Last time I needed some work done on the house - an addition, with remodelling - I checked around very carefully for the best value in builders. I wanted to make my money go as far as possible, but also to be sure the contractor was reliable - that I'd not see cost over-runs, and that he'd not walk out leaving the job half done.
Elementary precaution, right? - whether the job is painting, interior decorating, yard landscaping, or whatever; we are foolish not to ask around, get alternative quotes, evaluate the credibility of the bid. It's the same in many kinds of business. Past performance by the bidder is a good guide to his future capability.
Right now, we are in just that situation with regard to the proposed Health Care Plan being designed by our Representatives in D.C. Nothing is final, the vote is not taken; if those representatives hear from us loudly enough that we want it modified in this way or that, or scrapped outright, it can happen. But only if we're loud enough.
The basic deal is that the Federal Government will so manage the health care industry that nobody is financially crippled by ill health, and yet that its overall costs (1/7th of all we earn, or over $850B/yr) are contained. That's the proposition we are asked to endorse. So: how have they done so far?
It would be the largest project that government has ever managed, so we'll expect to see a track record showing some outstanding success in managing very large projects, before we can sensibly agree to trust them with this one.
Fortunately, there's no shortage of such history. Government has for many years been managing universal old-age and disability insurance ($500B a year), universal schooling (about $250B/yr), collective national "defense" ($300B/yr), wealth redistribution ($500B/yr) and management of the National Debt ($200B/yr in interest alone.) In fact, these 5 vast projects account for 70% of all government spending. So if government has managed these well, we can be assured that their management of our health care will probably be wise and frugal too.
Unfortunately, their track record shows the very opposite.
Let's briefly evaluate each of these five.
1. Social "Security" . As I showed in this column some while ago, far from providing any kind of security, this government Ponzi Scheme makes the elderly rely upon the whim of future voters for their retirement income, instead of upon a contract based on solid investment portfolios; while costing three to four times the price of a commercial insurance policy that would provide similar benefits. Verdict: a dead loss.
2. Universal Schooling . I'll not call this "education", for as shown in another edition of this column, it's no such thing. We saw that after a century and a half of unhindered opportunity, the government's monopoly is turning out "graduates", 40% of whom cannot even read their diplomas - while in inner-city schools, discipline is so poor that young children feel the need to carry handguns in to class. Verdict: "F".
3. National "Defense" includes VA Hospitals, a sad foretaste of what Government Health Care would be like, and overall for "defense", we're forced to spend nearly $300B a year defending other, prosperous nations (Japan, UK, Germany, Kuwait) while actively provoking ill-will towards America by many small nations whose enemies are favored by our government. Thus, far from defending us, the Feds are giving Arabs and many others good reason to terrorize us, as on Pan Am 103. Verdict: a disaster, waiting to happen. 4. Wealth Redistribution . This huge government activity is advertised as "poverty relief", but only about one of its tax dollars in six ever reaches the hands of the destitute. Most taxes go to businesses who contributed well to re-election funds, and even here in the "anti-poverty" programs, those who get most are the middle-class administrators and bureaucrats. Verdict: wholesale theft and entrenchment of poverty.
5. Debt Management . The Feds' record in managing money is now quite well-known. Over the years they have spent $4T more than they took in, so as to buy votes. Interest alone now runs at $200B a year. Any good home maker could run a better budget. Verdict: staggering irresponsibility.
Buy a Used Car?
One might add the Postal Service, which, though its revenues do not come from taxes, we are compelled to use. Here too, talented people are so mismanaged as to provide inferior service at high prices. It's "managed competition" in mail delivery, just as HillaryCare promises managed competition in health care. But the above five major government activities do account for 70% of what they take from you and me, and the "Verdicts" offered above are surely not inaccurate.
So the question is, "Would you buy even a used car from these charlatans?" My answer is an emphatic "No Way!", and when it comes to entrusting them with any aspect of my health or that of my family, I'd be insane to answer otherwise.
As Libertarian Tom Isenberg has nicely said, all government health care does and always will "combine the quality of public schools, the compassion of the IRS and the frugality of the Pentagon." So don't compromise with HillaryCare, like the Republicans are doing; follow instead the advice of another First Lady and tell your "Representatives" to Just Say No.
|© Copyright Jim Davies 1999|
Jim Davies lives in New Hampshire,
and enjoys contemplating which way is up.
The above is Edition # 24
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