Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Perspectives - Part I

Two contrasting rationales for the disaster which the U.S. economy is rapidly becoming.

 One view is not just driving the national conversation - it's actually driving policy.

The quotes below support the view that is driving policy. It written by Noemie Emery of The Washington Standard. You can find the full text of the article here.

"...Ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt linked “freedom from want” to “freedom of speech” and “freedom of worship,” the left has been talking of everything that it thinks would be nice to have in terms of an utter and absolute right: a right to a job and a right to an income, a right to retire in comfort in Florida, a right to the most advanced health care without paying much for it, and a right to have your children taken care of while you work all day at your job. The problem is that these are all goods and services, though of varying importance, and goods and rights are not the same things. People tend to concur upon rights (except for the speech rights of those who oppose them), and they do not depend upon others to supply and pay for their rights. With goods, there is always a political argument: about the value of the good, who is to get it and who is to pay. And all this comes down to the question of “fairness,” about which there is no end of disputation and grief."

"And on nothing does the rights/goods division loom larger than on the issue of health care. Rights come from nature, and cost no one money, but good health in nature is rare. It is only thanks to human ingenuity over centuries and billions of dollars of effort that we have been able to conquer illnesses not long ago fatal, rebuild bodies broken in war or by accidents, postpone or ameliorate the problems of aging, and bring people back from the dead. The roll call of miracles that surrounds us today—the vaccines and the pills that have vanquished infections, the devices that let amputees run marathons, the organ transplants and the open heart surgeries, the techniques that replace hips, knees, and heart valves, not to mention the treatments that make so many public men cancer survivors, that saved Bob Dole years ago, are saving Dick Cheney, and once kept John Kennedy able to function—all of these are the result of the time, sweat, and strain of doctors and nurses, technicians and scientists, inventors and makers of drugs and devices, administrators of hospitals and large corporations, whose time is expensive, and who need to be paid."

"Paid by whom, one may ask? Not by the patient alone, as the cost of a serious illness or accident overwhelms the resources of all but a few. They are paid by the state, or a private insurer, which in turn are funded by citizens, through taxes, or premiums paid."

"But when costly new drugs and treatments appear on the scene (and are demanded by patients) they are paid for by hikes in the taxes and premiums, which reduce the money people have to spend elsewhere. This is true for governments, too. They either end up rationing care, cutting back other programs, or simply printing money. The people who insisted that goods had to be treated as rights, (which is to say, as universal and limitless), refused to seek cuts, and went on printing money. Even as the whole western world seemed to run out of money, the Obama administration decided it was high time for a massive expansion of government benefits. Then, in early May 2010, just after the American left passed its huge and hugely unpopular health care reform bill, the republic of Greece hit a wall...

"Among the states with high taxes, strong unions, and heavy public employee pension burdens are those in the Rust Belt around the Great Lakes. As Matt Continetti writes in the Washington Post, “Five of the eight states that border the Great Lakes now have Republican governors working to limit union power,” while one Democrat, New York’s Andrew Cuomo, son of a much revered liberal icon, has been praised by New Jersey’s Chris Christie as his cost-cutting twin. And to everyone’s shock, the Democratic legislature in Massachusetts has voted to rein in unions, too."

"“For decades, the Great Lakes states have subscribed to a high-tax, high-spend, closed-shop political model,” explains Continetti. “That hasn’t worked out.” That didn’t work out in Europe (whose welfare states the American left has always looked up to); that didn’t work out in American states such as California and Michigan; that didn’t work out in Detroit, which is becoming a wasteland in spite of massive infusions of government money, and that didn’t work out for General Motors, which turned in time into a retirement plan with a car company attached to it, which priced itself out of the general market while foreign car companies built factories in right-to-work states in the South, employed hundreds of thousands of people, and took its share of the market away. It probably won’t work out in Illinois, either, where the Democratic governor passed a massive tax increase, and the Republican governors of neighboring states invited Illinois businessmen to relocate there..."

I'll share the alternative view tomorrow...

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