I have a confession: I write my Monday blog entries on Sunday. Haffta. There’s too much going on Monday mornings to surf and post. But yesterday, I couldn’t find much to blog about. Everything was about health care. In the time between this typing and this posting, the country could be upside down and careening toward socialism.
But is it really socialism? Isn’t that term just a hyperbolic scare tactic?
The term “socialism” originally referred to the broad panoply of reform movements in the early-to-mid nineteenth century that had a common theme: “the need to transform capitalist industrial society into a much more egalitarian system in which collective well-being for all became a reality.” Compare that to the compromise bill, which would
spend $940 billion to extend coverage to 32 million Americans over the next decade, leaving only about 5 percent of non-elderly citizens without coverage, according to projections by the nonpartisan [but not disinterested and impartial] Congressional Budget Office. Millions of people would be added to the rolls of Medicaid, the government health program for the poor, while millions more who lack access to affordable coverage through the workplace would receive federal tax credits to buy insurance. Link.
In the twentieth century, “socialism” broke into two camps: the Marxist sort, seen in the USSR and Eastern Europe, and the Labor Party sort, which “used Keynes to support a non-Marxist approach to the regulation and control of capitalism, stressing the need to achieve social justice and equality through effective management of the economy . . . and redistributive welfare policies.”
Does this ring any bells? “Health care is broken,” the “free market has failed,” “too many people lack insurance.”
Obamacare is socialism alright. Entertain no doubts. If you want to ponder the issue further, you should start with a better question. The question you can put to yourself is: “Is a little socialism okay?”
The answer is “no,” but reasonable people can disagree. Heck, the USCCB and I disagree, and I like to think I’m reasonable and am obliged to think the bishops are reasonable. Although reasonable people can disagree, it doesn’t mean both sets are right. Rest assured: they’re wrong. Anyone who welcomes “just a little socialism” is like a person who likes “just a little sex.” Possible? Yes. Highly unlikely? Definitely. Government power is a one-way ratchet. Once it’s in, it’s in. It doesn’t withdraw, period, much less withdraw in time (you can draw your own string back to the sex analogy). Government just keeps growing and growing as it finds more and more “evils” to address, all the while blithely ignoring the messes (and deficits) that its other efforts to remedy evils have created.
I could write another ten pages about the cost of our creeping socialism: the decay of social power (as government takes care of things, people stop coming together to take care of them, with the result that society decays while government grows), the irony that efforts toward egalitarianism result in gross inequality (the politically-connected in DC and NY with their obscene salaries and government bailouts, and the rest of us), the crowding out of the private sector and crippling of the private economy (how many more government jobs is this monster bill going to create?), the health care mess in Canada, England, and other more-socialized countries.
It gets tiresome.
Why work? The government will provide. And if you work, the government will take.
When I worked on my taxes last weekend, it all hit me hard. The tax maze that the federal leviathan has created is an insult to civil living, but the complex tax code is part of the socialist game: it’s a tool of social engineering. A simple flat tax would take away many of the socialist’s tools.
But I’m tired of those tools.
I’m tired, period. But the government isn’t going to stop: it’s not going to withdraw those tools. My only option: Withdraw from the areas those tools penetrate and concentrate on those areas where those tools don’t (yet) penetrate. Right now, that means (i) my garden, and (ii) precious metals. The government doesn’t tax the food that my garden produces: no income tax, Medicare tax, social security tax, fuel tax, alcohol tax, luxury tax, sales tax, health care tax, value-added tax (those last two are coming). And precious metals just sit there. They pay no dividends, so there’s nothing to tax. If I sell the metals, I pay dearly (no capital gains breaks, since all metals–even if held in ETF stock form–are considered “collectibles,” and hence outside the reduced capital gains rates), but I’ll worry about that when the time comes.
In the meantime, I give up.
And, as of this writing, the vote hasn’t even occurred yet.Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList
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