Health Care and the Supremes: So Much for the Revolution
by Charles Goyette: If
You Meet the Buddha on the Road
Of course the
State doesn’t create any wealth. But it sure keeps busy moving it
around a lot. The governing classes and bureaucracies have been
doing it so long and on such a ballooning scale that by now it is
inexcusable to have missed what happens when the State stovepipes
money to a particular recipient group: costs go through the roof.
You may have
noticed the hand of the state in blowing up the housing bubble.
If you came along too late for that show, look at the education
bubble instead. Student loan debt is now over a trillion dollars,
even larger than total U.S. credit card debt. And it keeps growing.
All that State guaranteed loan money has simply blown up the cost
of higher education, transferring wealth from students to the professorial
classes and education elite, and further trivializing education
with silly, taxpayer-subsidized classes. (Why, really, should a
university offer three credit hours to study Lady Gaga? Would it
be so difficult for someone that interested to just, y’know, read
It’s not so
difficult to understand the impact of the State and its largesse.
Imagine a law that had the state subsidizing hamburger consumption,
agreeing to pay a substantial part of the cost of every hamburger
eaten. Hamburger sales would skyrocket and prices would head to
the moon. And then if the State capped prices too, hamburger shortages
would soon become a fact of life.
Now the State,
which has almost completely ruined medical care that was the envy
of the world, is busy channeling more money to the industry. And
all eyes are turned toward arguments before the Supreme Court that
will determine just how thoroughly the State will be able to destroy
the physician- patient relationship as it stovepipes money to Big
Pharma and corporate medicine.
The oral arguments
before the court have been characterized by typical lawyerly casuistry,
arguments and inquiries which presage a hair-splitting outcome.
While the court is capable of striking down the mandates in part,
if it does so, it will be in a way that changes, but does not arrest,
the further socialization of medicine.
arguments Senator Leahy said that it would be hard to understand
how the Supreme Court could strike down the health care mandates
without overturning Social Security. "I don’t think they are
prepared to do that," he said.
Both Obamacare and Social Security rely on the same view of the
State and its power to order about the affairs of the individual.
And that is the real issue at hand. It is an issue the justices,
themselves political appointees and servitors of the state, won’t
confront. In fact, even if the justices were utterly convinced that
Social Security were unconstitutional, they would still leave it
intact to collapse in its own ashes. There would be none of the
interminable media chatter about Justice Kennedy and his swing vote.
Court is not alone in its refusal to address the real issue of the
State and its power. The Republicans, posturing as principled opponents
of State mandates, won’t address the power of the State either except
to the extent they see it as an election year expedience. After
all, the Affordable Care Act is a changeling. It may have been raised
by Obama, but it is a Republican child. Its mandates sprang from
the brow of Republicans. It was suckled at the breast of the Heritage
Foundation. And if any final questions about its parentage remain,
they can be answered by noting that Mitt Romney, the likely Republican
nominee, called upon Ted Kennedy to witness the birth and even midwife
his Romneycare offspring in Massachusetts.
care more expensive, regimented and regulated at the hands of Republicans
or Democrats will have one unintended consequence. Just as stovepiping
money into housing and educations drove the costs of both up, so
too will healthcare costs rise ever higher, while attempts to put
a lid on those prices will mean care that is characterized by shortages
and delays. This will all conspire to help solve the actuarial problem
of Social Security since people will be forced to forego needed
care and leave medical maladies untreated. The American lifespan
will grow shorter. In the growth of statism, America is emulating
the old Soviet Union. Why then shouldn’t American life expectancy
emulate theirs, with longevity that bumped along at the bottom range
well below that of Japan, Europe, and the United States?
For those detached
from the partisan one-upmanship of the Red and Blue parties, those
more interested in the preservation of our freedom and the restoration
of our prosperity, the battle over healthcare highlights the absurdity
of what has become of the land of the free. In a Lew Rockwell.com
blog post, Thomas DiLorenzo summed it all up, concluding
ironically that the main idea of the founding fathers…
. . was that after a long and bloody revolution fought in the name
of freedom and against tyranny, they would place everyone' s freedom,
and life itself, in the hands of five government lawyers with lifetime
tenure. Or in some cases just one government lawyer with lifetime
tenure if the nine-person Supreme Court happens to have a 4–4 ideological
split on most issues."
© 2012 Charles Goyette
Best of Charles Goyette