Entitlement-state steam engine

Dan Henninger thinks the GOP campaign at this point is comprised of too many freelancers with as much attachment to the institutional party as Carmelo Anthony has to the Knicks.

From Republican Roulette:

While Republicans stage the Irish family reunion that never ends, Democrats stay united around policies dating to 1964. Tax, spend and pander. You keep looking for anything resembling an interesting revision of their entitlement-state steam engine, but it never comes.

Ah, but it did come, just last month. A crack opened in the Democratic status quo big enough to drive the whole GOP through. On Feb. 4 a Congressional Budget Office report said that by 2024, ObamaCare would eliminate or reduce full-time jobs for some 2.5 million Americans, more than the 800,000 estimated in 2010.

This was like Toto pulling the curtain away from the great Oz. Oh dear, Democratic entitlements are supposed to help people, not hurt them…

Under the law, if a person’s income from work rises (a better job, a raise), their ObamaCare insurance subsidy gets smaller. The rational way to capture the biggest health-insurance subsidy is to stay poor, underemployed or even jobless. The same perverse entitlement incentive to stay poor is elaborated in Paul Ryan’s recent report, “The War on Poverty 50 Years Later.”…

Republicans obviously are not allergic to policy seriousness, notably in the states. The core of Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp’s tax reform—simplification and rate reduction—should be a common endpoint. But because the party hardly ever displays a critical mass around an idea that could become law, voters (and donors) never quite figure out what “GOP” stands for.

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