I dislike the term “middle class,” for two reasons. One: it imposes a left-wing template on American society that simply does not fit. Two: it describes almost everyone and yet no one. Obama ran in 2008 and 2012 on the idea that he and his Democrats stood for the “middle class” against the Republican plutocrats and the Tea Party extremists. Yet Obama’s signature policy is a nightmare for Americans in that same middle class.
In the context of Obamacare, middle class means those Americans too wealthy to qualify for the expanded Medicaid coverage in many states, yet too poor to absorb the costs of more expensive health insurance on the new exchanges. Many of those who previously bought individual insurance policies, or who enrolled in health insurance programs through their work, are in that same middle class, and are Obamacare’s chief victims.
In an article for the Washington Examiner on Tuesday, David Freddoso focuses on the problem that high-cost insurance will pose to Democrats when (if) the Obamacare websites are finally fixed. He takes on New York Times columnist Paul Krugman’s claim that only Republicans will care about Obamacare’s flaws in the long run. In the process, Freddoso speaks for millions of middle-class Americans suffering the most today:
Krugman has never had trouble in his column empathizing with the uninsurable and the very poor, who in many cases will benefit from Obamacare. But it is harder to empathize with the millions of Americans who are not poor, yet must constantly worry about money. These are the people most affected by and angriest about Obamacare now – and they also have little or nothing to gain from it.
Those inflated Obamacare premiums won’t make these people homeless. But they will put a lot of extra pressure on their household budgets. Obamacare will cancel date nights and trips to visit family; it will force less generous Christmases for children. It will mean that for all your hard work, you’ll still be driving that piece of junk a few more years before you can afford to replace it with something more reliable.
To some writers, the experiences and aspirations of this entire “middle class” are so foreign that these people might as well all live half a world away in Benghazi. But they are real, and they vote. And if the media tried to ignore their story, the very stones would cry out.
The “Benghazi” reference answers Krugman’s attempt to classify that along with the Obamacare mess as a non-problem. I don’t think the analogy will hold up on either end. Regardless, Freddoso has nailed the core issue.