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When smart enough, isn't

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Mom used to tell us that smart people learned from their mistakes, but brilliant people learned from the mistakes of others. Here’s a mistake with a lesson if ever there were one. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts intends to double a key tax on employers in an effort to save health insurance for thousands of workers who’ve been laid off. Additionally, Massachusetts will be asking those unemployed citizens to shoulder more of the costs.

National economic woes aside, it should be clear to all that the state’s effort at health care reform – soon to be mirrored (at least in part) in the federal effort – have contributed to some of the most expensive medical care costs in the nation. Now the Bay State’s health care chickens are coming home to roost.

This is a chilling tale of the unintended consequences that inevitably occur when government sticks its collective nose under the free market tent. Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Suzanne Bump says that the state is “… aware that the ability of the business community to shoulder these burdens is finite.” Really?

Have they contemplated what will happen if the economic downturn causes the twin troubles of fewer corporations (from which to extract taxes) and the concomitant increase in unemployment that will follow?

If good judgment comes with experience, and experience comes from bad judgment, we’d be wise to view Massachusetts’ conundrum as bad judgment from which we can learn – brilliantly.


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