ObamaCare and GDP: yet another broken promise

Yesterday I mentioned that increased costs and mandatory spending due to ObamaCare were given credit for keeping the U.S. economy from slipping into negative growth in the first quarter of 2014 (by the slimmest of margins, as GDP growth weighted in at just 0.1. percent.)  I forgot to mention that ObamaCare supporters were the primary purveyors of this claim.  ThinkProgress actually had a post entitled, “Health care spending is on the rise, and that’s a good thing.”

Sean Davis at The Federalist reminds us that not only is that an unbelievably stupid thing for liberals to say, but it’s the exact opposite of what we were told ObamaCare would do to the economy – a promise made at great length in a 56-page 2009 White House report that predicted “slowing the annual growth rate of health care costs would increase real Gross Domestic Product,” “prevent disastrous increases in the Federal budget deficit,” and even lower the unemployment rate.

But never mind all that, because Obama dead-enders cheerfully discard every lie their beloved leader threw into their gullible faces and spin on a dime to embrace whatever new spin helps them crawl through a news cycle.  So much for all those promises of reducing health care expenditures to funnel money into more productive sectors of the economy!  Now it’s the “Broken Windows” idiocy I described yesterday: “It’s great that ObamaCare is forcing us to spend more money on insurance and health care, because that generates economic activity!  We’d be tipping into a recession right now, if the Affordable Care Act wasn’t keeping us all so busy!”

One of the fundamental errors of modern liberalism is their mutation of the Broken Windows fallacy into the believe that all economic activity is, more or less, equally desirable.  As long as people are doing stuff, money is changing hands, and the Left’s beloved super-State is getting its cut.  That’s part of the thinking between the jaw-dropping foolishness of Obama apologists claiming unemployment insurance is a form of economic stimulus: it puts money in people’s hands, and they spend it, so jobs will surely sprout like daffodils!  

In truth, it matters why money is changing hands.  The Broken Windows parable is a lesson about opportunity costs: the apparent economic stimulus of a small town scrambling to fix a broken shop window must be judged against the loss of all the other things they could have done with their time and money.  Such consideration of lost opportunities is the deadly enemy of socialism, especially Obama’s brand of it; support for almost all of his policies requires absolute and total ignorance of the private-sector opportunities sacrificed to enable them. 

We should begin every economics class with a lesson on how voluntary commerce almost always creates greater value than any form of compulsory activity, especially over the long term.  There is a cost associated with compulsion.  There is always something lost, which we are never supposed to think about.