What We’ve Learned in the Last 46 Years

In early November 1963, the United States was the preeminent power in the world. VietNam was a tiny country in southeast Asia that no one had heard of. Foreign cars were VW Beetles and a meaninglessly few MGs, Triumphs, and Mercedes. John Kennedy was President, and had not yet taken a trip to Dallas.

The new model year had been unveiled, and Oldsmobile was your father’s car, if he could afford one. If not, Ford and Chevy were competing with Falcons and Nova IIs.

I don’t remember all this, or what I am about to tell you, because I was 6. The problem is, no one else remembers it either. I only know these things because I bought a stack of old magazines in a junk shop, and flipping through them, I found a number of things worth remembering.

The article was titled, “Why the Welfare State doesn’t Work”. Written by a man named Irving Kristol, it outlines the flaws of a number of government programs and the real outcomes. Near the end of the article, he discusses the issue of setting up a state run medical payment system.

The mute appeal of a state-run monopoly is the illusion that, over a period of time and in some undefined way, people may get more than they put in, either because the federal government will magically “close the gap” or because someone else (the rich or employers or whoever) will be called upon to make up the difference.

That’s really it, isn’t it? Those who favor a single payer system do so because they believe they will benefit, that the rich will pay, and the average guy will get a boost. Once again, we take the wayback machine.

This idea is appealing, but baseless. It is as appealing, and as baseless, as the belief that the steeply progressive income tax significantly reduces the tax burden of the average citizen. In a society and economy such as ours, government expenditure is infinitely greater than the ability of the rich to pay for it. It is the average citizen, the great majority, who will have to subsidize the medical care for the truly poor – under whatever program.

Remember these words, when Pr. Obama takes over ABC to promise to solve all the costs and problems of the health care system on June 24th, 2009. The costs of health care are real and they will be paid. Saving will be found, by limiting care, rationing treatment like they do in Britain and Canada. That will start almost immediately, as soon as it is the federal government paying out. Then, the pay czar will decide how much doctors, nurses, surgeons, etc. can be paid. Small hospitals will be “consolidated” into larger regional centers as a cost saving measure. The free market engine will be killed first, and the entire system will wither. New treatments, medicines, research? What will be the incentive? Private insurance will disappear over time, and only the federal system will remain. It is as predictable today as it was in 1963.

At the end of a century that has seen the evils of communism, Nazism and other modern tyrannies, the impulse to centralize power remains amazingly persistent.
–Joseph Sobran

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3 thoughts on “What We’ve Learned in the Last 46 Years

  1. We've managed to give people Free Cheese, and then given them the right to vote on MORE Free Cheese. Then, further, we've INSISTED that people vote for MORE Free Cheese.

    BZ

  2. BTW, you have a great blog, and I very much enjoy the points made in your posts. Are you considering becomeing more active in the future or is that just not in the cards?

    BZ

  3. BZ,

    I've been out of town, camping in the western part of the state. I expect to blog about it tomorrow.

    My best effort will probably be a post a day, and I know that won't happen every day. It is what it is, and I guess if a few hundred people were reading me every day, I'd be trying harder. I do feel like I'm hollering down a well most of the time. thanks for the kind words.

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