FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Making criminals of us all
Every time the government grows, some new population of Americans is implicitly reduced to the status of suspected criminal. The force of the State shouldn’t be deployed against law-abiding people, right? By definition, when you feel the dread hand of government clap down upon your shoulder, you’re doing something wrong, breaking the law… you are a criminal, different only in degree from the convicts down at the local penitentiary. And if you keep resisting the commands of the State, that’s where you will end up, assuming you’re not killed while resisting arrest.
The power of government is quite fearsome when you think of it that way. And the people who founded this country very much wanted us to think of it that way. Government officials are supposed to be dedicated servants of the public, attending to their solemn duties with full awareness of the destructive power they wield.
Of course, we’re now several generations into a new mindset that encourages us to think of the State as our buddy, our endlessly attentive surrogate mommy and daddy… and also our business partner, lifestyle consultant, and constant monitor. It’s a giant plush octopus with very long tentacles, whose crushing strength you’re supposed to disregard while cooing over how cute it is.
An article by Josh Archambault at Forbes provides a timely reminder of exactly how the growth of government makes criminals of us all. Archambault suspects, probably correctly, that few Americans understand just how many complications and obligations their shiny new ObamaCare subsidies will place upon them. We’re pretty much all on welfare now, but the new middle-class welfare program has a lot of strings attached. Tax subsidies are paid to people making as much as 400 percent of the federal poverty level, which is ludicrous on its face; government subsidies for people who make four times the poverty level are the sure sign of a dying civilization.
As Archambault explains, there are some serious perils associated with collecting these subsidies, and they’ve only increased as President Obama has illegally rewritten portions of the Affordable Care Act to keep public outrage under control. The formula for determining tax credit eligibility is incredibly complicated – that’s one of the reasons the ObamaCare websites crashed so frequently in the early days, as they tried to plug into numerous other government databases and hide the true cost of ObamaCare policies behind subsidy calculations. The tax credits are only available to those who purchase insurance on the exchanges, which comes as a bit of a shock to those who try shopping outside of them.
People who do buy from the exchanges and accept the subsidies have quite a few pitfalls to beware. Low-income people who don’t file a tax return will lose their credits for good. Your estimate of the credits you are entitled to is based upon either last year’s taxes, or next year’s estimated taxes; if your calculation proves incorrect, the IRS will be coming after you to collect credits you claimed improperly. The only way to eliminate that risk is to claim your credits at the end of the year… which would make you responsible for paying the full freight of those incredibly expensive ObamaCare policies for a whole year.
And since King Barack has rewritten the law a few times, many people will be looking at “surprise bills from the IRS in the mail come tax time 2015, in the order of a couple hundred dollars all the way up to the full value of any subsidy received, if a family crosses the 400% threshold,” writes Archambault. “Just a few dollars of extra income could result in thousands of back taxes to be paid.”
Won’t that be fun? And don’t forget to fill out a new tidal wave of paperwork if you experience any major “life events,” such as having a baby or relocating. In the new transformed America, people will be nervous about moving. But even if you don’t do something that triggers a new subsidy eligibility determination, you need to worry about doing anything that would substantially change your income, or your health insurance status. Archambault cites a study that suggests up to 40 percent of the population in California might end up with surprise tax bills due to improperly calculated ObamaCare subsidies next year, a figure that might reasonably be extracted to the rest of the country, give or take a few hundred thousand ruined lives. Get used to feeling more apprehension than joy when you learn you’re getting a raise.
Archambault concludes with the suspicion that the incredibly complex nature of the ObamaCare subsidies was deliberately hidden from the American people, to keep the already low levels of ObamaCare enrollment from dwindling away to nothing. Considering polls that show half the country still doesn’t understand how the individual mandate works, it’s a safe bet that most of them have no idea just how extensively their lives have been criminalized by ObamaCare.
You really shouldn’t be surprised, folks. This is an inevitable consequence of expanding our inescapable central government. Every time you vote for a leftist, you’re voting for more rules, which you will pay higher consequences for violating, either deliberately or inadvertently. Remember, ignorance of systems that no one comprehends in full is no defense! The great ObamaCare transformation of America has brought us close to the long-awaited day when everyone is either a prosecutor, or a perpetrator.