Editor, The New York Times
To the Editor:
Paul Krugman believes that only irrational right-wing ideologues - along with paid agents of a mysterious cabal of sinister billionaires - could possibly worry that Obamacare threatens ordinary Americans' freedoms, finances, and health ("Republican Death Trip ," Aug. 14).
But while many Obamacare opponents might misstate some details of the proposed 'reform,' it's quite appropriate to worry about unintended ill consequences - especially when reform as massive as Obamacare is in the works.
Examples are legion. Here's one: opponents of the federal income-tax openly worried a century ago that such a tax would unleash an intrusive bureaucracy. As Richard Byrd - then-speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates - expressed it, "A hand from Washington will be stretched out and placed upon every man’s business ; the eye of the Federal inspector will be in every man’s counting house … The law will of necessity have inquisitorial features, it will provide penalties, it will create complicated machinery. Under it men will be hailed into courts distant from their homes. Heavy fines imposed by distant and unfamiliar tribunals will constantly menace the tax payer."
Dismissed at the time as being mere scare tactics by tax opponents, these expressed concerns proved to be legitimate.
Donald J. Boudreaux