Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mulshine Highlights GOP Hypocrisy

The NJ Star-Ledger’s Paul Mulshine made some good points about the Republicans’ opposition to ObamaCare. Basically, he says, their call to repeal ObamaCare on the grounds that it is socialism rings hollow in the face of their almost universal support for the even more socialistic Medicare. The title of his article, Repeal Obamacare? Why not repeal Medicare first?, says it all. After pointing out that the vast majority of the Tea Party is both strongly opposed to ObamaCare and strongly supportive of Medicare, he writes:

[M]any Republican presidential contenders … are pandering to the seniors on this, a category that includes every candidate not named Ron Paul.

Medicare is a compulsory, top-down, single-payer system, more socialistic in every respect than Obamacare.

So if the Republicans were so vehemently against socialism, Mulshine contends, they would be calling for ObamaCare to be extended to seniors as a replacement for Medicare, because at least “ObamaCare [is] relying mostly on private insurers. And virtually all conservative commentators agree such an approach is preferable to a single-payer system.”

Of course, neither is preferable, because ObamaCare simply imposes total government control through nominally private insurers. It is socialism through the back door, which is fascism. Mulshine, I’m quite sure, understands this. His point is that most of the Republicans have no principled counterpoint to ObamaCare. He points out that the individual mandate is a redistribution scheme, and cites ObamaCare sponsor NJ Rep. Frank Pallone:

The mandate was designed to get younger and healthier citizens to subsidize older and less-healthy people, he said.

But, think for a minute what repealing Medicare would mean:

Imagine a young adult working behind the counter at Taco Bell. The government now takes 2.9 percent of his salary to provide free health insurance to Warren Buffett.

Now imagine we eliminated Medicare. That kid could put the money toward his own health insurance.

But what of those senior citizens not as rich as Buffett? Now that we’ve got ObamaCare, the poor would get benefits for free. The rest of the retirees would have their premiums subsidized under a sliding scale. Buffett would have to pay his own bill, though.

It’s an interesting thought. Younger folks would have a modicum more freedom. ObamaCare unequivocally moves non-Medicare American medicine towards single-payer. But turning Medicare into ObamaCare moves the huge senior market away from single-payer. Since Democrats ultimately want universal single-payer, it would indeed be interesting if Republicans were to “throw this issue back in the Democrats’ face”. Imagine the GOP proposing this compromise: We’ll drop our plan to repeal ObamaCare, if you’ll agree to repeal Medicare.

Of course, that’s no solution. It’s not even a step in the right direction because of the Republican Party’s complete lack of any philosophical conviction. A gradual withdrawal of government interference in healthcare is of course a very viable political course of action. But that course is only viable if free market forces have a firm hold on the moral rightness of their course, and a clearly defined statement upholding the separation of medicine and state as the ultimate goal.

I’ve left the following comments, including an answer to a response to my comments:

September 13, 2011 at 4:28PM

The Republicans’ handling of the healthcare issue is just another reminder of why I switched my voter registration to Independent 5 years ago. Obama handed the GOP a philosophical challenge in the 2008 campaign, when he vowed to “fundamentally change America”. It was a direct attack on individualism, capitalism, freedom, and constitutionally limited government – the very core of what the Republicans allegedly stand for. The central front in this philosophical battle was healthcare.

The GOP had a chance to offer America “a choice, not an echo” to Obama’s “change”, by putting forth a comprehensive plan to solve the problems of our heavily regulated, semi-socialized healthcare system with an across-the-board phase-out of government-run medicine, in favor of a free market (not “free market solutions”, but a free market). Instead, we get Republicans defending outright socialism against ObamaCare fascism (backdoor socialism). Obama’s challenge met a vacuum.

When we get Democrat statements like “The mandate was designed to get younger and healthier citizens to subsidize older and less-healthy people” going unchallenged, you know that there is no real difference between the two major parties. That statement is a fastball down the middle, and a principled defender of freedom would have hit it out of the park. It’s a brazen statement that every individual’s life and property is at the disposal of the state, to be seized by any two-bit politician with enough votes and an altruistic cause.

When in his Reverend Wright speech of 3/18/08, Obama said, “Let us be our brother’s keeper, let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well,” he was laying out the basic moral premise of collectivism and despotism. His “change” was to advance the principle of the supremacy of the group, with the state as the embodiment of the will of the group – as opposed to the revolutionary American principles stated above. And whether that moral premise flies under a banner with a hammer and sickle, a swastika, a donkey or an elephant, the end result will still be totalitarian socialism.

To be relevant, the GOP must reject the “we’re all in this together” dogma and uphold the opposite moral premise – the individual’s right to his own life, liberty, property, and choices (Ron Paul came tantalizingly close in that clip). We are not our brothers’ keepers, and only on the basis of that moral conviction can the Republican’s have any relevance. Then we will have a chance to repeal both Medicare and ObamaCare, and move on from there to a freer and freer society. And then, I can return to the Republican Party.

Posted by countyhaters on September 13, 2011 at 10:09PM

That means i have the right to take your life, liberty, property, and choices away from you because i choose

September 14, 2011 at 4:56PM

No, countyhaters. It means you have a right to your own life, liberty, property, and choices. The government protects you from predators who think and act otherwise. That's what a proper government does – if it is doing its job.

What happens when everyone believes that they are their brothers’ keepers? Then, they expect everyone else to be their keeper. Then you get the mentality that says “i have the right to take your life, liberty, property, and choices away from you because i choose too.”[sic] Why not? The next guy is his brother’s keeper, which means your keeper, right? Then the government becomes the criminal. You have a welfare state. Universal predation – and universal slavery – and finally, if nothing changes, progressive economic deterioration and impoverishment.

Freedom does not mean doing whatever you choose. Freedom means freedom from forcible interference from others, including others in their capacity as government officials – and respecting the rights of others to their freedom. That’s why we need a government.

Once again we see the false premise that freedom means anything goes. Statism rests largely on ignorance of the actual nature of individual rights.

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