"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Obamacare's Catch-22

In Joseph Heller's novel, Catch-22, the absurdity of much of wartime bureaucracy was captured in the unwritten rule of the title:  "Catch-22 states that agents enforcing Catch-22 need not prove that Catch-22 actually contains whatever provision the accused violator is accused of violating."

Well, consider this little nugget about Obamacare:
Treasury officials said Monday that businesses will be told to "certify" that they are not shedding full-time workers simply to avoid the mandate. Officials said employers will be told to sign a "self-attestation" on their tax forms affirming this, under penalty of perjury.
WTF?   It is perfectly legal to make business decisions, including hiring and firing decisions of at-will employees, based on rational calculations of the cost of complying with federal law.   It literally happens every day, for instance, when a company decides not to open a new factory to manufacture a new product because the cost of complying with federal EPA rules is too high.   But now employers will have to "certify" that they are not firing employees to stay under the 50 (or is it 100?) employee threshold where the employer mandate under Obamacare kicks in.   They can fire employees, but they just can't think the wrong thoughts while firing them.  

Essentially, what this does is that every employer who makes that rational (and, repeat, legal) decision to fire employees (or to decide not to hire new employees) because of the Obamacare mandate is now subject to a perjury trap.   The federal government could get a judge to issue a warrant based on the probable cause that they lied on their federal tax forms, and come in to a company and begin searching its email records and files for any evidence that they had thought the unthinkable thought.... that the Obamacare mandate would not be affordable for the company.  

Is this really the American we want to live in?

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