A very nice teardown of the health insurance legislation now going through the senate (Mike Rogers — R Mich. speaking):
Marred on slightly by the fact that the quote at the beginning was actually spoken by William Boetcker in 1916; though it is commonly, as here, mis-attributed to Abraham Lincoln.
The nice point he makes in this is just how much power over individuals’ lives this bill grants to government. It’s amazing to me that leftists will go on and on about the greed and corruption of big business, and at times also acknowledge that government is also corrupt, but then turn around and claim that the only group that can fix it is government.
Here’s the trick, folks: Government and business are, at times, both corrupt. It’s people. It’s powerful people, and power corrupts. Business is in it to make money, and government is in it to “make” votes. The difference is that I can turn down big business. Microsoft may be a massive company and control most of the world’s computers, but they can do *nothing* to force me to buy a Windows machine. If I don’t like the product I don’t have to buy it. But imagine if everyone had to use whatever operating system was most popular? Goodbye Mac, goodbye Linux. (Oh, and goodbye iPods, iPhones, and so forth, which wouldn’t exist because Apple would have been forced out of business years before they were invented.)
Government is like a business that can force you to buy their product — no matter how crappy it is, no matter how wasteful, no matter how poorly implemented. We’ve known for years that Social Security is going bankrupt. Virtually nobody my age believes that they’re every going to see a penny of what they’ve paid in to it, yet we have no choice but to continue paying in to this government “product”.
A common “straw man” argument against conservatives is that they claim that “government can’t do anything right”. That’s not the case, and not the claim. However, history has proven that government frequently gets it wrong — sometimes drastically, and tragically so — yet because it’s government we can’t choose not to buy that bad product.
(Note that despite the comparison, Microsoft products aren’t in the same league with the sheer crappitude that is Social Security, because any company that puts out product that bad ceases to exist in the private market. For a better comparison, imagine if Bernie Madoff could have forced anybody he wanted to invest in his scam: that’s Social Security in a nutshell.)
Ironically this came up to slap some liberals in the face when the Health Care bill was altered before the vote to prohibit funding for abortion. Pro-choice advocates were screaming that this was going to infringe on a woman’s right to an abortion… but why? Haven’t we been told repeatedly that everyone will be able to keep their current coverage? This bill will only help the uninsured? Their protests put the lie to the claim, and though I don’t agree with the specific problem they have (I’m pro-life), the principle of their problem is significant, and valid: if government controls it, then you are completely subject to the whims of government and politics. You no longer have control, and you no longer have freedom.
As goofy as health insurance sometimes is in this country, the companies still have to appeal to their customers. When government is in control, they are not accountable to you. You’re not a customer buying a product; you’re a subject, and they’re doing you a favor because it’s “free” — so quit complaining. It’s not like you have any other options.
And once you’ve handed over that power, good luck getting it back.
Video via Smallest Minority