|Not With My Kid You Don't||The End of Socialized Medicine?|
by Christopher Chantrill
October 24, 2007 at 4:06 pm
LAST WEEK President Bush successfully stopped the expansion of S-CHIP into the liberal slacker classes.
After last week the creative children of well-to-do parents who would rather buy fancy cars than pay for health insurance will have to pause for a moment.
For this important ethical and moral victory the president should be celebrated forever as one of our greatest presidents.
Meanwhile the Democrats showed once again that they cared about the children.
Never mind that its all just a huge bluff.
Government is there to protect us from enemies foreign and domestic. It doesnt do that job very well, but its better than the alternative.
Everything else is fluff., and very expensive fluff at that. The newly legislated fluff always looks wonderful. But after a while it always turns into rotting bureaucratic sludge.
Fluff? Health care and education are fluff? Lets take a look at the great heads of government spending for FY 2008 on usgovernmentspending.com. The numbers are all budgeted and estimated.
United States Federal, State, and Local Government Spending
Fiscal Year 2008
Amounts in billions of dollars
Health Care: $916.5
We are talking about all levels of government, of course.
Heres the dirty little secret that explains why its mostly fluff. All that money we spend on health care and educationwe dont know if it is doing any good.
You start to get the picture from Rising Life Expectancy by James C. Riley. There are six areas for reducing mortality: public health, medicine, wealth and income, nutrition, behavior, and education, he writes. But researchers find it very difficult to separate out the significance of each area. One thing is certain; the importance of medicine has been greatly over-hyped. Needless to say, more research is needed.
Robin Hanson of CATO confirms Rileys finding. He writes that we dont have a clue about the effectiveness of health care. Although health experts know this they are nervous about telling us. Anyway we just dont believe them.
Non-health-policy experts are probably shocked to hear my claims. Most students in my eight years of teaching health economics have simply not believed me, even after a semester of reviewing the evidence.
Heres an example of what Hanson is talking about. RAND health insurance study in 1978-82 assigned two thousand families to various health insurance plans from free to full price. The result was inconclusive; the health of some poor families even got worse after they got free health insurance.
What is going on?
The key to understanding health-care, Hanson suggests, comes after the hyphen. It is all about care, not health.
[H]umans long ago evolved a tendency to use medicine to show that we care, rather than just to get healthy.
That was the point that the Democrats were trying to make over the S-CHIP expansion. It wasnt the money. They just wanted to show that they cared.
This is the brilliant idea that supports the welfare state. The welfare state doesnt actually do anything; it just shows that we care.
Look at the top three heads of government spending above. If the government didnt have its pension programs then people would just knuckle down and save some more. Families that couldnt save enough would coalesce into multigenerational compounds.
If the government didnt have its health programs then people would be a lot more careful about their health and their medical spending, and the overall life-expectancy in the United States probably wouldnt change.
If the government didnt have its education programs then people would spend their own money on education. Most parents can probably afford the three-to-four years of the schooling it takes to achieve basic literacy and numeracy. They would quickly that most children shouldnt go to high school. Instead they should get jobs!
But how would we show that we care?
Arthur Brooks has shown in Who Really Cares that government charity approximately displaces private charity one-for-one. It costs more, of course, because with government charity you have to pay for all the bureaucracy and the inefficiency, not to mention the gigantic information technology systems to keep track of all those health-and-welfare programs.
Heres an idea for young up-and-coming conservative thinkers. The current welfare state is unjust to women. It crowds out and marginalizes their natural charitable instincts and prevents them from being all they can be and demonstrating that we care.
In the welfare state only politicians and activists get to show that they care.
Think about it. The glorious feminist revolution has pitched women out of their local face-to-face neighborhood communities. It has converted them from caring friends and neighbors into helping professionals. In the old days they used to converse and network to help each other and show that they cared. Now they are stuck in gigantic social-service bureaucracies where their natural caring instincts and emotions are rigidly controlled by a huge rule-book.
How can anyone endure for a moment longer this monstrously unjust and unnatural system?
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008
Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists
conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family.
Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
[T]he way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is merely relative, is asking you not to believe him. So dont.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy
Paul Dirac: When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated
by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that
I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion.
However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and
inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he
suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.
John Farrell, The Creation Myth
Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization