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Daily Affirmations 5/26

1. MIT economist Jonathan Gruber tries to quantify how many more Americans would start their own business if they didn't have to worry about losing health insurance to do so:

[T]he most convincing research, by Alison Wellington, mirrors the findings of other job mobility studies: Americans who have an alternative source of health insurance, such as a spouse’s coverage, are much more likely to be self-employed than those who don’t. Wellington estimates that universal health care would therefore likely increase the share of workers who are self-employed (currently about 10 percent of the workforce) by another 2 percent or more. A system that provides universal access to health insurance coverage, then, is far more likely to promote entrepreneurship than one in which would-be innovators remain tied to corporate cubicles for fear of losing their family’s access to affordable health care.

Good point, Jonathan Gruber and Allison Wellington!

2. Ramesh Ponnuru politiely smacks down some cant from the Wall Street Journal editorial page and fellow Corner-ite Veronique de Rugy:

Earlier today, Veronique de Rugy commented on the tax-policy debate that has broken out between the Republican candidates for governor of New Jersey. Chris Christie says that Steve Lonegan's flat tax would raise taxes for 70 percent of New Jersey's "working families." Lonegan says it would raise them for "only" 40 percent, and not by much.

The Wall Street Journal, as she notes, is taking Lonegan's side of the argument. "Republicans can't credibly be the candidates of growth if they echo liberal class-envy rhetoric to attack tax reform." So now it's "liberal class-envy rhetoric" to note accurately that a tax plan raises taxes on large numbers of non-rich people? When conservatives have attacked cigarette-tax increases, we have pointed out that they disproportionately fall on poor people. I didn't think we were all being libs back then. I still don't.

I also think that if conservatives want to be in a deeper political hole than we are now, becoming the party of tax increases for poor people is a good way to do it. (Here's a quote from a news article featured on Lonegan's site: "When asked by a reporter whether his plan would mean a tax increase for the working poor, Lonegan replied that that was the whole point.")

Good point, Ramesh Ponnuru!

--Jonathan Chait