Health reform is "an income shift," Democratic Sen. Max Baucus said on March 25. "It is a shift, a leveling, to help lower income, middle income Americans."Notice that they didn't tell us that this was the goal while they were trying to sell the bill to a skeptical public. But now that the bill is law, they let us in on their secret goal.
In his halting, jumbled style, Baucus explained that in recent years "the maldistribution of income in America has gone up way too much, the wealthy are getting way, way too wealthy, and the middle income class is left behind." The new health care legislation, Baucus promised, "will have the effect of addressing that maldistribution of income in America."
At about the same time, Howard Dean, the former Democratic National Committee chairman and presidential candidate, said the health bill was needed to correct economic inequities. "The question is, in a democracy, what is the right balance between those at the top ... and those at the bottom?" Dean said during an appearance on CNBC. "When it gets out of whack, as it did in the 1920s, and it has now, you need to do some redistribution. This is a form of redistribution."
Summing things up in the New York Times, the liberal economics columnist David Leonhardt called Obamacare "the federal government's biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago."
This week the DNC group Organizing for America offered a commemorative certificate to supporters who helped pass the health care bill. The certificate said, "We achieved the dream of generations -- high-quality, affordable health care is no longer the privilege of a few, but the right of all."And these Democrats like Baucus are so clueless that they think that this is something to brag about in public. I wonder how his redistributionist pride goes down in Montana.
The privilege of a few? It is widely accepted that about 85 percent of all Americans have health care coverage, and the overwhelming majority are happy with it. There's simply no way anyone could plausibly claim that health coverage is the privilege of a few.
And yet that is the bedrock belief of some who supported the health care makeover. So it's no wonder that we're hearing about health care as the redistribution of income. Of course, we're only hearing it after the bill has passed.