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Even the many sires of Obamacare now deny their past parentage. Unions want out of it. Congress demands exclusion from it. Well-connected businesses won exemption from it.

The poor who mostly do not pay federal income taxes will get a largely free, bureaucratized federal health care system. Many of the rich praise Obamacare but will quietly use their own money to avoid it. The middle class will see their premiums soar and the quality of their coverage erode.

These are surreal times. Wealthy elites who help to shut down jobs in energy, timber and mining are deemed liberal — but not always so the middle classes, who suffer the consequences in lost jobs and higher prices.

Universities voice progressive bromides, but they care mostly for the tenured and the technocrat, not the part-timer and the indebted student. Despite soaring tuition, campus is now the haunt of the very wealthy who can afford exorbitant tuition and the very poor who are often exempted from it. The less romantic middle class goes $1 trillion into debt for their high-interest student loans.

Never has it been so good to be invested in a vastly expanding federal government — either to distribute or receive federal subsidies. Never has it been so lucrative to work in banking or on Wall Street. And never has it been so bad to try to find a decent job making something real.

To paraphrase the Roman historian Tacitus, where we have made a desert of the middle class, we call it a recovery.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.