Join me on Facebook!
Follow me on Twitter!
More 'toons here!
Or subscribe here.
While this cartoon correctly and factually highlights the vile, greedy cynicism and deceit of those who are trying to repeal the Obama health care bill, it is reprehensibly silent regarding what a pitiful farce the health care bill is, given how relatively LITTLE sane good it does for health care, and how many ways it actually gives the blood-suckers in the health insurance industry what they WANTED.
Health care is a right, not a privelege.
Health care CAN NOT be administered rationally by for profit institutions like the health insurance companies, nor can it be either rationally or economically or in a quality fashion administered by a patchwork of competing private operations. The lousey quality and extreme inflated price of US "public health care" is proof of that.
"Single payer" (socialized) medicine... with every citizen being provided quality medical care financed by a progressive income tax... is the only rational approach.
But so long as we have a system based on profit for a few, not the welfare of all, and a medida more tightly controlled by the rulers of this society than that of Stalin in his hey-day, that won't happen.
I don't know where you get an increase in our deficit by over a Trillion Dollars. No credible source that I know of agrees with that. Perhaps you'd care to give a link to this info.
Aside from that, can any of you even ponder the idea that perhaps health care is one of the few things that should not be "for profit"? After all, we are talking about peoples health, and quite possibly LIFE OR DEATH! There are plenty of other ways to make a buck. Insuring, then choosing whether to cover or NOT cover someone's medical needs really doesn't seem like something "ethical"....since someone brought up that the Health Care Bill is "unethical".
Insurance companies, and pharmacies have spent billions of dollars to infiltrate the internet with propaganda, so their golden, golden goose will not be bothered. If you idjits think your lies will hold up, they will not. Get Out of the Medical practice! Your way has anything but Health on the brain. Billions, because giant Insurance moguls fear losing their jobs... How about the States Insurance Commissioner jumping on the Insurance bandwagon, Very few jobs were saved, making bookoo $$$$ Millions of Children and Adults have just been given death sentences. Way to go. The rich getting stinking rich and the rest of us will languish in debtors prison, for soon we will most not be able to afford to live or the basics!
The West Virginia judge who declared it unconstitutional to mandate that everyone purchase health insurance is correct.
No one should be forced to purchase anything. By the same token, no one should be forced to render a service or provide a product without being paid for it.
Therefore, those who do not wish to purchase health insurance should not be provided with health care unless they pay for it in advance. There should be no obligation on society to pay for their care.
If forcing people to buy something they don't want is unconstitutional, then forcing people to provide something without being paid for it must also be unconstitutional. Both culminate in the involuntary transfer of value.
The fundamental purpose of Health Insurance, like any other form of insurance, is to share risk among many to provide relief to each when and if risk becomes reality for them. It works because not everything bad happens to everybody at the same time.
Those of us who are arrogant enough to believe that they are forever immune from risk and therefore have no need for insurance, should not have the recourse of demanding public relief if it should catch up with them.
Congress should amend the Health Insurance Reform law to allow such people to opt out by signing a waver renouncing their participation in the program (including Medicare) and rejecting the protection it offers. The waver should be permanent until such time as they figure out that they might actually get sick, have an accident, get old, or actually die someday. Then an appropriate amount should be charged for reinstating them in the program.
I would suggest that an appropriate amount would consist of an application fee in the amount not paid into the program during the time the waver was in effect, and thereafter a monthly premium plus an age-based penalty for late entry, and the exclusion of all pre-existing conditions based on a physical exam at the time of application.
After all, I don't want to be a part of a system that would FORCE these folks who will never get sick or die to buy healthcare they don't need... That would be stealing from them.
I am also not interested in a system that will FORCE me (us, taxpayers) to provide "free" healthcare to those individuals who refuse to participate in a program for the common good... That would be stealing from me.
Logical but erroneous. Although I agree with all your points, the truth is, uninsured people --by choice or indigent, will still go to the hospital and beg for mercy when they get real sick, and they will not be turned away because of a) the Hippocratic oath, or b) human nature to help people in need, c? I support health-care reform, but I think it will get worse before it gets better.
Therefore, those who do not wish to purchase health insurance should not be provided with health care unless they pay for it themselves in advance. There should be no obligation on society to pay for their care.
I am also not interested in a system that will FORCE me (us, taxpayers) to provide "free" healthcare to those individuals who refuse to participate in a program for the common good... That would be stealing from me (us, taxpayers).
Obama's healthcare law could also be used to bring in involuntary commitment laws that will take away your civil liberties. They do this in Europe. How would you like to be forced to take medication that will make you sicker? How would you like to be banned from travelling or going where you want? Or being banned from working? It WILL happen!
I learned all this when I went to the CCHR museum in Hollywood. You should go there. They showed a movie called psychiatry and industry of death and everything they did then and are doing now they will do here if the Democrat healthare bill passes.
Let's not forget the commandments that made the US what it is today.
1) Money makes money.
2) Money talks.
3) Money walks.
4) Morals is money.
5) Ethics is money.
6) Charity is money.
7) Religion is money.
8) Real education costs a LOT of money.
9) This is MY super-hard-worked money. You will not have ONE dollar of mine... That would be err... socialist.
10) Get the hell out of my property and stay away from my money.
Now, having something in common, like a health care system, would not be very american or would it? Cause, I am afraid that some may eventually have to "unfairly" pay some money for other human beings in poor health. We all know that no law is ever perfect...
Let's forget for a moment that Obamacare is: 1) Immoral - it requires the government to engage in legalized plunder – i.e., robbing Peter to pay Paul; 2) It is un-Constitutional - nowhere in Article I, Section 8 does the Congress have the enumerated power to enact it; and 3) It will not come close to achieving its stated goals of lowering healthcare costs and improving quality, because those of us who understand the laws of economics know, "There is no such thing as a free-lunch."
Now, let me grant that Obamacare MIGHT result in more people having "coverage," because it forces one group of people to pay for the healthcare services of another group of people.
Can we at least agree that Obamacare should not be referred to as an "insurance" program? Properly understood, for an event to be considered insurable, it must meet three conditions: 1) It must be rare, 2) It must be major (financially speaking), and 3) It must be uncertain.
On this third criterion, no insurance company can afford to cover people AFTER they become sick or injured, unless they are allowed to adjust their premiums accordingly. Obamacare forces insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions via the "guaranteed issue" clause, and these companies are not allowed to charge more in order to compensate for these KNOWN (i.e., certain) risks. This is the "community rating" clause.
Therefore, Obamacare is nothing more than a wealth redistribution program, and thus, it is a form of socialism (i.e., legalized plunder) plain and simple.
I know this doesn't bother my friends on the political left, since engaging in legalized plunder is at the core of their belief system. But consider this... If it is morally acceptable to steal the fruits of a man's labor, then should we not also have the government force us into organ donation programs? If you stop to think about it, there is no moral difference between the two, is there?
In other words, if you have a moral right to my hard-earned money in order to pay for your healthcare services, then I have a right to your kidney, should I need one.
- H. Roark
Dear Mr. Roark,
May I suggest watching (or re-watching) the "Credit Where It's Due" episode of "The Day The Universe Changed." When James Burke talks about vacations and how they are dependent upon other people, both in how you got to go on vacation (via working) and on the actual vacation itself from the equipment to the providers. Your "my hard-earned money" focus selfishly neglects those people that have provided you with the opportunity to make your "hard-earned money."
Are you the only person that has provided the electrical energy that has carried your message to the forums here at Mark Fiore's website? Are you the only person that has laid the wiring down that carried the electrical energy that was your message to this site? These two are but a small sample of services provided to you in your daily life that have their dependence upon other people to provide you with "my hard-earned money" and these are just third-party people. How many of the items/services you use in your business life are not of your own creation?
If you've single-handedly dug up and processed the ore that you,subsequently, smelted in to the metals that you used to construct your computer by your own hand, then you can say its' your "hard-earned money." Until you've done that, you owe your life to people other than yourself and you have a moral obligation to assist those people that have helped you. That a majority of our elected representatives have chosen that moral obligation to be, in part, a health-care system that should treat all U. S. citizens equally, then you debt has been repaid partially.
A Proud Liberal (and Reformed Republican)
Dear Proud Liberal (and Reformed Republican) -
First of all, congratulations on evolving from an ape to a cro-magnon! Most people I know start their evolutionary journey as "liberal-progressives," and then, upon entering the real world and paying taxes for inefficient government, they become conservatives. Regardless, if you would like to complete your evolutionary journey and become a fully-formed, rational, independent thinker, the end-state you are looking for can be found in libertarianism (i.e., true liberalism). The true liberal is a believer in (and defender of) liberty, which is properly understood to mean freedom from the force, fraud, and coercion of others - most notably, our government. By contrast, the modern "liberal" does not believe in freedom from government control. Rather, he wants greater government control in order to free himself from individual responsibility, which is an entirely different concept of "liberty" (see the definitions of negative liberty vs. positive liberty at Wikipedia).
Anyway, I digress... Regarding your comments, let me say that most of what you have written is absolutely correct. However, you completely botched it with your non sequitur conclusion, when you wrote, "Until you've done that, you owe your life to people other than yourself and you have a moral obligation to assist those people that have helped you."
Let me start with what you got right. It is absolutely true that in a modern society, no man is an island onto himself. Nearly every one of us living on the planet today (perhaps without exception) must rely to some extent on others to provide us with even our most basic necessities in life. There is an adage that says, "Self-sufficiency is the path to poverty," and this holds true whether it be for individuals or entire nations. What has enabled human-beings to rise to become the most dominate species on the planet is the fact that we trade with one another, and by doing so, we gain from the knowledge, skills, and resources of others (see Matt Ridley's book, "The Rational Optimist"). Sometimes these resources are unique (e.g., it is very difficult to grow bananas in Alaska). But mostly, we gain because trade leads to specialization, and this leads to greater efficiencies, economies of scale, and innovation when people focus their production, while diversifying their consumption (see Adam Smith). Likewise, trade allows us to take advantage of the economic concept known as, "comparative advantage" (see David Ricardo). Without trade, people would be much poorer. Even the highly vaunted transcendentalist / individualist-anarchist philosopher, Henry David Thoreau was not entirely self-sufficient when he spent two years living near Walden Pond. Not even close! Thoreau had no choice but to travel to nearby Concord, MA to get supplies for those things he could not produce on his own (e.g., iron tools, cooking utensils, salt, and nails).
So far, so good, but this is where we differ... What enables trade to take place is the use of a fungible commodity like money. Without it, we would have to rely on barter exchanges or in-kind payments, which is extremely inefficient and untenable in a modern economy. (What's the likelihood that what I am selling is exactly what you are buying AND vice versa?) Money is nothing more than a credit for (or a token of) the value one has produced while serving his fellow man. Sure, some people get their money via gifts, inheritance, or theft (e.g., outright theft or the welfare state); but the vast majority of us receive our money by serving our fellow man, and that means providing him with a product or service he values more than the money he paid us to receive it. This is what I meant when I wrote, "my hard-earned money." I have exchanged something of value (i.e., my time, talent, and labor in the form of a product or service) in order to receive a symbol of value (i.e., money). This money was earned by me, and therefore, it belongs solely to me. It is my private property. However, if I ask my fellow man to provide me with a product or service, I must surrender my money in exchange for it. Thus, trade is nothing more than an exchange of value-for-value, and money is nothing more than a unit of measure to facilitate these transactions.
So, to use your example.... When I visit Mr. Fiore's website, I have exchanged money to pay for the computer I use, the electricity that powers it, the cable company which gives me access to the Internet, and I have paid Mr. Fiore indirectly by viewing the ads he has placed on his website using Google's advertising engine. In turn, Mr. Fiore has paid for his computer and the software he uses to produce his animated cartoons, and he has allowed Google to take a cut of his advertising revenue for enabling the ads to be displayed on his site via a keyword search algorithm. There is no further obligation I have to Mr. Fiore, and he has no further obligation to his suppliers. Everyone involved has been fully compensated for their services.
Thus, your conclusion is fallacious. You have assumed that since someone has provided me with a product or service, "I owe [my] life to [these] people... and [I] have a moral obligation to assist [these] people that have helped [me]." Wrong! I have already given these people sufficient claim-checks (i.e. money), which they can use to assist themselves by purchasing food from their grocer, housing from their landlord (or home-builder), and medical services from their doctor (or indirectly via their health insurer); or a myriad of other products and services they might need or desire in life.
In other words, I have no moral OBLIGATION beyond the mutually beneficial, VOLUNTARY agreements I have already made with others, and fulfilled with with my payment of money. To suggest that I have some greater obligation beyond this is absurd.
This isn't to say that I should never help a fellow man in need via private, VOLUNTARY charitable giving. It is merely to say that the decision who I help (and to what extent, including no help at all) is mine alone to make.
P.S. - A note on government. There is a proper role for government, but it is limited to providing us with the rule of law, protecting our private property (both our physical persons and our possessions) from the force and fraud of others (foreign and domestic - e.g., military and police services), and for providing us with certain public goods (strictly defined as being non-exclusionary and non-rivalrous - e.g., clean air and public infrastructure like city streets, sewage systems, etc.). Healthcare services are not a public good (strictly defined), because the benefits go entirely to the recipients of the care. Therefore, these services are private goods and should be paid for privately.
For those essential services which can only be provided by government, each of us must bear the burden of paying for them. This can be done in the form of paying tolls (e.g., for the direct use of public roads), or paying taxes for those services where the costs cannot be assigned directly (e.g., national defense and police protection).
-H. Roark, you should do a fact check before making all these statements.
Are you employed? If you were to loose your job tomorrow, what would happen to your health insurance coverage? What would you do if it took you a year or two to get back into the work force and during that time you had no health insurance? Do you have any idea how you would cover you medical bills if you were to become sick or injured?
Thousands of families are forced into bankruptcy every year. They can't afford their medical bills because they have poor or no insurance to help them out. Those bills go unpaid. The medical institutions write billions off in losses every year. Hospitals are going bankrupt. Taxpayer dollars are used to help cover costs. In the end, you pay for it through taxes and increased medical procedure costs that insurance companies won't cover. You pay whether you like it or not.
The government is the only entity that has the capability to regulate the insurance industry and force them to provide coverage to all regardless of their situation. Until that happens, health insurance companies will continue to operate in profit mode and not health care mode. The current medical legislation is a first step in putting them in check.
Do your research before your fingers meet the keyboard. Stop watching TV programs which are making hype so they can reap a profit. Research what is actually going on and think for yourself. You will feel much better and just might not be filled with so much hate.
Would you like some tissue paper to dry those tears of compassion?
Please, you think that "I am filled with so much hate" and I don’t care for my fellow man. Is that right? On what basis could you possibly draw this conclusion? Think about your logical reasoning (or lack thereof) for a moment.
Premise: Roark is opposed to the welfare state because it involves using government force and coercion to take what properly belongs to one man in order to help another man.
Conclusion: Therefore, Roark is a selfish S.O.B.
This is a non sequitur, because it assumes that the only way to help your fellow man is via the nanny-state. Have you ever heard of private, VOLUNTARY, charitable giving? While I don’t believe that any man has a moral OBLIGATION to help his fellow man (i.e., a complete stranger that is; family members are an exception), I do believe that helping a man in need is one of the most noble and praiseworthy things one could do.
Now, let me answer some of your questions. Have I ever been unemployed? Yes. Have I ever been uninsured? No. How is this possible? I have an individual health insurance policy. If we didn’t have a tax code that heavily favors employer-based health insurance, more people would have individual policies, and these policies would stay with the member regardless of his employment status.
Re: The pre-existing condition issue – It is incumbent on each individual to purchase a health insurance policy BEFORE he gets sick or injured, not afterward. If you roll the dice by not insuring yourself, why should that become someone else’s obligation to pay for your medical care after the fact? We live in America, where individual liberty is paramount. But freedom isn’t free, is it? One of the prices of liberty is individual responsibility, and that means accepting responsibility for your actions or lack thereof (e.g., not buying health insurance BEFORE you get sick, in this case).
I agree that we all end-up paying for uncompensated care, but I would rather have a system where those who are irresponsible have to pay a severe penalty first (i.e., personal bankruptcy), before the rest of us have to make up the difference in higher premiums.
For those who are truly in need and can’t afford health insurance or medical care (and there will always be people in need – albeit far less than under a welfare / entitlement state), there is private, charitable giving to fill the gap.
Private charitable giving is moral because it is VOLUNTARY, and thus, it does not involve the use of government force and coercion to steal property from one American to help another.
Here’s a quote by Walter Williams that summarizes the argument quite succinctly:
"There are people in need of help. Charity is one of the nobler human motivations. The act of reaching into one's own pockets to help a fellow man in need is praiseworthy and laudable. Reaching into someone else's pocket is despicable and worthy of condemnation."
"This is a non sequitur, because it assumes that the only way to help your fellow man is via the nanny-state. Have you ever heard of private, VOLUNTARY, charitable giving? While I don’t believe that any man has a moral OBLIGATION to help his fellow man (i.e., a complete stranger that is; family members are an exception), I do believe that helping a man in need is one of the most noble and praiseworthy things one could do."
Every statistic collected in the past 30 years shows that private charity and donation has almost no impact on poverty or homelessness, but Government spending on support programs that educate and enable the poorest and least educated Americans DO provide a measurable and long-lasting positive impact.
See, it's the Jesus parable. I know that you know it, because you're a Conservative. "Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime."
Contrary to popular (and wrong) Conservative opinion, this does NOT equate to: "Leave people out to dry and they'll learn through the school of Hard Knocks, but help them out and they'll get lazy and stupid". What it DOES mean is that it is the duty of every member of society to ensure that their fellow human beings are given every opportunity to live life to the fullest, no matter the cost, because our society cannot move forward if we do not give everyone a chance to truly contribute.
"Re: The pre-existing condition issue – It is incumbent on each individual to purchase a health insurance policy BEFORE he gets sick or injured, not afterward. If you roll the dice by not insuring yourself, why should that become someone else’s obligation to pay for your medical care after the fact? We live in America, where individual liberty is paramount. But freedom isn’t free, is it? One of the prices of liberty is individual responsibility, and that means accepting responsibility for your actions or lack thereof (e.g., not buying health insurance BEFORE you get sick, in this case)."
See, here you demonstrate a marked lack of knowledge regarding the Affordable Care Act (NOT Obamacare, as it was written and passed by CONGRESS, the Legislative Branch, not the Executive Branch. Obama simply agreed to enforce it by signing it. Learn how our government works before you start using inaccurate names gleaned from Fox). The truth is that it is now just illegal to not have a form of health insurance. The taxpayers are not going to suddenly fund the care of sick and injured people who lack insurance. This mandatory insurance is actually a policy suggested by Republicans during the Clinton Administration, so it speaks volumes about Republican ideals when they oppose the idea simply because it was brought up by Democrats this time. Now, when a person is injured or sick and cannot afford care, but lacks insurance, they will be treated and held criminally liable for all costs. There is a way for them to be sent to jail, which increases the incentive to simply buy insurance. Not that the insurance costs much anyways, and often saves people more money than not having it at all.
Insurance WOULD have cost even less if the Single-Payer plan had been preserved, because it would have offered people the option of a new Insurance company that would be run the same way as any other Government program: Democratically, by the will of the people. Rather than be made expensive because of massive salaries for executives, Government healthcare would have low, affordable rates for people, while offering the same or close to same quality service as normal Insurers. The overhead being so low, they could afford lower rates or higher quality services. The rates would be determined by income, to ensure that the wealthiest Americans wouldn't abuse the cheaper rates by signing up for Government healthcare, and the poor could afford it since it wouldn't be charging them more than they can afford.
The Single-Payer plan that the Democrats wanted (but were forced to reject in favor of the Republican idea of forced enrollment) also didn't force people to get Insurance, so suck on that tidbit :P
"I agree that we all end-up paying for uncompensated care, but I would rather have a system where those who are irresponsible have to pay a severe penalty first (i.e., personal bankruptcy), before the rest of us have to make up the difference in higher premiums."
They do have to pay a severe penalty already, it's called prolonged illness and possible death. While that might not seem like a bad thing (to Republicans), rest assured that opting to not speak to a doctor about a piercing pain because you can't afford to pay him is WAY worse than declaring bankruptcy. Bankruptcy lasts 10 years on your credit, a failing kidney or an arterial blockage lasts... well, a hell of a lot longer, if you're lucky and can live that long without treatment.
"Private charitable giving is moral because it is VOLUNTARY, and thus, it does not involve the use of government force and coercion to steal property from one American to help another."
As opposed to what you are doing, which is actively opposing the giving of aid to those in need, simply because it handled by the government rather than the local church? The church, which tell you that you'll go to hell if you are not caring enough in life, and thus coerces you to give money to church programs that help the needy in an immediate but not long-lasting way? Perhaps if you charitably provided an education for poor people, your argument would hold water, but since you don't, it doesn't.
See, it is more moral to have all people in society give what they have to aid the entire society, because A) it cuts down on crime, which is ALWAYS a result of poverty or lack of access to needed services, like therapy, B) it reduces overall suffering as well as changing the relativity of suffering (the effect of perceived suffering created by the extravagant lifestyles of the richest people as compared to the extreme poverty experienced by the lowest 20% of citizens, C) it increases the happiness of all citizens because we do not fear falling into an abyss of poverty since we know that the rest of society will be there to help us LEARN to become better people while supporting us when we fall, so that when we get back up we can then help OTHERS who fall or stumble in their journey of life.
1) I don't know what "statistics" you are referring to, because those I have seen say exactly the opposite (see Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, et. al.). Common sense alone tells us that private, charitable giving is far more efficient than government welfare spending, not only because the donors have the proper incentives (they are spending their own hard-earned money, rather than the taxpayers' money), but because they can distinguish between those who truly need help (e.g., the mentally or physically disabled, people who are sick or injured due to no fault of their own, etc.) vs. those who refuse to help themselves (or intentionally harm themselves - e.g., drug users).
When help is transformed into a privilege, rather than a birthright, there is no guarantee that one will receive it. Those who truly can't help themselves are not going to change their behavior one way or the other, because by definition, they are helpless. Those who are indolent or malingering are far more likely to change their behavior, because they will be at the risk of being exposed for the parasites they are and left with no help at all. This has the net effect of drastically REDUCING the number of people in need.
Furthermore, allowing people to keep more of what they earn not only provides a greater incentive to create NEW wealth (for everyone), it gives donors more resources to use when freely choosing to help others. Instead of the government dividing EXISTING wealth and controlling who receives it, the donors get to decide where the money and resources go. I trust the judgment of my fellow Americans far more than the President (no matter who is in office) and his 535 accomplices in the Congress (no matter which party is in the majority).
Besides, if private, charitable giving is insufficient, how did the indigent survive prior to the Progressive Era? There may have been a few cases where people were left to die in the streets, but that happens in places like Skid Row today; despite a massive welfare state and generous private, charitable giving.
2) I like your "It is better to teach a man to fish" metaphor. (And you don't need religion to understand this common-sense principle, either.) In fact, this is something private donors must consider when helping others. Just look at Haiti, sub-Sahara Africa, and numerous other places where foreign aid by private charities and NGOs has done far more harm than good. Yes, you can love someone to death if you destroy their incentive (and ability) to be self-sufficient. Consider food aid. How is a local farmer ever going to compete with free food from abroad? The answer is: he won't, and that means the local farming economy will be destroyed by good intentions. I watched a Frontline documentary on Haiti recently ("Battle for Haiti," Jan. 11, 2011), and they interviewed a lady who sells food for a living. She was practically begging all the do-gooders of the world to stop sending aid, because it is destroying her business. Helping a country devastated by an earthquake in a dire emergency is one thing. Continuing to do so over years (or decades) is another.
And how, exactly, do you "teach a man to fish" when you give him a government hand-out? Are you saying that Obamacare teaches people how to pay for their own medical care? (And yes, it is Obamacare as far as I am concerned. Obama's party had complete control of both houses of Congress. If he didn't like the legislation, he should have vetoed it. When he signed the disingenuously named, "Affordable Care Act," he assumed ownership over it.)
I don't think teaching people that it is morally acceptable to feel entitled to the wealth that has been created by others (and subsequently stolen by our government; ostensibly for their benefit) is the best way to "teach them how to fish" for themselves. Do you? I am reminded of a joke told by Murray N. Rothbard. He said, "The only difference between a highway robber and the government is that the former does not patronize you afterward by telling you he stole your money for your own good.
I also don't think making it more difficult for businesses to hire people due to onerous labor laws (which heavily favor union membership), the minimum wage (which prices many people out of the labor market; who is going to hire an inexperienced worker at $7.25 / hr. when his labor is only worth $5 / hr.?), and mandatory benefits (like the numerous Obamacare rules, restrictions, and penalties) is the best way to "teach a man to fish," either. For isn't it true that one of the most effective job training programs a man can receive is ON-THE-JOB training? That's kind of hard to pull-off when people are unemployed, don't you think?
If you would like to debate the government's proper role in education, let's wait until Mr. Fiore does an editorial cartoon on this subject.
P.S. - I am not a conservative. I wouldn't even describe myself as a social liberal / fiscal conservative, because Dems believe they have the right to tell us what to eat and who we can associate with, while the GOP has a history of growing the size and scope of government well beyond its constitutional limits. Rather, I am a social libertarian / fiscal libertarian. Which is to say, I believe we need a separation of economy and state, just as much as we need a separation of church and state. As for Fox News, I don't get the channel, but I do watch John Stossel's show regularly on Hulu.com (he is one of the very few libertarians in the mainstream media, today). You should watch his show, because he will "teach you how to fish" for the truth, instead of this "liberal - progressive" snake-oil you have been indoctrinated with by "news" sources like the N.Y. Times-Picayune, NewsWEAK [sic], and National Progressive Radio (NPR).
If private charity could solve our problems, we wouldn't be having this discussion. Our rich people are richer than they've ever been in history, and they're paying less taxes than they ever have. Where's all the charitable giving?
The simple fact is, most of the upper one percent are sitting on vast amounts of wealth and aren't going to willingly part with any of it. Either we can force them to share, or we can watch our civilization collapse.
See "The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation". The super-rich pooled their wealth to form a giant of a Charity, worth around 38 billion dollars, all with the claimed aim of reducing poverty and hunger in Africa.
Its just too bad they're partnering with / buying stock in some of the most historically evil corporations on the planet. And that they supposedly pressure the farmers they support into using growth hormones, and encourage them to sell their yields on the world market rather than to their own communities.
Maybe they're not as bad as all that... but then they've had this 38 billion dollars a good long while now, and poverty and starvation in Africa are still on the rapid rise. I'm sure one has to think a great deal about the best way to use that much money, but if its really there to rescue people, shouldn't it be put to work? You can't tell me that 38 billion couldn't buy a few dozen or a few hundred African villages at least a few years of food, security, sanitation and stability, give communities time to build foundations and re-find order. and wouldn't that be worth it?
Isn't that what a Charity is supposed to be about?
Where have I made the claim that private, charitable giving will "solve our problems?" I am not proposing an end-all, be-all "solution." That's impossible in an imperfect world. Rather, I am proposing a far superior alternative.
First of all, you asked: "Where's all the charitable giving?" Well, much of it has been crowded-out by the government. Americans are very generous, but it is hard to give away money that you are not allowed to keep for yourself. If Uncle Sam steals a dollar from me, that is one less dollar I have to give to charity.
Second, government welfare is NOT a morally defensible means to help the poor, because it requires stealing money from one man in order to help another man through the threat (and ultimate use) of force. This deontological / natural rights (i.e., self-ownership / property rights) argument alone is sufficient to call for an end to the welfare state.
But just in case you are a consequentialist who believes the "ends justify the means," you cannot deny that creating an entitlement program does not change people's behavior and encourage even more dependence on nanny-government. If receiving help was a privilege, rather than a birthright, you would see a drastic reduction in the number of people asking for help. Why? Because the vast majority of people receiving government assistance don't need it! (If you would like to see the facts, click here - http://www.creators.com/opinion/walter-williams/where-best-to-be-poor.ht... ). To be "poor" in America is to be considered very rich in most parts of the world. People aren't starving here. We have so much wealth and abundance that obesity is one of our greatest health threats.
The problem I have with the political left is not your intentions (I believe most of you sincerely mean to do good). The problem I have is: a) Your methods - i.e., legalized plunder; b) Your historical illiteracy - the record on socialism is clear - it does not work, and it has been an outright human catastrophe when carried to its logical extreme - i.e., communism; c) Your lack of understanding of economics - i.e., understanding how best to make (sometimes painful) trade-offs of scarce resources, which have alternative uses; and d) Your willingness to categorically spend infinite sums of (other people's) money in a vain attempt to create a utopian fantasy world - i.e., a world in which the Gini coefficient is zero, regardless of the amount of wealth each person created both for himself and for his fellow men.
You lament that "most of the upper one percent are sitting on vast amounts of wealth and aren't going to willingly part with any of it." That's idiotic! For starters, those in the upper one percent are not a permanent class. If that were true, you would still see the Carnegie’s, Mellon’s, Rockefeller’s, and Vanderbilt’s at the top of the Forbes list of richest Americans, but you don’t, do you? Furthermore, there is not a fixed amount of wealth in the world. This is known as the "zero-sum" fallacy. While it is true that there might be a fixed amount of wealth at a given point in time (perhaps, for a nanosecond), wealth is constantly being created (via new products and services) and destroyed (e.g., when you eat a hamburger, it can't be reused). Fortunately, wealth is created in the U.S. economy far more quickly than it is destroyed (the most recent financial crisis notwithstanding). Hence, the reason for our relentless march toward an ever higher standard of living FOR EVERYONE (again, if you need to see the facts, click on the aforementioned link, above).
If a rich man hoarded his wealth and never "willingly part[ed] with any of it," as you claim, the world would be a much poorer place, indeed. But what might the rich man do with his money instead? Hmm, let me see... Most wealthy people are intelligent enough to invest their untapped savings. And what do you think happens to this money? It is used to make capital investments that spur innovation and greater efficiencies, and thus, makes us ALL richer. If a rich man was stupid enough to hide his money under the mattress, its value would erode through inflation. Even in a zero inflation world (hypothetical, of course, no thanks to the Federal Reserve), there would be a huge opportunity cost to not putting that money to work.
Stated another way, we don't live in a sandbox with a set number of toys, where if one kid hoards his toys and refuses to share them, that means the other kids won't have any to play with. If you would like a simple lesson in economics, you might start by understanding what the term, "economic surplus" means. Hint: Have you ever asked yourself why both parties to a free and voluntary transaction thank one another afterward? It's because both sides feel they are better off than before. This is one way that wealth is created.
If people like yourself (on the political left) focused less of your time and attention on how to empower our government to divide EXISTING wealth, and chose to focus it on how our government can leave people alone to create NEW wealth, far more people would be lifted out of poverty. It's not merely a coincidence that those countries with the greatest levels of economic freedom are also the richest and most prosperous. The freedom of buyers and sellers to engage in mutually beneficial, VOLUNTARY trade forces competition to take place, and in turn, this leads to more specialization, greater efficiencies, and more innovation (via capital investments by - guess who? - rich people, as well as the middle-class). It also leads to a greater number of exchanges of value-for-value taking place, and thus, more "economic surplus" being generated.
In the long-run, free and voluntary trade (i.e., free-market capitalism) is the only proven method to lift people out of poverty permanently. Just ask the Chinese and the Indians, who have moved away from socialism and top-down, centralized-planning in recent decades, rather than toward it (e.g., Bush's crony capitalism and Obamunism).
In the meantime, private, VOLUNTARY charitable giving is more than sufficient to help the truly destitute (as opposed to the indolent and the malingerers).
Like I said, the government has been bending over backwards more and more over the past forty years or so to serve the interests of the well-to-do. Their taxes are lower than they've been in a long time. Just how far do we have to go before the wealthy decide they've got enough money to spare and can start showering us with their benevolence? This line of thinking, if I may call it that, is kind of like in the old days when they used to sacrifice virgins to appease the volcano gods. When the volcano erupted anyway, it could only be because they hadn't sacrificed ENOUGH virgins.
No, billionaires by nature tend to be money-grubbers. That's how they get to be billionaires. Most of the time when they spend money it's because they're investing it in order to get even more money in return later on. That can create jobs in the short run, but in the long term is going to make the problem even worse.
"But taking my money is stealing! Waaaaah!" Let's not forget that you wouldn't have the property you do if not for a country built with stolen labor (e.g. slavery) on stolen land. ("But," you say, "*I* didn't steal it!" So what? If you're found to be in possession of stolen property, you're legally obligated to give it back, even if you weren't the one who stole it.) But even if we forget about that, while you do have a (moral and legal) right to your money and property, that right has to be balanced against other people's rights to life and liberty.
In a world where there were all kinds of well-paying entry level jobs that employers couldn't find anybody to take, I'd believe that poor people are poor because they're lazy. That's not the world we live in. We have ten percent unemployment. Unskilled jobs (and these days even skilled ones) typically have many times more qualified applicants than there are openings.
You evidently see socialism vs. capitalism as a black-and-white absolute choice. It isn't. Not every country whose government helps people in need becomes the USSR. Just about *every* industrialized country provides universal health care, for example, including staunchly capitalist ones like Singapore and Taiwan. (And if the USSR proves that communism doesn't work, what about capitalism? It certainly works for the few at the top, but for the rest of us there's global poverty, sweatshops, war, environmental degradation....)
Regarding my understanding of economics, I do know enough to understand that barring a major influx of new wealth like a land boom or gold rush, annual economic growth is typically measured in single percentage digits. Do the math. If the total wealth of the upper one percent is increasing more than the economy as a whole, then that means the rest of us are losing money.
As for your closing assertion that there's enough there to take care of the *truly* needy, it's nothing but self-serving wishful thinking on your part. Tell yourself this so you can sleep at night if you want to, but you're not fooling anyone else.
When I read your comments, I picture a man seething with rage at his lot in life. Stop drinking the "victimhood" Kool-Aid for a moment and start looking at the facts.
First of all, some (but certainly not all) rich people are greedy "money-grubbers," if you want to call them that. I will grant you this point. However, in a system of free and VOLUNTARY exchange (not to be confused with the crony capitalism strawman you attacked), a man can be the greediest S.O.B. on the planet, but unless he provides a product or service at a quality / price point less than his competitors, no customer is going to give him a dime. In a free-market, the only way to get wealthy is to create products and services someone is willing to pay for. If you don't like what a rich man earns, you are free to vote with your wallet and boycott his business. (You are NOT free to do the same when the IRS agent shows up at your doorstep, though. So much for the "public option" in healthcare. Meaning, the "option" you can't opt-out of. Your tax dollars are going to be collected no matter whether you like it or not. Just like K -> 12 public schools.)
As for reparations for slavery (or the land stolen from the Native-Americans)... All of the victims and all of the perpetrators are long since dead. Would you have us undue every crime committed in human history? And if so, how far back would you be willing to go?
You wrote, "Do the math. If the total wealth of the upper one percent is increasing more than the economy as a whole, then that means the rest of us are losing money." Well yes, mathematically speaking, this is a true statement. But when you think about it, this is a tautology that tells us nothing about how the real world works. Stated differently, what you are saying is, "If the rich get richer at a faster rate than everyone else, the only way they can continue getting richer at this higher rate is to take all the wealth away from everyone else." That's exactly what happened in the Soviet Union. A very small number of Communist Party leaders seized complete control (and ownership) over all the wealth in the economy, and everyone else owned virtually nothing. But did the Soviet economy keep growing? No, it stagnated and died. No one had an incentive to work. When no one is working, no one is producing. And so long as people continue to consume (even modest amounts), the existing wealth begins to decline (e.g., food is consumed or it spoils, buildings begin to crumble, and before you know it, the place looks like Detroit - see photos at - http://www.marchandmeffre.com/detroit/index.html; Detroit being the epitome of the welfare state in America).
I've heard this argument before. People on the left fear that if the "upper one percent" capture all the wealth, "the rest of us" will starve to death. Well, guess what, the rich will starve too! Because there is no way for them to maintain their existing wealth "if the rest if us" are sitting idle. Even in the cases where low-skilled workers have been replaced with machines (e.g., UAW auto-workers), most people adapt and find other ways to serve their fellow men by creating new products and services they desire. Unfortunately, the longer we give people welfare hand-outs, the less incentive they will have to evolve and fend for themselves (e.g., unemployment benefits being doled out for 99 weeks and counting...) That's how you end up with an economic black-hole like Detroit, Cuba, or the former USSR.
As I mentioned in my previous post, the "upper one percent" are not a permanent class in America. I used the "Robber Baron" families as an example, but this isn't even true today when observed year to year, let alone over several generations. The term, "upper one percent" is merely a statistical category. Meaning, there will always be an upper one percent - by definition, but the people in this group are not the same flesh and blood human-beings year-in and year-out. (Of course, this is also true for the bottom one percent, or any other point on the income distribution.) The fact is that people move BETWEEN statistical income categories through-out their life-times. For example, a man in his 40's - with 20+ years of work experience - is far more likely to be earning more than he was right out of college (or high school), when he had little or no work experience. Likewise, when this man retires, his income will probably decrease (although his net assets - or wealth - is likely to be higher due to a life-time of saving and compounding interest). When the man dies, his assets will be passed on to his hiers (and/or given to charity). If he has more than one heir, his wealth will be divided and dispersed. Meaning, it will be less concentrated and more likely to fall out of that "upper one percent" statistical category.
If the people in the "upper one percent" never changed, and they were - in fact - able to accumulate wealth at a faster rate than "the rest of us" over a sustained period of time, you would have a point. But the truth of the matter is that competition and "creative destruction" lead to constant dynamism in our economy, with individual people constantly moving up (and sometimes down, but mostly up) the economic ladder. If economics were a zero-sum game, we would have the same standard of living we had prior to the Industrial Revolution, but we don't, do we?
If you would like to read an excellent book that explains why our standard of living is going to continue to increase at an ever higher rate (for everyone), I highly recommend, "The Rational Optimist," by Matt Ridley. If you can spare 16 minutes of your day, the following lecture is worth watching - http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_ridley_when_ideas_have_sex.html . An excerpt from the book can be read at - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870412290457531524225258624... (NOTE: If you can't view the entire article when you click on this link, try cutting & pasting the URL.) In the book, Ridley addresses many of the concerns you have raised, including "global poverty, sweatshops, war, [and] environmental degradation..."
Finally, some parting thoughts on free-market capitalism:
"The great tragedy of capitalism is that it produces riches so abundant that people tend to take them for granted, imagining that they can hobble and destroy its productive machinery without great economic or social consequence." - Joseph Schumpeter
"Capitalism is the worst economic system, except for all the others." - Winston Churchill
My mental picture of you isn't any more flattering than yours of me, but is there really any point in going there? All we'd be elucidating on is our own prejudices. Yeah, I know, I'm one of those highly irrational people who chooses the rich and powerful to get angry at. The truly sensible are outraged at immigrants, the poor, and such -- those who can't fight back too well.
As regards this country being built on stolen land and slave labor, you miss the point. Yes, we DON'T know who would own your money and other assets if all of those massive thefts had never taken place. But we CAN be reasonably sure that it wouldn't be you. (For "you" here, read as anybody with wealth and power who is intent on not giving any of it up, not necessarily you personally.) The point is that it makes mincemeat out of your "It's MINE, so if you take any of it away then that's stealing!" argument. We don't know whose it is, so it's not unreasonable to expect you to share a little with people in need. As is, you're in the position of someone who knows that the cards are stacked in your favor, so you cry "cheating" at any suggestion of shuffling the deck.
Re: your argument about class mobility, if we think of billionaires as cancers on our economy and our democracy, which they are, then you're effectively saying that we shouldn't worry about cancer, because it's always possible for new and bigger tumors to form. Any physician could tell you that this isn't a very good argument. I'd add that what mobility exists in this country is in part due to estate taxes and progressive income taxation, things that people like you are working to do away with. And yes, there will always be an upper one percent. The problem isn't that this class exists; the problem is that it controls something like thirty-five percent of the wealth.
Once again, you view capitalism vs. socialism as black and white. Either our government is completely laissez-faire, or we're the Soviet Union. In reality, all successful nations so far have had mixed economies. If you want to know how a pure capitalist economy would play out, try Somalia, or maybe post-Soviet Russia. Or just go to your local game store and purchase a copy of Monopoly for a pretty accurate simulation of what would happen if your ideas were fully put into practice. It lasts for about forty-five minutes, and ends with one person owning everything and everyone else destitute,
Do you own an iPod? If so, shame on you. Steve Jobs is a billionaire, and according to you, this means that he is "a cancer on our economy and our democracy."
Do you drink Coca-Cola or watch ABC shows on t.v.? If so, shame on you. Warren Buffett is a billionaire... I could go on and on.
Did either one of these men steal anything from you or exploit you when they sold you their products and services? Of course not, because you could have FREELY chosen to forgo purchasing them. Only government can force you to buy services you don't want or need. Your local bureaucrat has vastly more power over your life than any CAPITALIST billionaire living in the world today (i.e., members of the Saudi royal family and other non-capitalist, tyrant-billionaires are a different story).
Re: Somalia, I have heard this argument before. In fact, there is an argument that despite the deplorable conditions in that country under anarchy, the people living there are actually better off than they were under a dictatorship. Regardless, the end-state for libertarianism is not anarchy; it is anarcho-capitalism, where private property is protected by private police forces and private courts of law. I'm not an anarcho-capitalist per se, because I don't think it is feasible, but I do agree that it is morally justified. Rather, I am a min-archist (bare minimum government).
In a previous message, you asserted that private charitable giving would be insufficient. Given the fact that government theft and force is immoral, doesn't the burden of proof for this assertion fall on you? After all, I am not the one destroying your liberty or stealing your private property by conscripting Uncle Sam to do my bidding.
I think you should take some time to understand the Lockean theory of property rights. For example, how do you explain the dirt-poor immigrant who comes to this country and earns a fortune. He didn't benefit from slavery or any past injustice in American history, yet he achieved wealth. Is he not entitled to reap what he has sown with his own time, talent, and energy? Certainly, he should be required to pay taxes for the PROPER functions of government (i.e., rule of law, national defense, etc.), but why should he be required to pay for another man's food, housing, and healthcare?
P.S. - I need to make an important correction to my previous post. I wrote, "Mathematically speaking, this is a true statement" in response to your comment, "Do the math. If the total wealth of the upper one percent is increasing more than the economy as a whole, then that means the rest of us are losing money." What I should have written was, "... this CAN BE a true statement" under certain circumstances.
For example, if "the upper one percent" increase their wealth by 5%, the weighted average for the economy as a whole grows at 2%, and "the rest of us" "lose money" at -1% per year, this is certainly possible. Fortunately, this does not reflect reality. If it did, you would be crapping in an outhouse and reading by candle-light, rather than enjoying our ever increasing standard of living by writing posts on this website.
Furthermore, if "the rest of us" never grew our wealth at all (meaning a growth rate of 0%), "the upper one percent" could grow their wealth by an infinite amount, and they would never control 100% of the total wealth in our economy. Why? Because we would still have the same level of wealth in ABSOLUTE terms, if not in RELATIVE terms. Meaning, as a percentage of the total wealth, ours might approach 0% as a mathematical identity, but it would never reach 0%. And again, this assumes "the upper one percent" are the same flesh-and-blood human beings year-in and year-out.
But let's assume you are correct, doesn't this beg the question. If "the rest of us" were to consume our wealth at a higher rate than we produce it (meaning, a net negative growth rate), don't we deserve to lose it over time? And likewise, if "the upper one percent" do the exact opposite and produce wealth faster than they consume it, don't they deserve to keep it?
Again, in a free-market (with private property protection and the rule of law; which are necessary government functions), no one is forcing you to buy a product or service, nor are they forcing you to work for anyone else. Only government can do that.
I do not in fact own an I-Phone. (My personal use of communications technology might just be a bit behind the times. I am proud of having boldly switched away from rotary dial.) But I must admit to owning a PC with a Microsoft operating system. Some of that company's owners are even worse billionaires than the I-Phone guy.
So, sad to say, this outs me as a shameless hypocrite. I could indeed have avoided purchasing any products that enrich any billionaires, by moving to Wyoming and starting an exciting new career as a hermit.
I think your last paragraph pretty much sums it up. You want government to look after *your* interests, but don't much care what happens to anybody else. It's absolutely necessary for the survival of society to pay for police who will hunt down somebody who steals your smart phone; but those millions of people dying or going bankrupt because they can't afford health care? No big deal.
This will probably be my last reply in this thread, as real life calls, and it seems clear that neither of us is going to persuade the other. Have a nice life.
Well that's what you get for trusting the government! If only we could just scrap this socialist BS and go back to the original intent of our founders. Go back to being a free nation instead of moving closer to a dictatorship
Your claims are absurd.
1) How is this legalized plunder? If you make a huge amount of money, there should be no problem using part of that to aid others less fortunate. This bill might be a step closer to socialism but I see no problem with that. Socialism works great in Norway, Sweden, Finland, etc and there is no reason why we shouldn't get the benefits of free education and healthcare. Socialism in these forms is actually good for the economy would be helped as people could adapt to a changing world by switching jobs without the worry of insurance, reducing pressure on small business to provide insurance and increasing the amount of educated workers.
2) The Constitution doesn't say it cannot be done. The Constitution was written over 200 years ago and we cannot expect our founding fathers to predict the needs of a changing nation. By your logic, as the Constitution doesn't mention an air force, we should get rid of ours.
3) The CBO has proven that healthcare reform will save our country billions. US healthcare already is horrible and while this reform will not change that, the money saved could be put toward this.
"Obamacare" is a step toward socialism but I think a much bigger step is needed. Free market healthcare is a failure. The US spends $15 trillion a year on healthcare, the most in the world and we still live shorter than most of industrialized world. Medical errors in the US kill more people than cancer. Attempts to make profits in hospitals puts patients at risk for poor care, over works nurses and doctors and damages the quality of care by cuts. Little effort is put toward solving diseases, as no profit can be found if the patient never comes back. Medicine taken for life and cosmetics are much more profitable.
If millions of American lack healthcare, we have a moral right to provide it to them. The preamble of the Constitution says one of the reasons to make the Constitution was to "promote the general Welfare" of the country and universal healthcare does just that. Call it socialism but we need it anyways.
So it appears I agree with you. The healthcare reform is a failure because it doesn't reform enough. We aren't asking for anyone kidneys (unless your dead) we only ask you to stop spending so much money in a broken free market healthcare and use this for the greater good for the US, in which you and every other person will have access to quality care.
1) I have already answered the moral question in a previous reply (see my response to Anonymous on Fri, 2011-01-21 00:31, below). If socialism is good for the economy, then reductio ad absurdum, why stop with healthcare? Let's socialize the entire economy? Oh wait, we already tried that in the Soviet Union, East Germany, China (under Mao), North Korea, Cuba, etc., and it was a human catastrophe. Even if one were to reject my deontological / natural law argument against socialism, one would have to reject it on a consquentialist basis, alone.
2) The Constitution grants limited, enumerated powers to the federal government. Meaning, the government cannot engage in activities for which it has not been given specific authority by "We the People." This is so fundamental that Alexander Hamilton (who later, unfortunately, abused the Constitution with his "implied powers" doctrine) was opposed to the Bill of Rights. In Federalist Paper No. 84, Hamilton wrote, "(B)ills of rights... are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous... For why declare that things shall not be done [by Congress] which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given [to Congress] by which restrictions may be imposed?"
Now, as to your claim that the Constitution is more than 200 years old (and thus, I presume, out of date), have you ever heard of Article V? It is the process for amending the Constitution, something which has been done as recently as 1992 (27th Amendment). I agree that the establishment of the Air Force might have been unconstitutional. But please don't forget that it was originally created within the Army in 1907. The Marines (another example that "liberal – progressives" like to use) remains a division of the Navy.
3) The CBO has hardly proven anything. They are required by law to do a simple "plug and chug" analysis without any consideration given to how people's incentives / disincentives will change under the new law.
I agree that "U.S. healthcare already is horrible" (at least in terms of its costs), but I am not arguing that we should repeal Obamacare and return to the status quo ante. The only way to fix healthcare is to promote more choice and competition, which will lead to far greater innovation, improvements in efficiency, lower prices, and higher quality. To do this, we need to eliminate the third-party payer problem as much as we possibly can, as well as all the counter-productive rules and regulations that impede competition, rather than foster it (e.g., the prohibition against sellling insurance across state lines; the favorable tax treatment given to employer-based insurance, but not granted to those of us who buy individual policies; etc.)
Finally, with regard to the General Welfare Clause, this is what James Madison (the acknowledged "Father of the Constitution") wrote in Federalist Paper No. 41:
"Some... have grounded a very fierce attack against the Constitution, on the language in which it is defined. It has been urged and echoed, that the [Constitution's] power '...to provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States,' amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare.
Had no other enumeration or definition of the powers of the Congress been found in the Constitution than the general expressions just cited, the authors of the objection might have had some color for it... But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon?"
In other words, as Madison wrote separately: "If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one ..."
Wait, socialism is legalized plunder?
Yes, of course. Here is the basic test of what constitutes legalized plunder, by Frederic Bastiat:
"The war against illegal plunder has been fought since the beginning of the world. But how is... legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish this law without delay... If such a law is not abolished immediately it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system."
In other words, no man can morally delegate to his government an authority which he does not possess as an individual.
If you would like to understand this concept better, please see "The Philosophy of Liberty" at - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muHg86Mys7I . This runs only 8 minutes.
See also, Walter Williams lecture titled, "Legality vs. Morality" at - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhkHEoFfqp0 . This runs only 7 minutes.
If you can refute this logic, then I would be very interested to hear your counter-argument.
Two words for you Howard: Commerce Clause.
Health Insurance is an inter-state enterprise. Therefore Fed govt. has jurisdiction based on regulation of inter-state commerce.
Two words for you: Federalist Papers. In case you didn't know, this is the reader's guide for the U.S. Constitution.
You are correct to note that Congress has the authority "To regulate Commerce... among the several States." However, since the Congress is specifically prohibiting commerce from taking place INTER-state, and rather, it is forcing health insurers to operate INTRA-state, I don't see how this could possibly apply. In fact, if you had read the Federalist Papers, you would know that the original meaning and intent of the Commerce Clause was to facilitate INTER-state commerce, not hinder it. Our Founding Fathers were gravely concerned that trade-wars and protectionism between the states would become outright military wars.
Furthermore, as you should know, the individual mandate in Obamacare requires every American to engage in a commercial activity. In other words, Congress is trying to regulate the INACTIVITY of commerce. Even under the disastrous Wickard v. Filburn (1942) decision, which stretched the authority of the Commerce Clause well beyond its original meaning and intent, Congress has never been granted the authority to regulate an activity that isn't taking place to begin with.
"Federalist Papers. In case you didn't know, this is the reader's guide for the U.S. Constitution."
Are you suggesting that all the framers were Federalists? The Federalist Papers are relevant only in an academic study of the Constitution, and it's an incomplete academic study if that's all you read. When you get down to it, Federalists were nothing more than a right wing political party.
Upon re-reading this comment, I now realize that "Anonymous" is confusing the Federalist Papers with the Federalist Party (most notably, Alexander Hamilton and John Adams). George Washington detested political parties and was not a member of one.
Please keep in mind that the Federalist Papers were written by Alexander Hamilton, JAMES MADISON, and John Jay.
Madison was a member of the Republican Party (not to be confused with today's GOP), along with Thomas Jefferson. Madison and Jefferson were staunchly in favor of a limited federal government. So much so that they had a major falling out with Hamilton and Adams. Of course, Hamilton and Adams went at it, as well. (So much for those good ol' days when political rhetoric was SUPPOSEDLY much more mild than it is today.)
John Jay was a member of the Federalist Party, but he only wrote a handful of the Federalist Papers (i.e., 5 out of 85 total).
As a libertarian, I will certainly concede that there were some good arguments made by the Anti-Federalists to reject the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, but what does this have to do with the constitutionality of Obamacare?
Gosh, if the signers of the Constitution didn't give the federal government this enumerated power, what makes you think the Anti-Federalist would have?
If "liberal-progressives" understood the original meaning and intent of the Constitution, they would have to admit that per the 10th Amendment, Obamacare is only legal at the state level. (This would not change the fact that Obamacare is immoral, though, because theft is theft, no matter whether an individual commits the crime while acting alone, or conscripts his government to do so on his behalf.)
As for the "Living Constitution" doctrine (espoused by the political left), this is utter nonsense. In order to address the issue of the "evolving standards of decency" in a modern society, the Founding Fathers gave us a remedy. It is the process for amending the Constitution outlined in Article V.
Yes, as we can see the bottom line is you only care about your wallet. Congratulations for exposing yourself as lower than a snakes belly.
Nice well thought out cogent reply.
Cogent reply, yes. Well thought out? Hardly.
Please see my reply to Anonymous on Fri, 2011-01-21 02:46 (above).
Legalized plunder via the welfare state vs. private, VOLUNTARY, charitable giving... Which method is truly moral and which isn't?
It's sad that I even need to ask this question.
Too bad... No free healthcare for illegal aliens, or people who refuse to work. Worst of all, no denying lifesaving healthcare to disabled children and adults who can't pay taxes or work at government works projects.
Oh BTW we already have free healthcare in America. In Maine, we have Mainecare and it routinely denies coverage to homeless people and disabled children. Good try though.
I'm not a supporter of repeal, and I'm always glad to see Republican douchebaggery exposed, but you aren't mentioning the eight-hundred pound gorilla in the room: the individual mandate.
Contrary to what you're portraying, a lot of insurance companies actually *supported* this bill, because it gives them a captive customer base, in exchange for a few relatively minor restrictions that they'll probably find ways to get around.
I agree with this comment, with one exception: We should repeal Obamacare!
You are absolutely correct to point out that Congress and the Obama administration got played by the health insurance industry.
Crony capitalism is not to be confused with the real thing (i.e., free-market capitalism). So long as the government has power and privileges to peddle, the political class will always find willing buyers. No amount of restrictions on lobbying can stop this from happening.
James Madison warned us about this in Federalist Paper No. 10, but then the liberal-progressives succeeded in stretching the original meaning and intent of the Commerce Clause beyond all recognition during the New Deal era.
I'd still like to know how increasing the deficit by over a trillion dollars will reduce the deficit by two hundred billion. I'm sure Obama's a smart guy, but I'm wondering about his math.
But, more importantly, I'd like to know why all the focus on affordable healthcare is based on making healthcare insurance available to more people, rather than on reducing the actual cost of healthcare.
I wonder if you can imagine the difference between a world where people without coverage actually have to spend more going to the emergency room (where we end up covering the huge expense because they can't) and one where people with coverage can go to a regular provider and pay a lot less? Dwell on that for a little bit, and you may not need all the big words explained to you.
More information about formatting options