Column: Obamacare’s problem: Increasing tax rates on lower, middle classes

Government programs designed to help the poor are usually means-tested. This implies that recipients only get the benefits if their income earnings are sufficiently low.

Most see this as a good thing because it ensures that people who do not need the benefits don’t get them. For it seems a bit daft to tax middle-class and wealthy citizens to provide benefits to middle-class and wealthy citizens; programs for poor folks should benefit poor folks.

Applying a means test to benefits, however, opens up a can of worms: It is a huge incentive problem for the very people we are trying to help.

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