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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Conservative Utah + Obamacare = Fiscal Child Abuse

You would think that in conservative Utah, this would be the last place where debt loving politicians would find allies.

Sadly, Utah opinion leaders have no problem in embracing a program that would saddle future generations with massive debt, to the tune of $1.35 trillion in just the next 10 years. (See Table B-1 of the January 2015 Congressional Budget Office's scoring report.)

The CBO numbers clearly show that there are not enough ObamaCare revenues to pay for the exchanges, much less the Medicaid expansion. In other words, ObamaCare Medicaid expansion is 100% paid for by debt.

The program the Republican governor of Utah wants to use to steal money from future generations is called "Healthy Utah." This program would take federal dollars to provide health insurance to people that don't make enough to qualify for the ObamaCare health insurance exchange - the so-called Medicaid Gap.

It has been sold to the public with the message that Utah taxpayers would only pay for 10% of the money spent and the federal government would provide the other 90% of the funds. The Utah governor, the major Utah newspapers, hospitals, doctors, drug companies and opinion polls all support "Healthy Utah."

So far the conservative Utah legislature has rejected "Healthy Utah." The main reason given is that there is no way to control future costs of the program and while paying 10% on the dollar for expanding health insurance for poor people sounds like a good deal, there is no guarantee that this 10% will not grow to the point that it will take money from other state spending needs or require state tax increases. The real problem is the other 90%, which thanks to a perverse form of money laundering, the public remains ignorant that it is totally unpaid for.

We are at a point where the governor and legislative leaders are trying to hammer out a compromise so Utah can get its hands on the federal money. I don't think they are giving enough attention to the debt this will create for the next generation.

Supporters of Healthy Utah argue that the program is needed because a large number of poor people have no access to affordable health care.They say that other states are taking ObamaCare money and Utah is missing out. They say Utah is sending federal tax payments to Washington and not getting back our fair share.

It sounds eminently reasonable and anyone opposed to "Healthy Utah" is cold hearted, and lacking in compassion, right? How can we allow people to live without access to affordable health coverage? No wonder polls show majority support for "Healthy Utah."

I think majority support for "Healthy Utah" would evaporate if people were asked this more truthful question:

"Do you support 'Healthy Utah' Medicaid expansion if the federal money used is 100% funded by federal debt which future generations will have to pay back?" or even better, "Is it moral to require future taxpayers to pay for the current health care needs of poor people?"

Some people will say, "It is what it is. We need to embrace the ObamaCare program because it is all we have and poor people need help." Fair enough, but we should be the ones paying for, not the next generation.

We are justifiably appalled when we see Baltimore citizens looting stores. How dare they take something without paying for it, even if they need it. Shouldn't we feel the same way about spending money on health care needs of the poor when we are not paying for it? We are literally stealing from future generations. And if we see other states stealing money, does that make it okay for Utah to do it too?

Laurence Kotlikoff, the liberal Massachusetts economist, refers to this modern practice of inter-generational theft as fiscal child abuse. This is a strong term, but an accurate one. How dare we as a society spend money that is not ours, so we don't have to pay for services that benefit us, and then expect our non-voting children and grandchildren to pay the bill?

Who wants to defend fiscal child abuse?

Tragically, the Utah media is not giving the funding source for ObamaCare the attention it deserves. If you want to fight fiscal child abuse, please share this information with Utah voters, fiscally responsible citizens, and especially Utah politicians.

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