In my last post, I wrote about the absurdity of economic process in the realm of the Hobby Lobby religious liberty arguments. To drive the point home at how arbitrary this procedural silliness is, I have a hypothetical April Fools joke one could play on Hobby Lobby.
Hobby Lobby opposes “paying” for IUDs. Medicaid, government health insurance for the poor, currently pays for IUDs. Hobby Lobby pays corporate taxes to the government.
Right now, Hobby Lobby’s corporate taxes go to the treasury, some of which is paid out to Medicaid, some of which is paid out to IUD sellers. So the process is: Hobby Lobby –> Treasury –> Medicaid –> IUD.
But suppose we changed it so that all of the corporate tax money that comes from Hobby Lobby went directly to pay for IUDs. It didn’t go into a big Treasury pot that then went out to Medicaid. We rigged up the way the accounts work so that the Hobby Lobby money ran a straight line to pay for the IUDs. You could imagine that IUD sellers post their bills and those bills float in a system that Hobby Lobby’s corporate taxes are directly channeled into, such that when Hobby Lobby makes its tax payments, they just go to however many IUD bills they can satisfy. So the new process is: Hobby Lobby –> IUD.
Is there something objectionable to this? Why? Suppose that actually, secretly, this has been what has been going on all along. Suppose that Hobby Lobby corporate taxes were always connected in a straight line to Medicaid IUD payments, but nobody knew about it. Would that have infringed upon Hobby Lobby’s religious liberty?
If so, what would the fix be? I guess it would be to eliminate this one-off direct line we have set up for Hobby Lobby and go back to the Hobby Lobby –> Treasury –> Medicaid –> IUD line. This would change literally nothing beyond the administrative tedium though. Hobby Lobby would be doing exactly the same thing as before. All outcomes would be identical as before. But by rearranging account ordering, religious liberty is preserved.
Or so I am told.