Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Healthcare Bill: Socialism?

Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, when asked this week if Obama's healthcare proposal is socialism, responded, "Yes. Next question." A brouhaha in the press ensued as if the President had somehow been disparaged by the Republicans.

The term, with good reason, has achieved the status of an epithet because, it is widely acknowledged, socialism punishes individual productivity and achievement and rewards incompetence and sloth, killing the goose that laid the golden egg (i.e., a rising standard of living for everyone). Even the former head of the KGB, Vladimir Putin, warns that socialism doesn't work:
Excessive intervention in economic activity and blind faith in the state's omnipotence is another possible mistake.

True, the state's increased role in times of crisis is a natural reaction to market setbacks. Instead of streamlining market mechanisms, some are tempted to expand state economic intervention to the greatest possible extent.

The concentration of surplus assets in the hands of the state is a negative aspect of anti-crisis measures in virtually every nation.

In the 20th century, the Soviet Union made the state's role absolute. In the long run, this made the Soviet economy totally uncompetitive. This lesson cost us dearly. I am sure nobody wants to see it repeated.

Nor should we turn a blind eye to the fact that the spirit of free enterprise, including the principle of personal responsibility of businesspeople, investors and shareholders for their decisions, is being eroded in the last few months. There is no reason to believe that we can achieve better results by shifting responsibility onto the state.
Do not be intimidated by those who want the Government (i.e., you) to pay for health care for the poor. Implicit in their justification -- and you are well aware of it -- is their presumed moral superiority for pursuing the notion that you should be your brother's keeper. But moral arguments used to justify socialism are simply wrong. Morality is about free will. There is no superior morality in being forced to be your brother's keeper. Please revisit What's So Bad about Socialism? Challenge the unstated assumptions of your friends who support socialist programs. Don't cede the high ground to them.

The main objection to making our health care system more socialist (than it is already is) is not that it will launch yet another permanent entitlements program which, together with Social Security and Medicare, is unafordable and will burden future generations. And it is not that the government rationing of health care will result. And it is not that your doctor will retire (shrug) in the face of new burdensome regulations and lower income. And it is not that you will lose the ability to pay for better health insurance or lose your present coverage. The main objection is moral. It takes money from those who earned it and gives it to those who didn't. Expropriation (thievery) and coercion are the hallmarks of socialism.

If you subscribe to the ideals of the Founders and the original concept of the U.S. Constitution -- individual rights and limited government -- the initiatives of the Democrat Congress and the Obama administration must alarm you.

For many decades our elected officials have drawn the population increasingly away from personal responsibility and toward dependence on government, making parasitism an institution. But the current moves to accelerate the trend are way over the top. If you don't object, loudly and publicly, you will contribute to the unraveling of the American Revolution.

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