Will Americans pay for their government?

In yesterday’s Raleigh News & Observer, I argued that the Affordable Care Act is a signature moment because it forces middle-class Americans to finally begin paying the price for big government. Of course, this was all done through subterfuge. The President promised the law would save us money –  and if we didn’t like what it had to offer, we could keep our existing policy. That lie really was crucial, because it promised us that we could opt out of his grand experiment, so why not let him give it a try?

In fact, the ACA is a huge redistribution of wealth from the haves and the have-somes, to the have-lesses. That may be appealing to some Americans. But I am convinced that if the ACA had been presented truthfully, it never would have barely passed by hook and crook. Some fresh evidence for this comes from a state that has been trending blue, Colorado. Voters there were faced with exactly this choice in the clearest terms in the form a $1 billion education bond. The New York Times reports: “Had the referendum passed, the current flat state income tax rate of 4.6 percent would have been replaced with a two-tier system. Residents with taxable incomes below $75,000 would have paid 5 percent; taxable incomes above $75,000 would have been taxed at 5.9 percent. The measure would have poured money into poor, rural school districts, expanded preschool, bought new technology and encouraged local innovations like longer school days and school years, supporters said.

“But the promise of higher teacher salaries and full-day kindergarten failed to resonate with voters, even in many reliably blue corners of the state and areas where the money would have had the greatest benefit. The state voted 65 percent to 35 percent against the overhaul, known as Amendment 66.”

That is democracy in action. 

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