Medicare etc.

This is in response to David Remer’s article arguing for the institution Medicare and progressive social programs—that piece in turn was a rebuttal of Dustin Frelich’s thoughts on the current Medicare debate.

The most controversial clause of the Medicare bill allows private managed health care into the Medicare system, starting on a trial-basis in 2010 in six cities. The Democrats are ideologically opposed to this, but have offered no viable alternative of their own. Their main argument is that private health care companies will hand-pick healthy seniors to keep premiums low. But if I’m a healthy senior, wouldn’t I want that alternative? What’s wrong with healthier seniors paying lower premiums?

But David’s article makes some other broad ideological sweeps which I want to rebut.

This is not to say that social programs don't come without opportunity costs. But free enterprise is not without its costs in greed, class segregation, and tiering of society.

Marxism was founded on the premise that there are two classes in society - the capitalists and the workers - and that the capitalists live and grow wealthy by exploiting the workers. Thus, wealth must be "fairly redistributed" by a "central authority". Any sane reading of history will show that this premise was fundamentally flawed, seeing as how people living under communist governments have fared. The ultimate proof of this is current-day America. The segregated society that Marx predicted would be the ultimate outcome of capitalism has not emerged. "Workers Unite!" rings hollow, and even a little funny here, because the "workers" enjoy a relatively affluent middle class lifestyle.

Canada has a health care system that recognizes the immorality of being a wealthy nation and leaving 40 plus million of its citizens without health care, experiencing pain and suffering and shorter lives all because they can't afford the free enterprise health care.

Actually, Canada is free-loading on the U.S. The Candadian government has achieved this "miracle" by simply putting a cap on prices of drugs sold there. Drug prices are high in the U.S. because drug companies need to recover the costs of R&D for new drugs, and the U.S. is about the only place left where they can actually set their own prices. In effect, the American drug-buying public is underwriting the costs of pharmeceutical research and development for the rest of the planet, Canada included. All this, while they parade their healthcare "achievements".

A janitor should be entitled to a decent wage that provides home ownership, a reliable vehicle, health insurance, a retirement plan, and the ability to save for his/her children's educational choices and assistance in getting their start in life as productive adults. For without that janitor, our nation would collapse. Without that clerk, that secretary, that server at Luby's, that maid at the hotel, free enterprise would grind to a halt in a heck of a hurry.

Good ol' Marx, once again. A janitor (nor anyone else) is not entitled to home ownership, a reliable vehicle, health insurance, etc. He is entitled to be given a fair chance to earn all of those things. He is entitled to the pursuit of happiness, not to happiness. As for how dependent the nation is on said janitor, here's a thought experiment: scenario 1 - all janitors quit; scenario 2 - the CEOs of the top 100 corporations quit. Draw your own conclusions.
Posted by Vivek at November 25, 2003 12:58 AM