EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

October 6, 2013

Column: Government encourages 'Peter Pan Syndrome'

I’m waiting for the American Psychological Association to declare that Peter Pan Syndrome is not only nothing to be ashamed of, but something to celebrate.

Why should those in what used to be called the young adult years bother to grow up, when our benevolent government is encouraging them to remain dependent well into their 20s?

In this, the first week of our glorious new non-workers’ paradise of Obamacare, there are dozens -- probably hundreds -- of ways that the new regime will make health care less effective, more expensive, less efficient, more dysfunctional, more confusing and more byzantine.

But I’m particularly amused and depressed at the provision that says young adults can stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until they turn 26 -- and declarations from the president that we’re all supposed to think this is a good thing.

That’s right. The fact that millions of people who by every other legal definition have been full-fledged adults for several years still need to remain dependent on their parents for health insurance is not seen as a problem. It’s just one more really cool thing about Obamacare.

It also is designed to help the president duck the inconvenient reasons why this provision is necessary. Among them are that too many young adults are unemployed and too many are carrying crushing debt from borrowing for college degrees that have not provided them with marketable skills. They have also been told that they should only take a job commensurate with their advanced training, and not settle for anything entry level.

Rather than address that, government instead says, in effect, “Hey, don’t worry. We’ll take the pressure off by letting your parents keep paying your bills.”

None of this should surprise anyone. It is typical for government to create problems through overregulation and taxation, and then announce a solution that involves more regulation and taxation.

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