Big-Government Tipping Point

Hot Air linked to an opinion piece in the WSJ by two prominent Republicans titled Beware of the Big-Government Tipping Point, the subject being socialized medicine.  The subtitle makes the author’s point more directly: Socialized health care fundamentally changes the relationship between citizens and state.  The authors first argue quite plausibly that the Obama plan will result in a complete government takeover of the entire health care industry:

For all his talk of allowing consumers to select their own health-care coverage, Mr. Obama’s proposal, as he laid it out in his campaign, will provide strong financial incentives for employers and individuals to sign up with a new, Medicare-style government plan for working-age people and their families. This plan will almost certainly use a price-control system similar to the one in place for Medicare, allowing it to charge artificially low premiums by paying fees well below private rates. These low premiums will serve as a magnet for enrollment and will devastate the private companies trying to compete in the health-insurance market. The result will be the nationalization of the health-care sector, which today accounts for 16% of U.S. gross domestic product.

Additionally, the authors stress the loss of innovation and investment that will flow from the government takeover they envision.  Then they hit the real point: government dependency.

It will also put America on a glide path toward European-style socialism. We need only look to Great Britain and elsewhere to see the effects of socialized health care on the broader economy. Once a large number of citizens get their health care from the state, it dramatically alters their attachment to government. Every time a tax cut is proposed, the guardians of the new medical-welfare state will argue that tax cuts would come at the expense of health care — an argument that would resonate with middle-class families entirely dependent on the government for access to doctors and hospitals.

In short, we may be approaching a tipping point for democratic capitalism.

We are overdue according to Alexander Tytler’s prediction, right?

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.  — Alexander Tytler

On a related note I found a bumper sticker online a while back that I need to go ahead and get.  It simply says:

Why should I pay for your health care?

I think that is a good question.  I would argue, and have many times, that there are two classes of rights.  In the first class, which I call Genuine Rights, the only thing that people have to do is stay out of your way and let you exercise that right.  Free speech comes to mind, as does freedom of religion.  The second class of “rights”, which I call Welfare Rights and do not believe to be rights at all, require that someone else do something for you, most often pay for it.  Those within that second class of rights are not really rights, and health care falls into that category.  You have a right to go get your own health care but you have no right whatsoever to expect anyone else to pay for it.

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