In What Sense is Obamacare “Conservative”?

J.D. Kleineke of AEI states an important half-truth: the architecture of Obamacare is consistent with conservative principles of competition, transparency, and personal responsibilty, and conservatives who denounce it are mostly incoherent and self-contradictory in doing so.

But it is only half the truth. The other half is that the subsidies built in to the plan constitute one of the largest downward redistribution programs ever created: about $200B/yr., forever.

Obama doesn’t want to say this because he fears losing upper-middle-class votes if Republicans charge him with “class warfare.” Republicans don’t want to say it because they want to conceal the actual class war they have been waging so successfully. Yes, Obamacare is consistent with conservative principles, but the GOP and its tame pundits are more than ready to rise above principle and do what the plutocrats want. Obama’s critics from the left have less of an excuse.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

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Mark Kleiman

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the New York University Marron Institute.