Acton Institute Powerblog

Don’t Fret About the Premium Increases, You Can Just Pay More in Taxes to Subsidize Yourself

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paying-taxesYesterday I was reading an article about Obamacare in the Washington Post. . .

Whether they know about that financial help is a different question, as many have had trouble using HealthCare.gov to figure out how much insurance would cost under the Affordable Care Act. And the study does not include information on whether those subsides would lead to lower premiums for shoppers buying in the health law’s new exchanges.

“There’s no question that when people get better coverage it is likely to mean that they are going to pay somewhat higher premiums,” Families USA executive director Ron Pollack said. “You don’t get anything for nothing. But if you’re eligible for subsides that are going to significantly reduce your premiums, that could more than make up for an increase in premium costs.”

. . . and then I repeatedly banged my head against the wall until I lost consciousness. Before I came to, I had this weird dream:

Uncle Sam: “Give me a hundred dollars.”

I.M. Citizen: “Why”

Uncle Sam: “I’m going to spend it on some things you need—and some stuff you don’t.”

I.M. Citizen: “I don’t really have a choice do I?”

Uncle Sam: “Not really, no.”

I.M. Citizen (reaches for wallet): “Well, okay, here is a hundred dollars . . . ”

Uncle Sam: “Wait, did you have to pay higher insurance premiums because of Obamacare?”

I.M. Citizen: “Yeah, after my insurance plan was canceled I had to sign up for a more expensive plan and . . . ”

Uncle Sam: “Yeah, yeah, I know the drill. Here, keep five bucks for yourself.”

I.M. Citizen (puts the five back into his wallet)

Uncle Sam: “And what do you say?”

I.M. Citizen: “What do I say about what?

Uncle Sam: “How about ‘Thank you.’ Didn’t your parents teach you any manners?”

I.M. Citizen: “Thank you for what, I just gave you my money.”

Uncle Sam: “I just gave you a subsidy of five dollars.”

I.M. Citizen: “A subsidy? What are you . . . hold on. (Pulls out his iPhone and checks Dictionary.com.) The definition of subsidy is “a direct pecuniary aid furnished by a government to a private industrial undertaking, a charity organization, or the like.”

Uncle Sam: “Exactly. I just gave you direct pecuniary aid.”

I.M. Citizen: “But all you did was let me keep my own money.”

Uncle Sam: “Yes, but I was planning to spend that five dollars.”

I.M. Citizen: “Why don’t you just plan to spend five dollars less than you had planned?”

Uncle Sam: “I don’t understand the question.”

I.M. Citizen: No, I guess you wouldn’t.

Uncle Sam: “Okay, fine we won’t call it a subsidy. How about we call it a “spending increase?”

I.M. Citizen: “So you let me keep five bucks because my spending increased and you say that letting me keep that money increases your spending? Does that mean that the other $100 I have in my wallet has increased government spending by $100 dollars?”

Uncle Sam: “Well, I don’t know much about economics, but since . . . wait a minute, you still have some money left? I don’t remember giving you another subsidy?”

Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).

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