O'Reilly: Obamacare may shatter confidence in government

A woman looks at the HealthCare.gov insurance exchange

A woman looks at the HealthCare.gov insurance exchange internet site in Washington, DC. (Oct. 1, 2013) (Credit: Getty Images)

William F. B. O'Reilly

Portrait of Newsday/amNY columnist Bill O'Reilly (March 28, William F. B. O'Reilly

O’Reilly is a Republican consultant who is working on the

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I hear Obamacare's so glitchy that even the Syrian Electronic Army can't sign up.

Chinese hackers got so frustrated they tuned back into PandaCam.

Those are my submissions to "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" But they probably don't need them. Obamacare jokes are a dime a dozen these days.

The unqualified Obamacare disaster isn't a laughing matter entirely though -- not at all when you come right down to it. The Affordable Healthcare Act aims to reorganize about a sixth of the American economy, and the 800 number doesn't even work. The web portal -- the chief access point -- is impenetrable. Millions of lines of coding are reportedly flawed and it will take months to rewrite them.

A generation ago, in New York City, Wollman Rink became a stark public symbol of government dysfunction. No matter how hard city government tried -- no matter how much money it threw at the thing -- it just couldn't seem to get that Central Park skating facility built. It was delay after delay; excuse after excuse. Enter brash Donald Trump and his private-sector attitude. The rink got built in about six weeks. That small story said it all to an American public tired of $8,000 government screwdrivers and staggering tax loads.

Obamacare is quickly becoming the Wollman Rink of today -- on a grandiose scale, perhaps the biggest scale in American history. It's a reminder to those who remember the 1970s, and a lesson to those who don't yet; that government is inherently incompetent. Where there are committees and a lack of profit motive, there is profound inefficiency.

Straight-faced statists are pointing to Social Security and Medicare as large, successful national programs. Look at them, they say. Obamacare just needs to iron out its "glitches." This as almost two-thirds of what we spend on Medicare and Social Security is being borrowed from the Chinese or from our children through the miracle of "quantitative easing." (Whoever came up with that deserves the Nobel Prize for Sophistry.)

The fact of the matter is that Social Security and Medicare are hopelessly broken. Sure, the checks are showing up in the mail for the Baby Boomers, but God help the younger generations.

I wrote a few weeks ago about a study recently done by the left-wing think-tank Third Way on the millennial generation, those Americans now coming of age.

It found that 51 percent of millennials believe that government is wasteful and inefficient in whatever it does -- a 20-point increase from how the Gen Y-ers felt when asked the question in 2003. Eighty-six percent of millennials say they support private Social Security accounts and want Medicare recipients to purchase private insurance.

With what the millennials are facing, can you blame them?

Obamacare is our president's signature, big-government achievement. It's long-term efficacy, though, may be in educating another generation of Americans of the fallibilities of centralized government and the core conservative tenet of self-reliance.

William F. B. O'Reilly is a Newsday columnist and a Republican political consultant.