The WSJ’s Daniel Henninger recently wrote an opinion piece urging opponents to simply let ObamaKare collapse under its own weight of failure, but I think this reader from Austin has it right: entitlement programs don’t go away, they just continue to grow. In fact, I’ll go the WSJ reader one better: nothing in the government goes away, ever, no matter how badly it fails. Progressives believe in the perfectability of man and society (see Marx, e.g.), so when a program doesn’t work, they don’t look at the inherent cause and inevitability of that failure, they just tinker with it, pass more regulations and allocate it more money to “get it right, this time”. Witness, just off the top of the head, the EPA, OSHA, Headstart, and the departments of Energy, Education and Homeland Security.
I would like to share Daniel Henninger’s confidence that ObamaCare is a doomed entitlement that will collapse under its own weight (“Let ObamaCare Collapse,”Wonder Land, Sept. 26), but historical precedents for an orderly dismantling of welfare-state benefit programs are very hard to find. Mr. Henninger’s forecast of ObamaCare’s demise hinges on public abandonment of the entitlement as its catastrophic effects unfold. Public disgust is destined to rise, according to Mr. Henninger, because the technological core of a centrally managed health system will be overloaded by a mind-boggling array of parties involved (i.e., federal agencies, state and local governments, employers, insurers, health-care providers and patients).
Many of us might agree that ObamaCare’s overreach will force change but question whether dysfunction was baked into a plan to blame greedy insurers and push for a single-payer solution or if the number of voters who have ObamaCare buyer’s remorse will exceed the number who are partially or fully dependent on government benefits.
Many U.S. companies have been rushing to drop bare-bones health plans and to steer employees, particularly part-timers, into insurance exchanges. An employer stampede out of health-care administration means that far more Americans will be dependent on government-sponsored plans in the next year or two. Once dependence and entitlement settle into a nation’s psyche, abandonment of social progress is unheard of, absent impending financial collapse.
As a general rule, progressive steps forward into entitlement minefields are usually followed by stubborn and expensive stomps to the finish line, not by retreats or surrender.