Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: October 24, 2011

Health Care: When talking about liberty and rights is radical and extreme

The other day, Michelle Bachman said:

“We will always have people in this country through hardship, through no fault of their own, who won’t be able to afford health care,” Bachmann said. “That’s just the way it is. But usually what we have are charitable organizations or hospitals who have enough left over so that they can pick up the cost for the indigent who can’t afford it.”

That initiated the usual reaction from the left:

Before the advent of Medicare and Medicaid, charities did provide health care to those in need. But to suggest that they can do the same today is to misunderstand the enormity of the health care crisis, as charities simply do not have the capacity to handle the demand. As the number of uninsured creeps up to 50 million, for any politician to argue that government should outsource the task of keeping Americans healthy to charities is like saying that people should be punished with death if they are unfortunate enough to be poor or are priced out of insurance due to a pre-existing health condition.

And that’s one of the more family friendly reactions.

But let’s look at it.   First question, why is it that “charities simply do not have the capacity to handle the demand?”  Any takers?

Is it because there are no established charitable programs in place anymore because government usurped the need for them with Medicare and Medicaid?   Perhaps not wholly, but it certainly is one of the reasons.   Charities, like any other organization, focus their giving where there is a need.   And where no one else, usually, is helping.   No need, no priority, no charity.

Secondly, you see the insidious conclusion that “the demand” that would strain the capacity of charities can only be met by … government, of course.  Naturally there’s no way to really test that conclusion because government has destroyed the market for charitable health care giving.

So, as usual, government has helped create the problem (lack of charitable institutions focused on providing health care for poor) and now, according to the left, the government is the answer to the problem it created.  It may not be something you traditionally consider a market (charitable giving in health care) but there’s no question that government intrusion into the health care market changed the dynamic completely.

And finally the unspoken premise: Health care is a human right.  Sorry, but health isn’t even a “human right”.  Obviously health care requires the labor of others.   It requires their time and the abilities they’ve developed over the years.  It is their property to dispose of as they will. But bottom line, health care requires the labor of others in order to fulfill this assumed right.  

Clue: To be a right, the right must not violate the rights of others.  It cannot take precedence or priority over someone’s right to decide how to use their property – i.e. their developed and marketable abilities.   Period.  That’s slavery.   Here we see another twisting of a word that denotes a condition of freedom and liberty into one that demands virtual slavery from others.

You may or may not agree with Michelle Bachman’s statement.  But, in reality it is the way a truly free country should work.  Instead we seem to opt for “government is always the answer” (even when it is the entity that created the problem) and coercion is just fine for fulfilling utopian dreams.

Hard to call that “free” isn’t it?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

America in decline?

That’s the consensus in an interesting poll just published:

More than two-thirds of voters say the United States is declining, and a clear majority think the next generation will be worse off than this one, according to the results of a new poll commissioned by The Hill.

A resounding 69 percent of respondents said the country is “in decline,” the survey found, while 57 percent predict today’s kids won’t live better lives than their parents. Additionally, 83 percent of voters indicated they’re either very or somewhat worried about the future of the nation, with 49 percent saying they’re “very worried.”

The results suggest that Americans don’t view the country’s current economic and political troubles as temporary, but instead see them continuing for many years.

My father used to tell me “you live between your ears” meaning attitude and outlook are yours to control and play a critical part in life.

Attitude and outlook are also critical in any sort of economic recovery.  If the attitude is pessimistic and the outlook deemed as dismal, it sometimes becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I remember back in the days of the Jimmy Carter presidency, the “malaise” that settled in on the country.  People felt everything was out of control.  Interest rates were through the roof, we were seen as a paper tiger in the world and whatever else Jimmy Carter might be, he wasn’t much of a leader.   Everyone then thought America was in decline then too.

But then Ronald Reagan came along, took charge, changed the attitude and outlook of Americans and, well, the rest is literally history.

One of the key jobs of a President of the United States is to address the country’s outlook and attitude.  It is a very important aspect of leadership.  It is also critical to recovery from economic problems, unemployment and other ills that are besetting our country.  It is about setting up the proper climate to make attitudes swing to the positive side and the outlook appear rosier.

One of the things I’ve said consistently since Barack Obama has taken office is he’s not (nor has he ever been) a leader.   That’s actually no surprise to me because I understand what leadership requires.   In a word, development.   The great leaders of today, with very few exceptions, worked their way up to their ultimate leadership job through a series of lesser leadership jobs. 

I use military examples because they’re familiar to me, but no division commander ever took that job that hadn’t first been a platoon leader, then company commander, battalion commander and brigade commander.

And even then, some division commanders are better than others.   But regardless, their leadership skills have been developed and honed by successive leadership positions of increased size and responsibility.  And the weak leaders have been cast aside in that process.

We’ve elected a man who hasn’t even had a platoon, if you get my drift.  And now we’re asking him to lead (well, in reality, we ask him to lead 3 years ago) in a very difficult time.

This poll indicates how well he’s doing.

In any school in the land, his grade in leadership would be “F”.

Is America in decline?  Under this president the answer is “yes”.  Does it have to remain in decline?  No.  But to change that, the first step is voting the present occupant of the White House out of office.  The good news is we all know what happened to Jimmy Carter.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Libya: Muslim law and secular dreams

If your hope for the latest version of “Arab Spring” to be found in Libya was a secular democratic state, you can quickly forget the secular part of the dream.

The leader of the transitional government declared to thousands of revelers in a sunlit square here on Sunday that Libya’s revolution had ended, setting the country on the path to elections, and he vowed that the new government would be based on Islamic tenets.

Indeed, what has immediately happened is the roll back of many of Gadhafi’s decrees that those who’ve now taken over contend violate Sharia law and Islam’s tenets:

Mr Abdul-Jalil went further, specifically lifting immediately, by decree, one law from Col. Gaddafi’s era that he said was in conflict with Sharia – that banning polygamy.

In a blow to those who hoped to see Libya’s economy integrate further into the western world, he announced that in future bank regulations would ban the charging of interest, in line with Sharia. "Interest creates disease and hatred among people," he said.

I’d love to tell you this comes as a complete surprise, but then I’d be acting like some politicians I know. 

I’m certainly not going to contend that keeping Gadhafi was the best thing we could do, but let’s be clear, what has happened darn sure doesn’t seem to be an outcome that we’d have hoped to see either.  At least as it now seems to be shaking out.

In that area of the world, secular dreams seem to me to be the most foolish.  How that particular dream manages to stay alive among the elite of the West is beyond me.  It isn’t now nor has it ever been a probable outcome of any of these so-called “Arab Spring” revolutions.  The revolutions are steeped in Islam because the governments being replaced were relatively secular for the area and the Islamic groups now rising were the ones being repressed.

How someone could believe that out of that situation, secular democracy would emerge still remains beyond me.  No democratic history, no real established democratic institutions and no real democratic experience by the people there.  Yet somehow we’ve determined that this bunch is superior to the last bunch.

Based on what I’ve always wondered?

Yet, we continue to hear the hope proclaimed in each upheaval even as reality seems to dismiss the hope at every turn.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO