Now that the Supreme Court is done distracting us with rulings on topics of lesser importance, let's get our focus back on what really matters: the economy. Specifically, the impact the Affordable Care Act is having on our sputtering recovery. We are six months out from the full implementation of the ACA, and it sits like the Sword of Damocles above everything that we do. But unlike Dionysius II, who put Damocles' fate in the strength of a single horse hair, President Obama has guaranteed that this sword will drop upon us on January 1st.
Small businesses continue to be affected the most. A new Gallup poll shows nearly a third of such firms have scaled back plans for growth due to the expected cost of the Affordable Care Act. Some of them already have laid off employees to minimize that cost. As any non-Keynsian economist will tell you, small businesses are the real engine of the American economy--and if that engine is stuck in neutral (or going in reverse), it's going to be pretty hard to get the recovery going full speed ahead any time soon.
However, those business owners could find some relief in a most unexpected way: the Immigration Bill approved by the US Senate this week. You see, a little known provision in the bill--which prohibits what would be newly-non-illegal immigrants from collecting entitlement benefits--makes them inelligible to receive the government subsidies for health coverage. That would mean their employers would not have to pay the ObamaCare fine--I mean tax for constitutionality purposes--for not providing them with health insurance. That would make such workers--who are already willing to work for less than their legal citizen counterparts--an even greater value to employers. At the expense of those Americans for whom the Affordable Care Act was supposed to cure all of their ills.
Adding insult to injury is that as we "learn more about what's in the bill", the more supporters of the ACA want out. Joining members of Congress and a number of major unions are Democrats in Massachussetts--where President Obama claims he got the idea for the ACA--in asking for a waiver from the requirements of the law. It turns out that ObamaCare is much more expensive for citizens and for the state than RomneyCare is. How's that for a sharp stick in the eye of those who refused to vote for Romney because this whole "mandatory health care thing" was hung on him like a hairshirt in the last election?
Of course, the Affordable Care Act wasn't about expense, growth of government, or winning elections. It was about getting the uninsured coverage that they so desperately want. Except those very people don't actually want coverage. Another poll show as many as two-thirds of the uninsured in the US will STILL forego coverage--even though the law requires them to--and the Federal Government has commited trillions of dollars to give it to them. How's that for gratitude?
If 4th Century BC Sicily had been facing the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, I think Damocles would have cut the horse-hair himself.