Reproduce or Pay a Tax: The Next ObamaCare

ObamaCare is about correcting for the “problem” that some people are not buying insurance. Rather than identify needy individuals and pay for their insurance, the bill mandates that everyone buy insurance that meets the prescription of government health czars (not too much, not too little, but “just right”). The government argues the following: by failing to buy insurance, the uninsured shift costs to others who must support the federal-state scheme to cover all health care costs, including uncompensated losses.

Thought experiment:

Here is a much bigger problem with social insurance that could lead to its collapse across the Western world: some young people are not having children. True, children are not a market in the plain meaning of the word but the government can create a “market” out of something that does not exist. The Solicitor General (the government’s top lawyer) will argue that there really is a baby market with adoptions. That market is so pressing that people are forced to go overseas for babies.

But the real problem is that low birth rates (below replacement level) mean fewer and fewer workers paying for those on Social Security and Medicare. Solution: penalize those of childbearing age (men and women) who have fewer than 2.1 children (replacement level). Fine them each and every year so that the aggregate makes up for their indirect effect on the taxes of working Americans who must pay more in Social Security and Medicare taxes because of the children never born.

This time be careful: write into the bill “tax,” “general welfare,” and “indirect effect on interstate commerce” to get the job done. The Court will surely split the non-existent baby in half (4-4) with one wobbly Justice upholding the law as a “matter of degree” in the attenuation of the Commerce Clause.

HHS Slogan: “reproductive rights come with reproductive obligations.”

It doesn’t take a law degree to head where this republican experiment of ours is headed.

Jonathan Bean is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and editor of the Independent book, Race & Liberty in America: The Essential Reader.
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