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Dr. Helen

Enjoy the Decline

October 16th, 2013 - 12:33 pm

I thought about Aaron Clarey’s book Enjoy the Decline as I read this comment at PJ Tatler by VoiceOfReason in response to the SF Chronicle telling people to lower their 2014 income in order to qualify for an ObamaCare subsidy:

VoiceOfReason
Let’s say your a married couple with 2 kids. Hubby and Wife work, own their home with a mortgage and each have a car with a car payment. Okay? So here’s the plan:

File for an amicable divorce, hubby gets the house, wife gets the kids. Wife quits her job and signs up for all the government benefits available to a single mother. She rents the house from Hubby, and Section 8 pays the rent, which covers the mortgage and at least one car payment. Food stamps and other cash assistance programs cover all the groceries. Other programs supply free electricity, cable, gas, water, etc. Obamacare supplies free healthcare for wife and kids.

Hubby continues to work (and live with family) and his Obamacare premiums are about the same for a single person as what he used to pay for family coverage. The rest of his salary is devoted to what is left of the second car payment and disposable income. Overall, the family budget has improved dramatically and lavish vacations become the norm.

Not only is the ObamaCare subsidy a disincentive for people to work, but it also makes more sense for those who make less money to stay single or as in the scenario in the comment above, divorce and collect benefits for the whole family. The only good thing here seems to be that dad is included in this particular benefits scam. But it could turn on a dime as pointed out by this commenter:

Meanwhile wife figures, hey, I’m not married. So what’s to keep me from having sex with a bunch of other men? It’s not like I’m cheating or anything. While that’s happening, the government comes after husband demanding that he compensate the government for all the benefits that are being paid out, threatening him with jail if he doesn’t pay up.

Read more from Tom Blumer: Obamacare’s Useful Idiots

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Don't go Galt. Go Pirate. The system is fixed against you then go around, hop the fence, play in the other guy's yard. Think slightly outside the rules not full on rape and pillage (that comes later)
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Really? Maybe those who are working and funding this mess with tax payer dollars are the ones with no morals. Yes, I am being sarcastic here but in some sense, it is true. If you work and go along with this "system" by supporting it with your tax dollars, how is that somehow more moral than trying to drive the system into the ground?
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
In a two earner professional household it really is easy to justify that the 2nd earner quit and play defense with the family budget rather than offense, especially if they have kids. Between paying 7.5% fica and all of the 2nd income being taxed in the highest brackets (plus most additional disposable spending going to sales taxes too) over half the 2nd income goes to taxes in one form or another.

When a dollar saved is the same thing as two dollars earned it creates some perverse incentives where it makes sense for the 2nd earner professional to drop out of the workforce and do the unskilled and semi skilled labor that the couple would otherwise pay for. Who loses? The baby-sitter, housekeeper, the lawn service, the car wash, the handyman, the servers at Applebee's (plus a loss of enough in taxes to pay for at least 1 teacher and firefighter in our case). But the family can enjoy a much improved quality of life. When conservation trumps consumption then our service economy takes a huge hit.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (45)
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Folks have been gaming this system in the Tri-state area (Ill, Mich, IN) since the seventies. I lived next door to a family in Detroit who spent the week traveling to the three states to collect checks from various state agencies. Drove a new caddy every year and payed cash for same. Titled under his dead mother's name. Guy was always flush and fat.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
In TN, because of Title IV-D, DHS would pursue the father for child support, as the stàte would have an interest. Not as certain about this, but I think to get some benefits, Wife would have to declare that Husband was not living with her.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
So it's come to this: applying pickup artist rules to the economy. Oh, well. "Don't hate the playa, hate the game."
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh yeah, I'm already exploring ways to game ObamaCare. That will be patriotic.

My wife and I hosted one of the first groups of exchange students from the former Soviet Union back in 1992. An East German student told me his father required him to make good grades in every subject but one -- Russian, the language of the occupier.

My individual policy will be cancelled Dec 2015, so I've got some time. Visited the exchange and my premium will double. Maybe Dr. Helen's next book should give us some gaming tips, perhaps like this? -- "The Man Who Was Treated for $17,000 Less:"

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324139404579017113415486176
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I like the idea of a book on "how to go Galt" in the current economy with tips and ideas for flourishing in the upcoming years. The article you linked to is a good case in point.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't go Galt. Go Pirate. The system is fixed against you then go around, hop the fence, play in the other guy's yard. Think slightly outside the rules not full on rape and pillage (that comes later)
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Going Danneskjöld?
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yep. If this country continues down the road to socialism, I see it as a moral duty to game the system. I'm not talking about anything illegal or violent, just mischievous and "slightly outside the rules."

I'm considering going without insurance in the first few years of ObamaCare and paying the fine if I can negotiate cash payments at time of service with my doctors. Something serious like cancer turns up, I'll just buy insurance at that point.

Still exploring options. I won't do anything that places my health in jeopardy, but I do plan to screw the system as many ways as possible. Maybe I'll eventually have refuse to learn Spanish, too. ;-)
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
That only works if you don't have any morels.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
You didn't get the memo? You can't legislate morelity. You're being awfully judgmental too, and that's also a big no-no BTW. Shame, shame, shame on you for trying to shame people.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Really? Maybe those who are working and funding this mess with tax payer dollars are the ones with no morals. Yes, I am being sarcastic here but in some sense, it is true. If you work and go along with this "system" by supporting it with your tax dollars, how is that somehow more moral than trying to drive the system into the ground?
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
When I told a friend I'd be forced out of my private policy and my premiums would double on the government exchange, he asked, "Did you check for subsidies?"

Really? A subsidy from a government $17 trillion in debt can only be paid by our children and grandchildren.

Taking THAT money is what's "immoral."
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
The kids probably voted for Obama, so maybe it will teach them a lesson that who they put in the presidency has consequences.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Maybe" is the key word there. You should investigate something I've seen called the Curley Effect: the worse things get, the more dependent people become on the status quo and those in charge; the practical effect is they "vote harder" (as I call it) -- for the same people.

I suppose it's a variation on the Stockholm Syndrome.

Here's a future headline you won't see:

Government Threatens Suicide, Holds Entire Country Hostage.
Entire Country Hates Washington's Guts, Says "Please!!!!!!!".

45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
The government takes the welfare payments out first -- along with processing fees -- so they do wind up with less money than when they started. It also puts the father in jeopardy: If he get's sick, loses his job or for any reason can't pay the court ordered amount, he will be automatically be subject to a variety of penalties up to and including indefinite incarceration. Getting a CS reduction is expensive and risky even under obvious circumstances.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Government is filled with perverse incentives. The unintended consequences frequently outweigh the actual intentions. Legislatures rarely think things through.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
In a two earner professional household it really is easy to justify that the 2nd earner quit and play defense with the family budget rather than offense, especially if they have kids. Between paying 7.5% fica and all of the 2nd income being taxed in the highest brackets (plus most additional disposable spending going to sales taxes too) over half the 2nd income goes to taxes in one form or another.

When a dollar saved is the same thing as two dollars earned it creates some perverse incentives where it makes sense for the 2nd earner professional to drop out of the workforce and do the unskilled and semi skilled labor that the couple would otherwise pay for. Who loses? The baby-sitter, housekeeper, the lawn service, the car wash, the handyman, the servers at Applebee's (plus a loss of enough in taxes to pay for at least 1 teacher and firefighter in our case). But the family can enjoy a much improved quality of life. When conservation trumps consumption then our service economy takes a huge hit.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I should have said, "most additional disposable spending 'qualifying' for sales tax too" but hopefully the point was obvious.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
My husband lost an IT career in the crash, but rallied and went on to a second career in security - less prestige and money, sure, but he kept his workingman's pride even in the face of a combination of inflexible union rules and affirmative-action discrimination. Then he caught a colleague sleeping on the job... and she promptly accused him of sexual harassment. He quit in disgust, and now we are doing exactly what you describe, Mr. Nashville. Even with less money to throw around, our quality of life is much higher, and luckily my employer has an Obamacare waiver!
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I suppose it's my parochial school education that makes me a grammar nazi, but I would like to see that "your" in the first line of VoiceOfReason's comment corrected to "you're".

Beyond that, I'm not too surprised by his analysis. Obamacare is showing itself to be a huge clusterf*** of a program. That it functions by taking money out of your right pocket, passing it through the hands of a bunch of bureaucrats, then putting what's left into your right pocket is just insane, and the folks who support this are equally insane. Thank you, Barack 'Husinsane' Obama.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Once the erstwhile law abiding middle class starts investing its time and energy in large scale evasion it's game over for the Republic. But the operational philosophy is and should be: you're trying to screw me, so screw you. Break it up, break it all up.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Exactly. Welcome to the United States of Italy...
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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