Well, yipee. Obama supports revoking the infamous 1099 requirement of ObamaCare. I think the question we should ask now is: What the hell were they thinking when they inserted it in the bill in the first place?
The requirement imposed such a huge burden on both businesses and the IRS that many wondered if either the private or public sector even had the information technology to process all the paperwork. Why wasn’t the incredible overhead imposed by the requirement immediately obvious to those who created it? Why didn’t the originators stop and ask, “Hey, is requiring every business to file a form for every purchase or sale over $600 even feasible?” Even if they didn’t care about the overhead and economic consequences, the political consequences should have given them pause.
I think they simply didn’t understand the consequences because they were too naive about the realities of business, government administration and large-scale information management. I’m not saying the originators are stupid, no doubt they’re all Ivy League overachievers, but I’m willing to bet that none of them has any real-world experience outside of academics, activism or politics. They can’t start with an abstract idea like the 1099 requirement and intuitively extrapolate to the real-world consequences.
Centralized government micro-management is breaking down as the world grows more complex. Complexity requires increasing specialization even by the most intelligent. There is no such thing as truly liberal education which gives the student a useful familiarity with all areas of knowledge and endeavor. We are all forced to learn more and more about less and less of total knowledge.
Even worse, this specialization begins even earlier in life. Now we have magnet schools that funnel children into the arts, sciences or business in their mid-teens. Even without such formal specialization, children begin grouping into subcultures based around knowledge specialization. People today understand far less about the entirety of our civilization’s knowledge base than did people a century ago.
No one today has the education or experience necessary to really understand the critical details about how others work. Outside our narrow specialties, we are all functionally naive, making decisions based on cartoonishly simplistic models of very complex systems. If we try to impose our naive notions onto others by the force of the state, we will inevitably get things seriously wrong.
This is what happened with the 1099 fiasco. Naive planners didn’t understand what it would really take to implement their idea or what the economic consequences would be.
Increasingly we face misrule by the possibly well meaning but globally ignorant. We face misrule at the hands of people so specialized that they can’t even understand the boundaries of their own ignorance.
We face a tyranny of the naive.