do something about them right now. They also happen to be the same people who are the most opposed to the Affordable Care Act. How does that work, exactly?

It works because most of the deficit fetishists never actually cared about the deficit, per se. The deficit is just a symbol to them of a moral laxitude about a culture of dependency that can only be fixed by slashing social spending and forcing people to pull themselves up by the bootstraps. It's a social, moralistic fetish, not a regretted position based on actuarial review.

Obamacare makes real people's lives a little easier, and makes insurance company CEO's lives a little bit harder. The deficit fetishists don't actually care whether it saves the country money. Morally, it feels wrong to them that the poor aren't suffering more. It never was about the deficit in the first place.

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