Underpants Gnome Legislating

In this recent post, The Two Obfuscations of Obamacare, Jason Kuznicki explains the basic arguments against the law in the context of its (lack of) constitutionality. I agree with it all. This is the best part of the post:

As a thought experiment: Suppose we levy a tax on everyone. You can get out of it by spending two days a week breaking rocks in a quarry, in leg irons. The beneficiary is a multinational mining corporation.

It’s just a tax, I’m sure you’ll have to admit — not a penalty in any sense at all. And it’s certainly within the federal government’s power to regulate the mining industry. No one doubts that, do they? So the whole thing gets a pass, constitutionally. Right?

On a related note, I find it amusing when the law’s supporters demand that opponents call it something other than “Obamacare.” I’ll echo a sentiment I read somewhere that questioned this demand because, if the law is so wonderful, why shouldn’t its supporters be happy to have President Obama forever linked with this supposed improvement? That doesn’t advance the debate, but it’s also a fair comment. And, as Jason points out in the comments to his post, the official name of the law is dishonest. Getting outcomes is more complex than legislating an industry as if it’s a vending machine that gives us what we want when we insert our dollar bill. “Affordable” lacks context, since it’s a subjective concept. The plan to get there is preposterous magical thinking.