[This article originally appeared in The Daily Reckoning on September 25, 2013]
As the health care debate rages on, there is one reality that even the proponents of this hostile takeover of health care by government cannot ignore — and that is money. The government simply does not have the money for a new, expansive, public health care plan.
The country is in a deep recession. The last thing we need is for government to increase and expand taxes to pay for another damaging, wasteful program.
There are limits to how much government can tax before it kills the host.
Foreigners are becoming less enthusiastic about buying our debt, and creating another open-ended welfare program when we cannot pay for what is already in place will not help. Champions of socialized medicine want to tax the rich, tax businesses that already cannot afford to provide health plans to employees and tax people who don’t want to participate in the government’s scheme by buying an approved health care plan. Presumably, all these taxes are to induce compliance. This is not freedom, nor will it improve health care.
There are limits to how much government can tax before it kills the host. Even worse, when government attempts to subsidize prices, it has the net effect of inflating them instead. The economic reality is that you cannot distort natural market pressures without unintended consequences. Market forces would drive prices down. Government meddling negates these pressures, adds regulatory compliance costs and layers of bureaucracy and, in the end, drives prices up.
The nonpartisan CBO estimates that the health care plan will cost almost a trillion dollars over the next 10 years. But government crystal balls always massively underestimate costs. It is not hard to imagine the final cost being two or three times the estimates, even though the estimates are bad enough.
It is still surreal that in a free country, we are talking only about how government should fix health care, rather than why government should fix health care. This should be between doctors and patients. But this has been the discussion since the ’60s and the inception of Medicare and Medicaid, when government first began intervening to keep costs down and make sure everyone had access.
The result of Medicaid and Medicare price controls and regulatory burden has been to drive more doctors out of the system — making it more difficult for the poor and the elderly to receive quality care! Seemingly, there are no failed government programs, only underfunded ones. If we refuse to acknowledge common-sense economics, the prescription will always be the same: more government.
Make no mistake, government control and micromanagement of health care will hurt, not help, health care in this country. However, if for a moment, we allowed the assumption that it really would accomplish all they claim, paying for it would still plunge the country into poverty. This solves nothing. The government, like any household struggling with bills to pay, should prioritize its budget.
If the administration is serious about supporting health care without contributing to our skyrocketing deficits, they should fulfill promises to reduce our overseas commitments and use some of those savings to take care of Americans at home, instead of killing foreigners abroad.
The leadership in Washington persists in a fantasy world of unlimited money to spend on unlimited programs and wars to garner unlimited control. But there is a fast-approaching limit to our ability to borrow, steal and print. Acknowledging this reality is not mean-spirited or cruel. On the contrary, it could be the only thing that saves us from complete and total economic meltdown.
Democracy is majority rule at the expense of the minority. Our system has certain democratic elements, but the Founders never mentioned democracy in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights or the Declaration of Independence. In fact, our most important protections are decidedly undemocratic.
For example, the First Amendment protects free speech. It doesn’t — or shouldn’t — matter if that speech is abhorrent to 51% or even 99% of the people. Speech is not subject to majority approval. Under our republican form of government, the individual, the smallest of minorities, is protected from the mob.
Sadly, the Constitution and its protections are respected less and less as we have quietly allowed our constitutional republic to devolve into a militarist, corporatist social democracy. Laws are broken, quietly changed and ignored when inconvenient to those in power, while others in positions to check and balance do nothing. The protections the Founders put in place are more and more just an illusion.
This is why increasing importance is placed on the beliefs and views of the president. The very narrow limitations on government power are clearly laid out in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. Nowhere is there any reference to being able to force Americans to buy health insurance or face a tax or penalty, for example. Yet this power has been claimed by the executive and astonishingly affirmed by Congress and the Supreme Court.
Because we are a constitutional republic, the mere popularity of a policy should not matter. If it is in clear violation of the limits of government and the people still want it, a constitutional amendment is the only appropriate way to proceed. However, rather than going through this arduous process, the Constitution was, in effect, ignored, and the insurance mandate was allowed anyway.
Our system has certain democratic elements, but… our most important protections are decidedly undemocratic.
This demonstrates how there is now a great deal of unhindered flexibility in the Oval Office to impose personal views and preferences on the country, so long as 51% of the people can be convinced to vote a certain way. The other 49%, on the other hand, have much to be angry about and protest under this system. We should not tolerate the fact that we have become a nation ruled by men, their whims and the mood of the day, and not laws.
It cannot be emphasized enough that we are a republic, not a democracy and, as such, we should insist that the framework of the Constitution be respected and boundaries set by law are not crossed by our leaders. These legal limitations on government assure that other men do not impose their will over the individual, but rather, the individual is able to govern himself. When government is restrained, liberty thrives.
Ron Paulfor The Daily Reckoning
Ed. Note: In today’s issue of The Daily Reckoning email edition, we offer more insight on the likely effects of Obamacare and the market movements that are likely to result from it. Get the full story by signing up for a FREE subscription to The Daily Reckoning, right here.
[This essay is a compilation of Dr. Paul’s writings during his time in Congress.]
People come to think what they need to think when they need to think it. When they approach the “end of their rope” phase of a financial catastrophe, they need to believe that they have no choice but to play out a little more line.
Dr. Ron Paul is a former Republican member of Congress from Texas and perhaps the only voice in Washington still advocating "limited" government in the Jeffersonian tradition. He has delivered several stunning addresses before Congress, including: "Sorry, Mr. Franklin, We Are All Democrats Now" and "We've Been Neo-Conned." Ron Paul is also the author of The Revolution: A Manifesto, End The Fed, Liberty Defined, and The School Revolution: A New Answer for Our Broken Education System.
We may be a republic on paper but the reality is we are a democracy. The group majority always wins. In fact Canada can argue it is more of a republic than the US as its states have greater power than the central govt . The US has a strong central govt and its laws over ride many state laws.
Ron Paul need to look no further than Japan, Germany, Demark Sweeden and Canada to see how well single payer systems work. As for taxing too much it’s not the amount of taxes you impose it is what you get back. For instance I believe in the Netherlands you can go to college ANYWHERE including Harvard if you can get in on the taxpayers dime. Yes they are heavily taxed but have the highest wages, the best benefits, the best education etc. The same is true for most of Europe.
What Ron Paul and the other Republicans don’t (or won’t) tell you is that states like Massachusetts which have already adopted healthcare systems similar to Obamacare have experienced a 40% DROP in health care costs per person….. And there is a good reason for this savings: Those people leaching off of the private healthcare system by not paying any premiums at all are now forced into paying a small monthly premium for healthcare under a government healthcare insurance plan. This measure forced upon to a large number of coasters lowers the cost of monthly premiums for everyone.
The math is that simple, but Ron Paul and the rest of the Republicans and his conservatives ignore the simple mathematics.
It’s four days until Obamacare begins for everyone in America, and the Republican Party does not want you to know the simple truth about why government health insurance works and private for-profit health insurance insurance programmes do not work as well….. The difference between public and private is 40% less cost in favour of public health insurance.
Stephen N. Jacobs
You are correct. If an American is really serious about living under an independent state or provincial government, free from the foot of central government tyranny, he would move to Canada. And by the way, under NAFTA now, everyone can immigrate: Canadians, Mexicans, and Americans can immigrate-about provided that they leave a clean police, tax, legal, and debt record where they live within these three countries…. That is a big change from the way things were just about ten years ago.
With four more days of for-profit medical care remaining left in America before we convert to Obamacare and the 21st Century and a more humane way of living, there is an article on your computer available for reading from the Washington Post newspaper:
“Costs for healthcare in Washington D.C. fall after Obamacare adopted.”
Yes, the Republicans would like you to believe this and that different slogan and fear, but the facts speak very differently. They tell a very clear story that medicare works because the coasters who skip enrolling in health insurance markets are forced to enroll and make premium payments in public health insurance markets, and so the public premiums are much lower (cheaper) and the coverage is broader and better for everyone.
So, we have cheaper and better coverage with the new broader medicare ( Obamacare ) in Massachusetts already, also in parts of Pennsylvania already, parts of New York state and in the District of Columbia.
Pull-up the Washington Post article for yourself to read. You might send it to the Republicans in Congress, or if you are a student in an American public school, place the article on the bulletin board in your classroom for everyone to read. Make a copy of the article and place it on your teacher’s desk right in front of their Republican nose.
Tell that to the 3 people I’ve talked to this week alone whose current health plan was cancelled (despite what Obama promised) and whose new policy premiums are over 100% higher.
Canada? I have friends there that wait months and months for health care if they are lucky enough to get it approved. Add in that they don’t allow freedom of speech anymore and I’ll pass on moving there.
Sorry FDR, had to get in bed…………WITH A MASS MURDERER, AND LOOK WHAT THE MASS MURDERER DID TO BERLIN.
You know Health Care for the Nation is good in a lot of ways, however why are so many in the dark as to what it offers including the people who voted to pass it. I mean come on people. When I renew my health insurance from my work a representative shows up to answer or explain the policy to me or my fellow workers. 1 – We don’t know what it offers to all age groups or your so called health status in society. 2 – what will this cost the average tax payer. I’m sure it will be different for different tax groups. One thing I would like to point out here is that there are 300 plus million people in the USA, only 100 million or so pay taxes every year. So how are they to work out this difference? Are we saying that now these 200 million give or take non-Tax paying citizens are going to start paying taxes, I highly doubt that. Who will police this to bring these non-tax payers on board and how much will that cost the average tax payer to do this task? Or are the 100 million honest tax paying citizens going to be responsible to flip the bill? This system is not going to be free. Please understand that I am not trying to be negative about this but there are a lot of unanswered questions here about all of this that I yet to have answered. I for one would like to know what I am paying for before I buy it!! I don’t buy a one bedroom house when I have a wife and three kids. It wouldn’t work for my situation unless I had no choice. Plus I want to see the house before I buy it. So someone please tell me why “the president” who is pushing this so hard can’t tell the American people what he is offering? Or is he just in the dark about this as well and he is just pushing this for his legacy or ego for that matter? He has no problems slamming the republicans on a regular basis and bringing that up to the public. Here’s a thought Obama, stop playing finger pointing games with congress and start being honest and telling the American people about what you are offering, and be honest about it. Lets face it at least 50% of Americans “don’t trust you” or your administration for that matter.
Ron give it a rest already. Single payer has been shown the world over to provide the same or better coverage for more people at less cost. Take a look at some state premium projections. They are far far lower than anyone anticipated. Home Depot dropped their limited coverage for part timers but now the part times can get better coverage than they had before at less cost.
How’s Single-Payer working out in Greece?
SP is great until the money runs out.
We’re 17 Tril in debt. How many yrs of SP do you think we have left on the Credit Card?
Dear Ron Paul and all of you other Republicans in Texas:
You know, reading that remark above that: “we are fast approaching the limit to what we can spend, borrow, or steal” and that was made with reference to extending medicare to younger people in America through through Obamacare; I wonder why you and the other conservatives in Texas didn’t wonder about the hundreds of billions that led to the near bankruptcy of the U.S. from the Vietnam War? Fair question isn’t it……. I mean all of you conservatives from Texas just adored Goldwater and his Vietnam War. Oh, and how I remember the Cold Wars and the Korean War before those. And Texas just adored those, no matter what they cost.
A funny politics down in Texas, isn’t it, and especially in south Texas with the conservatives? The dollars and cents just don’t compute.
Ron Paul is so backwards he still believes tomatoes are poisonous. If the host he refers is the insurance company’s then so be it and be quick about it. Overwhelmingly the worlds developed democracy’s deliver health care via the govt and do so at a reduced cost which covers more people and delivers equal or better results hands down. The rest of the world can easily allow private insurance into their system . It doesn’t. WHY? It doesn’t work .
Eerily Owellian: that the red arm saved lives. Can you provide an accounting of net lives saved or lost. You are entitled to your own opinions but not to your own facts.
In fact Stalin was responsible for mass murder: for just one example, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katyn_massacre
I do not know if you are just missinformed or spreading missinformation, but you need to be informed before you go spouting off.
As for the Vienam War/police action/whatever: I agree with you … what a waste.
Twenty-three million lives were saved by the Red Army in Eastern Europe during the liberation from the Nazis. Stalin organized the Red Army. A few members of our own family were saved by the Red Army in western Poland in 1945. Otherwise as Jews, they would have been gassed days later in a short southward trip to a concentration camp for Jews in the Czech Republic. Let me put it this way: I would not be here to write this if it was not for Joe Stalin and what he did, and maybe I should have told the kids at Gilroy High School in Gilroy, California that I would not have been there to meet them and talk with them that day if it were not for the work of Joseph Stalin.
When I was in Duluth meeting with my grandfather, he sat me down upon his bed and showed me a letter from the surviving family in Poland, that is to say, those who lived to tell about the Holocaust. And he showed me what they wrote. It was an invitation to come and visit them in Poland, etc. They wrote favourably of the Russian and Polish governments and of life there. The letter was not written when the Cold War was at its peak, but it was rather interesting and contrary to the lies that Washington was pedaling about life in Eastern Europe and communism and when Poland was supposed to be a nation “behind the so-called ‘Iron Curtain’.”
That time, in the early 1970s, I worked for the City of Winnipeg in Manitoba, and a hundred thousand people in that city or more came to Winnipeg as immigrants from the Soviet Union, many immediately after WWII and with the blessing of the Russian government. These immigrants in Winnipeg, mostly the odd middle-aged Jew who had somehow survived the Holocaust, some middle-aged eastern Europeans and a comparatively large number of middle-aged Ukrainians, spoke favourably of Stalin and his Red Army.
What became obvious to me was that the education in the United States about Stalin and communism was a brainwashing. When I listened to speeches of J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI after WWII, it became even more obvious that the American public was being brainwashed. And when I began to teach in the American schools in California, the textbooks were brainwashing the kids.
Obviously, right after WWII, some group on the extreme right had gotten a-hold of the textbooks and had re-written them to make Stalin, the sterling silver hero of WWII who saved 23,000,000 lives in WWII into “a mass murderer” and to make communists murders, communism the enemy of freedom, etc.
In all likelihood, the textbooks in the U.S. were altered during the McArthee Era, and probably by a group like the John Birch Society which was just being to be organized during that era, about 1950-1955. The problem was that nobody spoke-up. The altering of the textbooks just happened, quietly….. So it paved the way for other Cold War-ish kind of things to happen later, like the Vietnam War.
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