It was amusing to see the the dumbshow in Washington on July 20, when Barack Obama, in condemning Republican opposition to his health care reform proposals, vowed to “fight the politics of the moment.” One was perhaps left wondering what made this political moment so different from any others in history. The lives, liberties, and property of the population at large were, as always, under assault by government. Obama’s plan would, among other onerous things, create a governmental health insurance program modelled after Medicaid that would compete against private health firms, raise income tax rates on individuals and families making over $350,000 annually, and worst of all, make carrying a health insurance policy mandatory for all but the poorest Americans. The alternative would be to pay roughly 2.5% higher income taxes, on average, in the form of fines for non-compliance. I partially recant my earlier statement. None of this seems to be very amusing at all.
What was were the responses Republicans had to Obama’s grandstanding. GOP chairman Michael Steele flat-out called Obama’s plan “socialism.” Let us assume for this discussion that “socialism” can be defined as state policy deviating from the ideal of a free market. Then while Steele’s statement is true, it is also a classic exclusionary case of selective perception. For I ask: What does government do that is not socialism? How, by its very intrinsic nature can government operate or long survive without steeping itself in socialism?
Observe that everything government does, it finances via taxation. That is to say, money taken from the public at large by the threat of physical force – or by actual use of that very force itself. It does not politely ask. It does not attempt to bring the best goods and services it can into the marketplace at the lowest possible price so as to accrue to itself hordes of satisfied, paying customers who patronize it at will instead of going to its competitors, or instead of simply buying nothing at all. No, governments do not conduct themselves on such an advanced, productive, and civil basis. They instead steal. They intimidate. They threaten. They kidnap and imprison. They kill.
Whether the topic at hand is health care, military defense (more often offense against innocents, these days), police, postal service, courts, roads and bridges – you name it – government represents a series of socialist monopolies wherein there is no consumer choice. You and I must accept the “service” government gives us, and we must pay for it at the barrel of many guns – or else. Even if we move to another locale or jurisdiction (i.e., a geographical region over which one, or several governments simultaneously, arrogate dominion over the lives, liberty, and property of those who live or work there), we’re still left with no real choices – though the faces and names may have changed, the essence of the con-game has not.
If Republicans really wanted to abandon socialism, they would resign their posts and seek the abolition of all government in favor of laissez-faire free markets and individual choice. Likewise, if Obama and the Democrats really wanted to increase choice and lower the costs of health care for all Americans, they would not be contemplating creating yet another government-funded Ponzi scheme like Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare. Further, they would be working feverishly to repeal forthwith all of the taxes, bureaucracy, red tape, licensing, and other government-imposed measures that hamper everyone involved in health care – from physicians, to hospitals, to insurance firms, to the pharmaceutical industry.
Just as in all other areas of endeavor, when it comes to health care, government does and can “help” precisely no one. Except the politicians and their insider cronies, wallowing in all the special interest soft money, perks, and kickbacks courtesy of the public trough. Democrat, Republican, or whomever, when it comes to government, socialism is a bipartisan disease. And like any disease, anytime is time to stomp it out for good.