James Taranto’s latest column touches on something that conservatives first noticed 5 years ago:
“Expect the unexpected” has been good advice for anyone following American economic news since 2009. That news has usually been bad, and almost always “unexpectedly” so. The surprise is a product of ideological bias: With a kindred spirit in the White House, liberal reporters expect (or at least hope for) good things to happen. A cynical observer might suggest that there is an element of deliberate spin involved, with reporters hoping to keep readers’ expectations afloat until next month’s report.
The thought that their messiah isn’t alway right doesn’t sit well with the Agenda Media. They’re emotionally invested in President Obama’s success to the point that they’ve lost all objectivity. I predicted in February, 2009 that Obamanomics wouldn’t produce the economic growth that Mark Zandi, sometimes known as the father of the stimulus plan, predicted in his testimony to Congress:
The fiscal stimulus is also working. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed early this year has reduced payroll tax withholding, sent checks to Social Security recipients, and provided financial help to unemployed workers whose normal benefits have run out. The cash for clunkers program revved up vehicle sales, and the housing tax credit has boosted home purchases.iii It is no coincidence that the Great Recession ended just as the stimulus began providing its maximum economic benefit (see Chart 1).iv The stimulus is doing what it was supposed to do: short-circuit the recession and spur recovery.
Five years after that testimony, the economy still isn’t recovering. With this administration’s suspect forecasting, we should’ve expected that their predictions about the Affordable Care Act, aka the ACA, would be wrong, too. This Reuters article reports what many conservatives predicted:
Data from seven states and the District of Columbia, which are running their own marketplaces, show that of more than 200,000 enrollees, nearly 22 percent are 18 to 34 years old, according to a Reuters analysis.
The administration had hoped that over 38 percent, or 2.7 million, of all enrollees in 2014 would be 18 to 35 years old, based on a Congressional Budget Office estimate that 7 million people would sign up by the end of March. “The whole insurance relationship is counting on them signing up,” said Dale Yamamoto, an independent healthcare actuarial consultant. “Otherwise rates will have to increase.”
George Will puts things in focus at the 2:30 mark of this video:
Here’s what Mr. Will said that’s particularly fitting:
GEORGE WILL: They do not have to come to the table and participate. They can go on strike. Obamacare always counted on the mass irrationality of young people. Normally, that’s a good bet but in this case, not so.
Will later noted that “Romneycare didn’t instantly become a byword for incompetence” like Obamacare did. The death of Obamacare is inevitable, thanks in part to the fact that the model is fatally flawed:
Such results were in fact entirely expected by those, including your humble columnist, who warned of “adverse selection.” ObamaCare severely limits insurers’ ability to set premiums based on policyholders’ risk profiles. They may not charge the already-sick more than the healthy, and their ability to charge the middle-aged more than the young is highly constrained.
In other words, Obamacare, aka the ACA, instructs insurance companies from doing what insurance companies have done for decades. Specifically, Obamacare tells insurance companies they can’t base premiums on a study of risk profiles. Can you imagine if Obamacare told car insurance companies they couldn’t charge people with a lengthy history of speeding tickets and reckless driving more than the driver who’s never had an accident and who’s never gotten a moving violation?
Obamacare explicitly says that a man who’s had a heart attack and takes blood pressure medication can’t be charged more than a person of the same age who’s cholestorol is normal and who’s never had a serious health issue. That’s downright stupid. It’s the type of bill that’s destined to fail.
Simply put, anyone honest enough to evaluate the Affordable Care Act based on time-tested economic principles knows that it’s destined for failure because it can’t be sustained. As Charles Krauthammer once astutely noticed, “anything that can’t be sustained can’t be sustained.”
There’s nothing surprising or magical about that.