Posts Tagged ‘state’

If you like the health care delivery system in the United States, you are part of a shrinking minority. The growing disenchanted complain to whoever will listen. Most don’t want to hear it, unless it is an election year. Then that which wants us to believe it loves us most, lets its engine be heard – our government. Currently the campaign for a government run, single payer health care system is pulling out all the stops using statistics permissible only in a political arena, but would never cut mustard in a clinical one. The only conclusion a thoughtful person can be sure of is that Americans pay more for medical services than others in developed nations. I can give you at least five reasons why that is.

• The government cartelized the medical industry at the turn of the twentieth century

In 1847, the American Medical Association is founded which, in and of itself, was not a bad thing, but the AMA quickly began to act as a powerful lobby affecting many laws and regulations which drove up prices. Now some might say that regulation protects the public and I would not argue that here and now, but would say that it makes the medical professions one of the highest paid professions, especially in the United States.

• The government created the “3rd party payer” system around 1940

Scrabbling to correct the economic crises of the 1930’s, the government introduced a number of laws to stabilize the economy. One such policy of the era was wage controls. Industry desperate to attract better workers started offering paid health insurance benefits in lieu of higher wages. Insurance has existed for thousands of years. Health insurance began to appear in this country as early as the late 1800s, but was only intended to cover catastrophic events. Then, sometime during the 1930s health insurance appeared that was offered to cover more generalized care. In all these prior cases, however, the individual paid for the health insurance. Now employers become the “3rd party payer” and medical prices began a steep climb as supply is unable to match demand. What is rarely debated anymore is this was the single worst event to occur in our health care system, but government encourages it by offering tax incentives to businesses to do so.

• The government created Medicare in the 1960’s

By the late fifties many began to complain that healthcare had gotten so expensive that many of the elderly and the underprivileged (neither have employers to provide insurance and it was no longer attractive for insurance companies to put forth much effort in policies marketed to individuals) cannot afford care. Congress creates Medicare in 1965. This subsidy pushes demand even further and costs skyrocket.

• The government creates the HMO in the 1970s

Shortly thereafter the creation of Medicare, the then young senator Ted Kennedy suggested that the government should provide care for everyone, so in 1973 President Nixon signed the Health Management Organization Act. Workers were pushed (almost forcibly), generally by the vehicle of their union, into HMO and PPO plans. This, with Medicare, was supposed to guarantee that healthcare was available to everyone. The real effect was that the government killed the already infirmed market for individual health insurance and the costs for health services begin to outpace the rise in healthcare costs in other countries.

• The government discouraged medical savings accounts prior to 1990’s

By the 1980’s healthcare costs were rising so quickly that the debate over what to do got angry. Doctors are blamed for their large salaries. Medical research and pharmaceutical companies are disparaged because, even though they are making more breakthroughs than ever before, they are also spending more on marketing than ever before. Insurance companies have become these government inspired über-companies spending billions of dollars influencing politicians and losing equal amounts of dollars in bad real estate investments and have introduce the doctrine of denying coverage of care. In spite of all the blowback from government interference in the market, it continues to deny the individual the privileges that it had been providing big business for decades – tax incentives for individuals to save for medical expenses. That has recently changed, but it may be too little too late.

I have little doubt that before long we will have a single payer system as is currently being exalted, but am equally sure, like with any fad, excitement will wane as reality maintains its grip. Even so, the system will remain and the debate will continue to rage. What I do find curious is that so many of us continue to look to that thing for help, that hurts us most – the State. We cling to the fallacy that with more and more centralized state control, it will correct course. I’m afraid I have long lost my faith in Oz. If you’re upset with your corrupt and greedy HMO, just wait until the federal government steps in.


Our Most Valuable Resource

Posted: August 10, 2009 by administrator in Uncategorized
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I was lazily flipping through the channels the other day and for some inexplicable reason ended up watching CNN (shudders). I decided to keep watching (if for no other reason than to get a good laugh) when a young politician, who’s name I will not mention nor do I remember, came on the program advocating some new government stimulus to get us out of our economic mess (if we could only spend another $9 trillion, that would do the trick). However, it wasn’t what this man was talking about that caught me off-guard; it was a piece of overused rhetoric. He said, and I’m sure you’ve heard it before: “The people are our most valuable resource“.

Now this may not come as a shock or surprise to hear this apparently meaningless chunk of fecal matter spill out this man’s, or any politician’s, continuously moving pie-hole. But, for some reason, this time it struck me in a different way. I saw the phrase a-new… in a wholly abnormal light. You see, this cliché little sentence actually has more meaning than all the other hollow rhetoric that spews from Washington day in and day out put together and multiplied by the amount of dollars we are in debt.

The People are our most valuable resource.” Let’s break this snippet down, in order to comprehend its true connotation.

The People are
I think it’s fair to say that this applies to us, John and Jane Doe; the Average Joe Six Pack, Mr. and Mrs. Main Street; the ever-so naive American citizen.

This is where it gets a little complicated, so you might want to turn down the volume on Oprah, set down the Tom Clancy novel, and listen up. Whenever your wonderful representative says the word “our”, this doesn’t mean “yours”, it doesn’t mean “everyone’s”, and it doesn’t mean “America’s”. It means, quite simply… “theirs”. It means the State, and every ally of the Establishment. It means his majesty Lord Obama I, the changeful. It means every member of that rat colony called congress. It means the pompous and insignificant Supreme Court. It means every bureaucrat, every regulator, every censor, and every pawn who wears a badge to feel important and put themselves above the law. And it means every corporation, bank, and bailout recipient whose wallets get smaller whenever the government shrinks.

Most valuable
Not just valuable, nor somewhat valuable, nor even very valuable, but the MOST valuable. Value is measured by the worth or importance to someone… or more importantly, the usefulness to them.

Webster defines it as a “reserve supply”; something that is to be used for the benefit of an individual or individuals. This could be money, tools… or persons.

Now that I’ve broken down the sentence, it should be a little less ambiguous. When most people hear this expression uttered by their “representative” or any other politician, they think it is a form of flattery. That the politician is praising the people, which they are the most valuable resource. Yet what they don’t so clearly define is for what or for whom this resource is being used.

This brings us to the oldest and most universal form of tyranny – Taxation. The State, in order to survive, needs the same resource we need to survive – Wealth. We need wealth to save, to invest, to feed ourselves and our families, to have a place to sleep and be sheltered, to have running water, to have sanitation, to have cooling/heating, to have electricity and plumbing, to have healthcare and medicine, to have the nearly innumerable technological innovations that improve our livelihood. We gain this wealth through work and labor, through trade and honest relations, through voluntary exchange and charity.  The State needs wealth to spend, to consume, to wage wars, to purchase guns, to oppress and invade, to order and to arbitrate, to monopolize and to expand, to fill their pockets and the accounts of their friends and allies. They gain this wealth through force and theft, through plunder and extortion, through involuntary taxation and unnecessary fees.
They tell us their existence is necessary, their monopoly on violence and the enforcement of the law a legitimate function. Their lies and fear-mongering are the basis of their continued survival, our ignorance and complacence gives it sustenance.

They need us to survive, not the other way around. The State is a parasite on society. It needs to take by force in order to have anything to use. The useful and prescient public services are enacted voluntarily and are given wealth based on their efficiency and effectiveness. This is true of every service, be it the distribution of food or the distribution of defense.

The State has focused on the monopolization of the law and “defense” in order to use force and coercion to regiment society into buying its legitimacy and necessity. Without it, how would we have defense against criminals? (The State of course, as Rothbard said, is a gang of thieves and criminals writ large) From there the State expands through fear and false promises, it gains monopolistic control over almost every important area of society in order to further its fictitious legitimacy.

Without us, and the wealth we create as a free society, the State would wither and die. Without the State, civilization would rid itself of a parasite that not only ciphers prosperity from its best used areas, but uses the stolen wealth to further plunder, oppress, and otherwise cripple the growth of society. The State requires us to survive, we do not need them (and without its existence we would be immensely better off as a result).

The State offers no services in return for its theft and plunder that wouldn’t otherwise exist in its absence, and be fairer and more efficient without it. Therefore it is not a mutual relationship, as those who call it a “necessary evil” declare, but it is a purely parasite/victim relationship that must be rectified. If we are to have the full benefits of our prosperity, if we are to have the entirety of our basic rights and freedoms, and if we are to live in peace man qua man… then we must throw off the State and allow society to thrive in its natural form. This would not mean violent chaos as State apologists predict (as if there is a dearth of violence and chaos in the world today). Instead it would mean order by natural reactionary law as opposed to arbitrary rule. It would mean voluntary and peaceful cooperation as opposed to force and coercion at the hands of the State. It would mean equality of rights, instead of the monopoly on violence and enforcement of the law to which the State lays absolute claim.

The only way to combat the State, short of violence (which as Gandhi wisely said, breeds violent freedom), is to de-legitimize its existence to the masses. No establishment can remain against the will of the people. If we are to stop the lies of the State, we must merely tell the truth. If we are to end the regimentation, we must promote activism and an end to apathy. If we are to retain our continuously disappearing freedoms, we must shout for liberty. If we are to see peace restored, we must decry the moral evil of war. If we are to regain our prosperity, we must lay claim to it once again and refuse to give the government any credence.

While many may say it is a pipe-dream, a crack-pot idea, a utopian proposal that can never be realized… we must stand for right, regardless of the current popularity. I am not saying freedom can be reached in our lifetime, in our children’s lifetime, or in our grandchildren’s lifetime, but if we do not take a stand now… there will be no time in the future.

We must recognize the reality of the situation. The State is the enemy of humanity and an aversion to it’s very survival. The greatest form of protest one can ever partake in is the simple act of thinking, the very act that makes you human. It is this that the State fears most. When it looses it’s resource, it’s only means of sustenance, it will fight for it’s survival at all costs. The State will only exist as long as we allow it.

While we, and the wealth we create, may be the State’s greatest resource, we can never forget that our greatest resource is, was, and will continue to be….. Liberty.

– Justin T. Buell;  June 20, 2009