Monday, April 26, 2010

Socialist Shangri-La Is Right Around The Corner

From National Review Online on the recently-passed health care bill:

The administration’s own actuary reported on Thursday that millions of people could lose their health insurance, that health-care costs will rise faster than they would have if the law hadn’t passed, and that the overhaul will mean that people will have a harder and harder time finding physicians to see them.

The White House is trying to spin the new report from Medicare’s chief actuary Richard Foster as only half bad because it concludes that, while costs will increase, only 23 million people will remain uninsured (instead of 24 million previously estimated).

But looking at the details of Foster’s report shows the many, many danger signs for Obamacare and how many of its promises will be broken....

It was never about saving money, and anyone who thought it was, or even claimed it was, is a fool. It was never about providing health insurance to those without. It was only about expanding the power of government at any cost, and by any means necessary.


KauaiMark said...

"...It was only about expanding the power of government"


mazenko said...

These "agenda conspiracy" posts are where you fall off that apple cart. Liberals and some Democrats do feel that the government can and should provide some services for the people when the market fails to do so. They do believe in more government roles than you, and they tend to focus on the people being left behind by the market despite their efforts or intentions.

However, the idea of a conspiracy movement to simply increase government programs to amass power and control of the market and society is simply far-fetched and wrong.

Liberals, in this case, believe the government will be a better choice for health insurance for my parents (in their seventies) simply because the market had shown a disinterest in insuring them - a situation that led to incredibly high poverty for seniors up until then - and high poverty among such populations is not good for the overall "health" of the nation. There is plenty of evidence that they are right in this case.

But the cries of "tyranny" and the belief in an agenda to increase government power for the sake of power is about as realistic as an Ayn Rand novel.

Darren said...

Seniors are the *wealthiest* demographic in our country, your parents notwithstanding. And the market would gladly insure them--for a price.

If the market doesn't do what we want, then the taxpayer must? Do you really want to go there?

Darren said...

And I notice that you didn't address any of the points in the report--millions could lose their insurance, costs will rise faster than if the law hadn't passed, etc.

mazenko said...

I appreciate your concerns - I just don't see the "crafty Dr. Evil" plotting to "control" people through tyranny. It's not about "power grabs" and control through some authoritarian state. It's about people believe the government can be a force for positive change. It's your focus on "power" and "control" that is off and sounds like a James Bond flick. I agree with the economic concerns it was your last sentence that I challenged.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Haven't we been down this road before? Since you can't very well refute the obvious attraction by lefties to an expanding role for government you have to reframe the issue as ludicrous claims on the part of conservatives of a dark conspiracy to expand government on the part of lefties.

Of course the attraction's there even if the exact cause isn't identified since there seems hardly a function of society with which lefties wouldn't happily burden government thus expanding government. But reframing the debate to one more to your liking also serves the secondary purpose of avoiding the subject.

By the way, markets can't fail. You can certainly display displeasure with the decision a market might render but that's hardly evidence of failure on the part of the market. But I suppose when you're looking for rationalizations to obscure what's really nothing more then a long-term temper tantrum you can't be too particular about the rationalizations you select.

Ellen K said...

Absolutely true. This is something I have been posting for almost a year now. This healthcare bill has mechanisms included that will allow government to be far more invasive in the name of "health" than anyone imagined. For example-should anyone else tell you what tastes you like? Of course not. But the Obama administration under the guise of health plans to attack food companies for their inclusion of salt and sugar. While we could all probably use less of these in our diets, is it the government's job to decide what we eat? What if I like potato chips? Will my doctor have to sign off on my ability to buy them? This may sounds ludicrous, but this is the type of nanny state mentality that Obama and his minions envision. They assume we are just too stupid to monitor our own needs and that Big Daddy Government is necessary to keep us from drooling and stumbling over our own feet. This must stop. It will destroy our economy. Remember in November.

mazenko said...

Ouch - a little grumpy today, Allen. Anything I can help you with?

mazenko said...

Ellen, the argument on "health" - like the one on motorcycle helmets and seatbelts - has been well articulated by Bill O'Reilly. If we have a country where hospitals can't refuse emergency service - and like it or not we do have that county - then the people (taxpayers) ultimately paying for that emergency care - or elderly health care - have an interest in your decisions.

If you would opt out of drawing any Medicare or any of the private health insurance companies that will also insure me, then I would wish you all the best of luck with your crappy diet, your type-2 diabetes, and your heart attack that you could have in the privacy of your own home.

But since that's not the case - and my privately purchased health care premiums go up even when I make no claims - I'm suddenly interested in your (or others) inability to take care of yourself. Hence, the Nanny State.

But, you don't have to ever draw Medicare or health insurance or go to the doctor. And you're free to pay cash for it all.

maxutils said...

Markets can and do fail . . .they fail when the equilibrium amount reached without societal intervention is not optimal. This happens when there are external costs (the polluter is not forced to pay the true cost of his pollution) or benefits (police protection would make everyone safer, regardless of whether they had paid for it), imperfect competition (a monopolist produces at lower output and price > marginal cost), and, as in the case of insurance, asymmetric information. this is all basic economics, and in each case, government intervention, properly applied, will ensure that the societally optimal amount of the good is produced while allowing the firms to make a normal rate of return. It's more than just not liking the result.

mazenko said...

Very well stated points, Max, which are, or at least used to be, the foundation of conservatism. From the times of Burke, men have understand the world to be far too complex for individuals to "manage" it, but they also know it does not benefit from sudden chaotic disruption or the whims of popular opinion.

Thus, true conservative have long seen government as the moderating force that maintains established traditions and institutions that ensure an ordered society. Conservatives do not have contempt for government, and they do not lack faith in government.

"Libertarian populists," on the other hand, ignore the effect of institutions implemented to moderate the disruptive forces of society. And, in contemporary America, they have rested so comfortably for so long in that ordered society that they have become blissfully unaware of the ubiquitous nature of the benefits of government.

Like the patient whose condition is so effectively controlled by medication that he thinks he's fine without the pills, libertarian populists think society will clip along positively correcting itself due to the "fact" that markets can't be wrong, so they should be unregulated.

Sadly, none of these suburban ideologues ever move to Kenya or Somalia to experience their "limited government" utopia.