Thursday, July 5, 2012

Can You Afford It?

This quote from PJ Tatler:

President Obama’s campaign spokesman said on CNN this morning that his boss disagrees with the Supreme Court ruling on the individual mandate.
When prodded by host Soledad O’Brien, Ben LaBolt said that the Obama specifically believes that the mandate consists of a penalty.
“You saw our arguments before the Supreme Court. You see what the president has said over the past several years that it’s a penalty for that 1 percent of the population who can afford health insurance but hasn’t chosen to get it,” LaBolt said. “Because the fact is that has led the rest of us to pay a hidden tax of $1,000 a year, folks already covered. It drives up our premiums.”

Who, and how, determines if somebody can "afford something"?  Wouldn't that be an individual decision based upon any number of idiosyncratic factors?  A person might have enough money stuffed in his mattress or even stored as pixels in his bank account to put a down payment on a new Prius.  He can "afford" it.  But he might believe that keeping a reserve of liquid funds in a bank account or mattress might save him from destitution if he gets fired from his job or his border collie needs surgery.  Following that line of thinking, common in America for most of its history, he can't afford a new Prius, even  with a liberal payment policy.  The idea that some other party can determine if an individual can "afford" anything is preposterous.

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