Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Truly Excellent Deal on Maseratis

So here's a question.

Let's say that somebody came to you with a deal. They say "I have this beautiful sports car for you! I know you cannot afford a car and take the bus, but this sports car is 75% off! You only pay $200,000 instead of $800,000! Isn't that great?"

I imagine many of you would reply that you still cannot afford such a car, and would be bankrupted by paying for both it and its insurance. It doesn't matter how big a percentage reduction there is.

Now that same fellow comes to you later, saying "you MUST buy my sports car, I have brought a police officer who will seize your home if you do not. You must also keep buying sports cars from me indefinitely. Oh, and if you want to actually drive it, you must buy expensive gasoline from my friend over here, him and nobody else.""

I imagine many of you would reply with something else. Something a bit less polite.

So it is with Ezra Klein, Jon Cohn and others with this ridiculous chart. It extolls how much people at certain percentages of the poverty line will save on insurance under the new regime. Yes, they would save money if they were paying for insurance. But they aren't paying for insurance, any more than they are buying Maseratis, because they cannot afford either.

Except that under the new regime, they must buy insurance, no matter how terrible; and because the CBO was nonsensically whinging about "nationalization", 20% of that purchase will line the pockets of executives, administrators, and institutional investors, rather than going to pay for treatment.

(And let's not even get started on the perscription drug issue.)

If you can't afford it, you can't afford it. It doesn't matter how much cheaper it was than it used to be: it ain't a deal. And I think the public understands that, no matter how many smokescreens the defenders throw up.

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