Krauthammer was discussing the recent Congressional Budget Office report that predicts that the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, would result in 2 million workers voluntarily leaving the workplace. The reason for that departure being that workers, who are now working solely to get health care benefits, will have new, more affordable options available, enabling them to get health care as individuals.
In response to the report, conservatives first claimed that it predicted 2 million jobs would be lost because of Obamacare. When they were forced to admit that was a lie, they pitched the idea that the new health care law encouraged sloth and laziness, and that the people dropping out of the workforce would be laying about, "living on the dole." Krauthammer chimes in by recalling an old Nancy Pelosi quote, which has often been distorted and taken out of context, in which she asserted that health care reform could allow people to- GASP!- "quit their jobs" and follow their dreams. She was primarily talking about people who could pursue starting their own businesses, but she also mentioned people being able to be "an artist, or a photographer, or a writer without having to worrying about keeping a day job in order to have health insurance."
Art, photography and writing? Blasphemy! Those aren't serious occupations, as Krauthammer should know well. He objects to this outrage:
"The taxes of the American factory worker - grinding away dutifully at his repetitive mind-numbing job - will be subsidizing the voluntary unemployment of the artiste in search of his muse."
This is where my head wants to explode and I want to scream at this hypocrite. I do not claim to represent all of blue collar America, but I will not have some overpaid desk jockey, who's job consists of being a professional blowhard, pretend to speak for or defend American factory workers such as myself. I will not listen to this from a man who cheers the demise of the labor unions that helped raise generations of factory workers out of poverty, helped create the now vanishing middle class and made working conditions safer. I will not listen to this from a man who sits in the comfort of his office, and ridicules OSHA, an organization that, despite its faults, works to enforce regulations that make my job, and the jobs of millions, less dangerous. I'll not hear this from a man who gleefully cheers-on the many states that refuse to extend medicaid coverage to the working poor, thus singling them out as the one group locked out of our health care system. No, I will not listen to this upper class twit lecturing about the nobility of hard work.
Again, we are talking about the WORKING POOR! These are the people who take the crappy jobs that pay so little they still have to rely on food stamps or food pantries to feed their families, only to be belittled by Krauthammer's ilk as if they were "welfare queens". In Missouri, these workers are being denied access to expanded medicaid coverage because they are, (insert sneer), "able-bodied adults". Yes, these are able-bodied adults who did what conservatives wanted them to do. They got a job, any job, regardless of whether they can actually live off the wages.
Charles Krauthammer has no more concern for the American factory worker than I have for pompous, pampered columnists.
Here are a few examples of people I've worked with who may have been able to improve their lives because of the new health care options:
Years ago a co-worker of mine opened a used car lot. He was quite successful, and could have made a living doing it full time. However, he had a family and the cost of buying health care insurance, as an individual, was prohibitively expensive. So, he stayed on at the factory. Had he been able to quit and focus on his business he might have turned into one of those "job creators" conservatives worship so much.
Then there was my friend Paul, who in his younger years could have made a living playing music. He too had a family, and the cost of health care for individuals kept him on the shop floor. You see Charles, it is possible for people to make money in the arts. It's not easy, but it is possible. Even you manage to make a living as a writer.
Then there was the man I worked with who was in his early 60's, (old enough to retire but not yet eligible for Medicare), who was in poor health. He could have afforded to retire early, but in the good old pre-Obamacare days, insurance companies would have rejected him because of his pre-existing conditions, even if he had had the money to pay for health insurance. I'm sure Krauthammer would not be bothered by this man's struggles; after all, if he and his fellow conservatives are successful in their quest to reform (privatize) Social Security, retirement will return to being the exclusive right of the upper class. If that happens, at least Charles will admire our work ethic, as we "[grind] away dutifully" into our paupers' graves.
As for "paying taxes to subsidize" the health care for people who strike out on their own or leave the workforce, I would point out that the health care benefits we receive at our jobs are heavily subsidized in the form of tax deductions.
Ironically, almost every problem, real and imagined, that conservatives say the new health care law causes, could be easily avoided if we scrapped our crazy quilt of public/private health care and went to a single payer health care system like every other advanced nation on the planet. Don't let anyone tell you that single payer is "socialized medicine"; by now we all know that Obama care is socialized medicine. Don't preach to me about "rationing healthcare" either, we already do that in this country, in the most cruel and random ways possible.
I think what really bothers Krauthammer about the CBO report is the whole concept of people escaping the "grinding" that feeds the economic machine that keeps him and his wealthy friends fat and happy. After all, we must keep the little people in their place. Don't worry Charles, with so many people unemployed, we won't run out of hard working folks willing to "dutifully" take their place on the factory floor.