March 2, 2010

Egalitarianism has to stem from freedom, not stand in place of it.

You simply cannot force sellers to sell and buyers to buy. That is not freedom. It is not liberty. It is state control, and it is un-American. A 2000+ page bill that would mandate both of those thing violates the Constitution in so many ways. Not to mention, every sane insurance company executive would, in order to contain costs, opt out of selling health insurance and focus exclusively on other areas of insurance where mandates don't exist. Where would that leave buyers who had to get health insurance or face federal financial penalties? They no longer have an option - they'd have to pay the penalties. Gee, that sounds like nothing more than a tax grab at that point.

Unless of course that the next step in mandating coverage would be that every insurance company MUST offer health insurance. How long can an industry survive when it's being told it has to sell a big product at a loss? Un-American.

What's worse, is that it would create some serious perversions of the system that ironically resemble some of the other dilemmas the country faces. For example, would insurance companies find some way to deal with the mandated insurance that resembles Cap and Trade? In other words, would companies look to Trade customer plans in order for everyone to be in a position to seem to be offering health insurance? Perhaps the penalties to the companies could be swapped so that the burden gets passed around year to year.

Or maybe it's more like trading toxic assets in some convoluted version of a credit default swap. Customers with pre-existing conditions would be the toxic liability that gets traded around to minimize the risk. A musical chairs of cost containment, where companies would hope to not be the one holding the liability when the music stops. That's morbid.

In the end, forcing people to do things is antithetical to liberty. Spreading the wealth is antithetical to capitalism. State run industry is antithetical to the American Way. Even with something the government manages to get right, the military, the production of the equipment is outsourced.

People deserve the freedom to choose. It's a founding principle of the country which supersedes an imagined right to health care, and subsequently an imagined right to food and shelter. If in the end, a person is not responsible for their own well being, they are not truly free. As a country America has to decide, and decide now, if liberty really is all that important and worth keeping. Hey, it's what got you this far, and I'd argue it's a core concept not worth jettisoning to be more 'egalitarian'. Egalitarianism has to stem from freedom, not stand in place of it.

This is not just a debate about the cost of health care, it's a debate about liberty, and possible usurpers of it in the name of some fictitious social justice. It might seem scary for the poor to operate without a safety net, but there are nets aplenty. And those safety nets symbolize a nanny state. At some point the Democrats need to let go and assume that the vast majority of the American public can take care of themselves. Parents typically don't let children live at home until age 50. Why? Because they know the kids can grow into self sufficient lives. There will always be those who need help. The vast majority of them will always get help - through government or charity.

The problem with leveling the playing field, truly leveling it, is that it means there are no hills left to climb. That in turn means there are no challenges to face and no incentive to strive to achieve anything. That is both the beginning of stagnation as a nation, and the end of a reason to be as an individual. Survival isn't really living, it's a postponement of dying.

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