In the comments section of yesterday’s post about Generation Opportunity’s campaign to get young people to “opt out” of Obamacare by not buying health insurance, Myeh posted a link to this Craigslist ad for a “patriotic but weird Uncle Sam.” The ad seeks a male with “street theatre experience” to wear the Sam costume for a “conference of young activists” in Chantilly, VA. Sure enough, Generation Opportunity is based in Virginia, and they’re launching a tour of 20 college campuses later this month. Their message? The individual mandate doesn’t mean that you, individually, have to get health insurance. You’re better off getting nothing and paying the fine.
The commercial above was produced by Generation Opportunity, a Koch brothers-funded political activism group that encourages young people to “opt out” of Obamacare by not buying health insurance. First of all, it’s good to see the leprechaun from Leprechaun working again. Second, the “opt out” campaign is designed to sabotage the Affordable Care Act by disrupting state insurance exchanges. For insurers to offer lower premiums, they need to enroll large numbers of relatively healthy young people, who dilute the risk pool for everyone else. If large numbers of young Americans refuse to buy health insurance, the exchanges will falter, [ill-defined step two] and, finally, Obamacare will disappear. Unintended consequences after the jump.
The increasingly hungry uroboros that is the World(-)Wide Web has been aglow with anger this week over Facebook’s new policy of sharing user information with third-party websites. The social networking site has propagated its “Like” button to a number of partners, including the Washington Post, whose users immediately took exception to their friends seeing a list of articles they’ve shared with their friends. Facebook has also made all the bands, movies, hometowns and whatnot on its users “About Me” pages into active links that point to other pages—a move which, as of this writing, has led to the creation of fanpages for the movie, TV show, book and activity “fuck you.” If you clicked on that link, you probably saw not only the groups but also a list of your friends’ status updates containing that phrase—the top of my list was a picture of my friend Aaron saying, “Fuck you, Broncos,” which was enormously satisfying—followed by, disturbingly, a scrolling list of people you don’t know who’ve used “fuck you” in their various posts.* Herein lies the problem. If I can see everybody who wrote “These Banana Republic chinos totally kick/accentuate my ass!” on Facebook today, then so can Banana Republic. The idea that Facebook has compiled my likes and interests and favorite bands for ready sale to whatever weird marketing ghosts are constantly trying to drag me into their fashion spirit world seems like a betrayal. That’s my life, Facebook! Except, of course, that’s what Facebook has been doing all along. Their entire dang raison d’etre has always been to aggregate marketing data and serve online ads. The new linking and information-sharing policies are objectionable for only two reasons: first, they put it out in the open, and second, it forces us to confront the reason why we all signed up for Facebook in the first place.