Santorum: Anti-Poverty Programs Undermine US Work Ethic

Image: Santorum: Anti-Poverty Programs Undermine US Work Ethic

Wednesday, 05 Feb 2014 08:46 PM

By Greg Richter

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Former Sen. Rick Santorum says there's no surprise in this week's Congressional Budget Office report that Obamacare subsidies are likely to lead more full-time wage earners to pursue part-time work.

It's the same disincentive that most other anti-poverty programs, from food stamps to Medicaid to welfare, create, he told Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" on Wednesday. The more you work, the fewer benefits you receive.

Obamacare brings that disincentive not just to the poor, but to those with well paying jobs, the Pennsylvania Republican said.

Democrats and a New York Times editorial touted the report as good news for those stuck in jobs they don't like simply because they would lose their health insurance if they quit.

"The new law will free people, young and old, to pursue careers or retirement without having to worry about health coverage," The Times editorial said. "It is hard to view this as any kind of disaster."

But that's exactly how Santorum views it.

"We are criticized around the world, by those in eastern Europe, for working too much and focusing too much on work," he told Fox News.

But hard work is what's good about the United States, he said. It is the reason for our high standard of living, and it enables people to rise from poverty into the middle class.

"Work is a good thing," Santorum said.

Tom Stemberg, founder and CEO of Staples office supply stores, told Van Susteren that the odds are against people leaving full-time jobs for part-time and being successful.

"It's just not the American way," Stemberg said.

Sen. Marco Rubio appeared on the same program, arguing that the "risk corridor" portion of Obamacare should be taken out of the law because it unfairly allows bailouts of insurance companies who have miscalculated their incomes under the Affordable Care Act.

Under normal circumstances, he said, only a few instances of miscalculations would occur, but under the failing ACA, virtually every insurance company will get a bailout. That's because young, healthy people aren't signing up in significant numbers and insurance companies are left with pools of older, sicker policyholders.

Insurance companies were at the table when the law was written, and were able to talk lawmakers into the "risk corridor" concept in exchange for supporting the law, he said, with taxpayers footing the bill.

"That's not right. That isn't fair," Rubio said.

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