Why I'm Against Government Run Health Care

The big debate this election cycle will probably be over government run health care (or nationalized health insurance, etc). The tag lines will be about our lack of compassion for those that can't pay, about health care as a right, about how in other countries people don't have to worry about health care like they do in America. And those in America who do want to help their fellow man, who do want to help the "little guy", who do think that health care is too expensive, might very well get caught up in those lines of thought and give the government the authority to take over this sector of the economy.

Here are several reasons why I think it would be a big mistake to nationalize health care.

1) Quality and Costs: In every area that government gets involved, costs always skyrocket and quality always decreases. It is axiomatic, for one very well established reason - government doesn't have to compete. Competition is the force that drives excellence and reduces cost in our world. People work only as hard as they must in order to get by. It isn't necessarily laziness, its just natural, we want to spend time with our family, take care of the house, go to the beach and enjoy life - competition requires us to work before we can play. Our survival depends on getting up and going to work - and doing a good job while we're there. If we don't "bring it", somebody else will.

Not so in government. If they do a poor job at something, there are typically calls for increased funding, rather than the lost business that the rest of us have to face when we do our jobs poorly. Due to the fact that there is no competition trying to take the "government's" business away - the government doesn't have to do it better or at a better price, so the quality always goes down and the cost always goes up.

You might say - "I don't care if costs go up if I'm not having to pay for it." Well someone has to pay for it. Now you'll have to pay for it through taxes that will have to go up and up and up. The politicians will sell you an "illusion." They will convince you that you don't have to pay for it, then increase your taxes to cover the system that they create. And the system they create will cost more, offer you less, and you won't have any say in it! Don't fall for the "illusion."

2) Innovation Ceases - As a company tries to get ahead of its competition, it continually looks for ways to bring new products and services to the market. As a result, a steady stream of new innovations flow from the companies that provide health care technology, medicines, and services. The desire for profit drives new innovations. Profit is the magnet for human innovation. Remove the profit = remove the innovation.

One of the benefits that socialized medicine in other countries have is that they still have access to medical innovations coming out of the United States and other countries that are not socialized. If America socializes its health care system and removes the incentives to innovate that profit provides, the world will lose its source of medical innovation. They will no longer be able to depend on our system to provide breakthrough technologies - and neither will we. We will have effectively killed the goose that lays the golden eggs.

What is so sad about this fact is that it won't even be noticed. You don't miss what never existed.

Furthermore, when business men and women see that they can no longer succeed financially in the health care industry, they'll take their talents elsewhere. That means fewer qualified doctors, nurses, and others. Politicians will insist that doctors are overpaid and reduce their incomes to a "fair" wage. So the only doctors will be the remaining losers that couldn't make it in other fields. Then you'll have to deal with the bureaucratic gatekeeper to the health care system and the under qualified "doctor" who was satisfied with a "living" wage. The types who make great doctors will have moved on to fields that appreciate (and pay for) their talents.

3) The System Becomes Bureaucratic - Ever notice the difference between a car insurance company and the DMV? You need them both in order to drive your car - but one of them serves you in 15 minutes over the phone and the other one requires you to go to their office, sit for two hours until your number is called, fill out 4 or 5 forms, bring the required paperwork or they will send you away, pay taxes and fees that you can't negotiate, and deal with a sour state worker who wishes you weren't there.

I confess, most doctors offices are more like the DMV than Gieco, but that is due to excessive government interference already. Do you want more of that? Do you want getting a troublesome mole looked at to become like dealing with the IRS? Is that worth it for the "illusion" of not having to pay for it.

I can imagine a bumper sticker that says, "Health Care - brought to you by the people that brought you the IRS, FEMA, the DMV, and the INS"

4) Service Mentality Disappears - When I meet a potential client in my business, I'm genuinely glad they are there and considering using my services. Its a great opportunity for me when I speak to a new client, so I am on the ball, and using every resource at my disposal to figure out ways that I can meet their needs. I feel the same concern for my needs when I walk into other people's businesses. I know, sometimes you deal with employees who don't share their employers enthusiasm, but you can bet - if the owner was there, he would correct that, and does.

Why do we show such concern for our customers? Because they don't have to be there - they are free to walk away if you don't value them. Not so with a government agency. You might decide you don't feel like using Gieco and instead want to go with State Farm or Progressive. Every company knows this and does their best to keep you. But the DMV isn't worried about losing you. You can't go anywhere else. If you don't put up with their crap, you don't drive on "their" streets.

They don't care if you're there. Matter of fact, most of their employees wish you weren't so they could check email or something. You need them - they don't need you. Gieco needs you, so does State Farm and Progressive, so they act like it - they serve you. The DMV never will .

I want a health care system that wants to serve me. A government run system never will.

5) Choice Is Lost - As in any other government run system, the bureaucrats tell you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and then make you pay for it. A socialized health care system will be one with lots of requirements and lots of prohibitions - no freedom of choice. They will choose a doctor for you and tell you when you can go see him/her. They will tell you what procedures you are eligible for - and if you don't like it - tough. Oh yeah, and forget about a second opinion - the first appointment took you 2 months to get, there will be neither the capacity or the interest in "allowing" you (yeah, "THEY" have to "ALLOW" you) to visit multiple doctors for additional opinions.

6) Freedom is Lost - If the government has to pay for your health, then the government has a stake in how you live. If your behavior can cost the government money, then they will have a "right" to control your behavior. You'll be glad when they tell everyone they can't smoke, and maybe you'll say, "hey, its the right thing" when they forbid certain kinds of fat, you'll be less excited about it when they tell Americans they can't eat dessert, you'll be pissed off when they require everyone to exercise a certain amount each day. I know it sounds far fetched - but 50 years ago nobody thought the government would tell them they couldn't smoke in their own homes/cars/restaurants. It is a slippery slope, and if they're paying for it, they'll tell you how to eat, work, live, etc - all in the name of saving money for the tax payer.

So please think twice about supporting a candidate who stumps for nationalized health care. You won't get it for nothing. As great as saving a few hundred dollars a month sounds, it's just an illusion and one that will destroy the system we have.

The Real Cost of Global Warming Hysteria

This kind of stuff just infuriates me! The SoilAssociation, a European group that certifies food as organic is considering removing the organic certification from foods shipped by air. (Read Article Here) Their rationale is that food shipped by air creates more carbon emmissions than food shipped by other means, I guess they mean food carried on a donkey.

The unintended side effect of this BS is the potential loss of a market for thousands of African farmers who are slowly making their way out of extreme poverty by growing organic fruits and vegetables (typically without making any carbon emmissions!).

The reason this makes me angry is that is an example of how real people get harmed by liberal BS. Global warming hysteria has one ultimate effect - reducing the quality of life and the standard of living of human beings. Environmentalists are motivated by one underlying principle - they believe mankind is a parasite on the earth. Consequently, their politics, policies, and ideas all serve to reduce mankind's access to the things that improve their lives.

Broad markets improve lives. The fact that an African farmer can sell his goods in far off lands means he can reach customers that don't exist locally. It also means that people who desire inexpensive organic products can find them right in their neighborhood, even if they were shipped from thousands of miles away. Both groups benefitted, so did the companies who shipped the products. So do all of the places where all of these groups spend the money they made. So many people benefit from this kind of exchange.

But liberal environmentalists want to hurt everyone involved in this free exchange. They hurt the customer who will no longer be able to buy the products they want at a good price. They hurt the companies who were shipping these organic products by air. They hurt most of all the African farmer who no longer has a market for his produce.

Real people get hurt by liberal scaremongering. Please do your part to end this global warming hysteria - tell the truth to a neighbor today.

Achieving Success

I heard a caller on a radio show ask this question yesterday, "So what's so wrong with socialism anyway." He made a few mindless points about taking care of people and the usual bash against successful people. As the host answered the caller, I thought of about 20 things that are "so wrong" with socialism. One thought I had related to the achievement of success.

In a free market or free enterprise system (especially one that has minimal governmental interference) those that best take care of their fellow man rise to the top. A free market system requires people to look out for the needs of others. It is a merit based system - meaning, if you are good at what you do, then you succeed. Another aspect of success though, is that your success must be recognized by others as measured by their desire to buy whatever service or product that you offer in your business.

In a free market system we all sell something. I'm a pilot, I sell my skill as a pilot to the company that employs me. My wife is a receptionist, she sells her time and diligence to her employer. My product is my knowledge, experience, skill, character, attitude, and time. On each of these attributes my employer measures my worth and decides whether or not he is receiving value from my position within his company. If the value is below what he requires and he determines that a different employee with different skills, attitude, etc would provide a higher return, then he'll replace me with that person.

Free market systems are voluntary. Every exchange is based on choice. I choose from whom I will buy. And other's choose whether or not they will buy from me. As a result, my manners and approach to those I serve must meet with their approval. I must work hard for them, be kind to them, make it easy for them - or they will go somewhere else.

All of us are required to take care of others if we want to succeed. If I don't take care of my employer he lets me go, if a business doesn't take care of its customers they shop somewhere else. In the amazing free market system a person may only consume in direct proportion to what they produce. A productive person pleases many people, makes a lot of money, and may therefore buy more for himself from others. He has met the needs of many and may therefore purchase the time, talent, and property of others in greater proportion than a person who has not met the needs of many. It is an immensely fair and balanced system.

The socialistic system is not this way - in fact, it is exactly opposite.

A socialistic system requires "pull". To achieve success in a socialistic system you have to know people who can help you get what you want. Governmental systems by their very nature are coercive. That means, anything that a government decides to do it will accomplish by force - people do not have the freedom to go elsewhere for the services required from government. If you want a license plate, you go to the DMV, there is no other way. If you want to drive on a highway, you go the speed they tell you, break the speed limit and you'll face a fine or go to jail. Want to fly a plane somewhere, you'll be dealing with governmentally run Air Traffic Control - you don't have the choice to use another "service provider."

Since socialistic systems are not voluntary and people have no choice about dealing with them, merit is not the means of obtaining success.

Our governmental system has become socialistic. Rather than preserving liberty which is the moral and proper function of government, our government has gotten into the entitlement business. They give gifts - why? Because that is how you succeed in government. The politician achieves success by offering goods and services to his constituents. Unfortunately, the goods and services that he "gives" away are coercively taken away from others. I say coercively because if you refuse to pay taxes, you'll go to jail at the point of a gun - that's coercion.

Socialism takes from one person and gives to another. The person who succeeds in a socialistic system has learned how to take the most from some people and give the most to others. The person who receives from government has learned how to get his name on the Pay To line of a government check, and it most cases it wasn't by providing a better service to his fellow man.

The more socialism advances, the more manipulation and exploitation of people is required to hold the system together. To be the successful socialist requires great skill in the manipulation and exploitation of people.

Free enterprise and socialism are fundamentally different. The difference lies in the fact that free enterprise systems are voluntary and socialistic systems are coercive. The end result is that free enterprise systems turn the hearts of men outward, towards others in a search for needs that other's have that they can fill. Success in a free market system requires personal development in ways that meets the needs of others. In socialistic systems, the heart of man turns inward, to look for ways to deceive their fellow man and exploit him. The socialistic system depends on who you know rather than who you serve.

Achievement in one system makes us take care of our fellow man, achievement in the other causes us to exploit him.

So to answer the caller, that is one major things "wrong" with socialism.

Religious Legalism

I've had a few conversations over the last few months with "legalistic" Christians. This is often a frustrating endeavor for me. I honestly don't know how to reach them. I see these people as fundamentally unhappy and deep-down I see in them an anger towards God rather than a trust in His love for them and His desire to bring good into their lives.

I came across a blog I had written awhile back in which I made the point that life is about relationship, not religion. The second half of that blog discusses legalism. I'm copying that portion into this posting just to revisit the issue:


If we are in a relationship with God and commune with Him via the Holy Spirit (our spirit relating/connecting to His Spirit) we will be lead into right behavior. Jesus Christ set me free from the worry of sin, from the condemnation, from the fear. Now I walk with Him. I try things, I make mistakes (which includes sin), I fall, the Holy Spirit speaks to me, I learn, and I grow. It is by living that we become the men and women God wants us to be. Its partly by failing that I grow in my sensitivity to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

So does God want us to sin? Absolutely not. The wages of sin is death. It hurts us dreadfully to sin. But God wants us to be able to let it go and move on. He wants to lead us out of sin as we commune with Him in a love relationship - not because we are fearful of hell or the criticism of fellow Christians. God wants to teach us to avoid sin because it is an assault on the relationship He has with us and because it is an assault on life itself. God has good plans for us and sin prevents Him from leading us into that blessing. Sin is the choice to do something our way, contrary to the leadership of God. God is the author of life and knows what it takes to provide for life. Sin produces death because it is contrary to God and to His wisdom. Follow God and live - that message is everywhere in the bible.

We often sin because we hurt. All people need love, acceptance, and leadership. God promises to meet all of those needs through the Sprit - He is our comfort (love), provides fellowship (acceptance), and offers counsel (leadership). When we connect with God, we can receive all of these things and be made whole. Our hearts can be filled, so to speak. When we are disconnected from God, our hearts become empty. It's at this time that we often turn to sin as a remedy for the pain of an empty heart. Only the love of God can fill an empty heart. Sin is man's attempt to fill his own heart; to find a little relief; to escape the pain of life. As we grow in our relationship with God, we learn how to recognize when we are disconnected from God by the desire for sin that sometimes rises within. We can sense our own "heart level" and use that nudge to step back into fellowship with God.

So why did Israel have the law? The bible says in Gal 3:19 that it was "added because of transgressions till the Seed should come." And in verse 24 that it "was our tutor to bring us to Christ." Like a child needs rules and laws provided by the parents for protection - Israel needed those laws because they had very little love for God and weren't interested in pursuing a relationship with Him. God made a promise to Abraham (Gen 22:18) that He intended to keep. Specifically, God promised that from Abraham's descendents a savior would come that would bless the entire world. Israel was the promised vessel through which Jesus Christ would come. If Israel didn't follow God, like so many other ancient nations, they would cease to exist. God gave them the law to protect them and hence His ability to keep His promise to Abraham. He didn't give the law to other nations and He doesn't give the law to us. The law was not God's wish - it was added because of Israel's sin. God has no love for the law. The law had a purpose; that purpose has been fulfilled - Christ has come.

Focusing on the sin is legalism - and legalism kills. Here are 6 serious problems with legalism.

1) A legalistic person has a relationship with rules rather than a relationship with God.
2) Legalism produces a sense of self-righteousness in the person who follows the rules. Fake holiness. A self-righteousness that keeps them from seeing their need for God. Remember the pharisees? They had no love for God because they were convinced of their righteousness.
3) Legalism produces self-condemnation in those who recognize their own inability to obey consistently. "I'll never be able to do this!" People give up and leave Christianity in their hopelessness.
4) Since the heart is still empty, a legalist is tempted to think that there might be relief in that which is forbidden. People begin to think, "I'm so unhappy, but those people sure seem to be having a good time. Maybe I'll try what they're doing." For that person, the remedy for the emptiness must be sin. The legalist is drawn to sin by his own desperation for peace within his heart.
5) Legalism makes Christianity look unappealing to the lost; like a bunch of boring people trying to be good. Who wants that?
6) Legalism prevents people from learning to listen to the Holy Spirit and recognize when they are disconnected from God and how to reconnect. It puts them in a state of spiritual blindness.

Our job on earth is to reach the lost. Legalism prevents us from doing so and focuses us on the sin of others rather than on ways to love them. Commenting or pointing out the sin of others never led them to Christ. Its love that draws people, not condemnation, not the fear of hell. Have a relationship with someone, find out what moves them, get interested in that. If you want to save them - love them. The Holy Spirit is already convicting them of their sin and you'll have opportunities to teach them as they grow in their relationship with God and learn to listen to the Holy Spirit. We are called to exhort, edify, and comfort (1 Cor 14:3) - not criticize.

Legalism steals the life that God intended for us to have. He wants us to live wonderful lives. Full of joy and blessing. He wants us to fully enjoy the kingdom of God. A great deal of Christians today are nothing more than modern day pharisees.

So, again I quote Jesus from the book of Luke:

So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” (10:27)

The PC Police vs Coulter

The thing that is so funny about everyone's concern about Coulter's comments is that it proves her point. Her point was that you can't say "faggot" without the left freaking out so outrageously that the only escape from the firestorm is to check into rehab. She was simply observing and commenting on the "pc police" and their totalitarian control over American speech - and her comments caused those same pc police to come out in force!

The same thing is true about her comments about the "Jersey Girls." Her point then was that the left uses people that you can't criticize to go out and be their spokesmen. As soon as she criticized the Jersey Girls for their stand, the left did exactly what she said - denounced her for criticizing their "uncriticizable" spokesman.

Besides, no one really cares about her comments - they care about the opportunity to silence her. They see this brouhaha as the chance to turn conservatives against her. The liberals already hate her and if the pc police can't silence her maybe they can pressure conservatives into rejecting her. I think the pc police LOVE it when someone on the right uses a forbidden phrase - now they have a target.

The left calls people who come out of the closet as "brave." I think it takes a lot more bravery to challenge the left's pc police and endure the firestorm that erupts as a result.

Suspending Economic Realities

Thomas Sowell has been writing a super series about prices called Priceless Politics. In this series he emphasizes that politicians have for thousands of years tried to gain power by promising constituents that in exchange for their vote, the politician will overcome the underlying economic realities that prevent people from buying more than they can afford.

Economics is the study of how people with unlimited desires for stuff balance the acquisition of that stuff given that there isn't enough stuff for everyone to have as much as they want. It is the study of the relationship between unlimited wants and limited resources.

Prices are the mechanism that balance the two sides. Prices help people decide how they will use their limited resources to meet their limitless desires. I might want a new car more than I want a used one, but the difference in price forces me to choose wisely due to the fact that I also have to pay for groceries and the mortgage. A used car leaves enough resources in my budget that I can continue to pay my other bills.

One of Sowell's best sentences was this: "Prices force you to limit your claims on what other people have produced to the value of what you have produced for other people."

I love it! That is such a great statement. It is the essense of fairness! The liberals might tell us that it is not fair that a rich guy can buy whatever he wants (which isn't true) and that poor people can't. Fairness is being able to purchase from other people no more than you have produced for other people. Rich people are very productive (at least in a free market system), and poor people are not productive. Many people find the services of the rich to be a necessity in their lives and therefore pay them a great amount to obtain those services. Poor people have not made themselves or their services valuable to anyone, and therefore do not receive much income from others.

This is the essence of fairness. I also believe that it is the essence of morality. All people are called to serve their fellow man, especially in the Christian faith, but in many religions service to others is highly regarded. Only in the free market system is service to others (as recognized and chosen by them) required.

The politician is in the business of buying votes by promising gullible people that he can outsmart these economic principles. He thinks that by holding prices down for rents, or medical care, or food, or gas or by holding prices up in the case of minimum wage laws, that somehow the economic realities can be suspended. Unfortunately, wants are still unlimited and resources are still limited. The politician cannot suspend this fact. But he can get elected by promising to try. He still gets what he wants, and the rest of us have to live with the mess that results.

The sad consequence is this: by virtue of his meddling, the politician just distorted the transparent and fair mechanism of price and now some other mechanism must replace it - because there are more people who want the stuff and not enough stuff to go around. Maybe it will be long lines, maybe it will be bribes, maybe it will be "networking" (you have to know someone to get what you want), maybe it will be theft - but it will have to be something because their ain't enough stuff to go around!

Prices serve to equalize the supply of stuff and the demand for stuff. Politician intervention destroys the equalization. Prices are a fair and moral way of regulating the distribution of goods and services. Anything else is unfair and immoral.

Universal Health Care

All people should have access to health care. All people should have access to whatever it is that they want or need. If they want food, they should be able to have it. If they want furniture, they should be able to have it. If they want a car, they should be able to have it. If they want a TV, they should be able to have it.

In America today we have people advocating socialized, universal health care. "Health care should be a right." Again, I believe that everyone should have access to health care, but socialized universal health care would be a complete disaster, and here's why.

A government bureaucracy is the least effective way to stimulate innovation. As a matter of fact, you could almost say that bureaucracy does only one thing well - stifle innovation. Innovation, and the resulting excellence and value that comes from innovation spring from one thing - the desire for profit. Profit is the magnet for human innovation. Where there is an opportunity to make money, people will come in droves trying to figure out a way to "harvest" that profit opportunity.

The recent housing boom is a good example of that. Over the last few years, housing prices were going up rapidly. In the major markets like the east and west coast, people couldn't think about a house for more than 10 minutes because someone else would snatch it up. Houses sold immediately because they were in such short supply. People started flipping houses, builders went on a building spree, and in a fairly short time we went from a housing shortage to a housing glut. The high prices encouraged lots of people to seek the profit that could be made there, increasing the innovation and supply within the housing market.

Government bureaucracy contains no profit opportunity (except for the politician) and therefore has no innovation. Bureaucracy creates mediocrity, free markets create excellence. When you buy a car, you can get car insurance with a "15 minute call to Gieko." Then turn around to register that car, and you spend several hours at the DMV. Is registering a car inherently more complex than insuring it? No, it should be much simpler - but car insurance is provided by private companies that have to compete for your business while the DMV is a state bureaucracy. The DMV can't lose your business - because the government gives you no other options! Fail to register your car and you'll pay the price! The bureaucracy has no incentive to improve. Consequently, you sit in line for hours, then approach the person behind the counter who is sour and wishes they didn't have to be there and points out all the things you filled out wrong on your paperwork and then tells you to come back another day with your passport (oh, new security procedures).

The free market has produced such entertainment wonders as the Ipod - an amazing collection of super sophisticated technologies giving each person total control over their personal entertainment. Download whatever song you want, nearly for free, and take it, along with thousands of other songs and videos in your pocket to be enjoyed whenever you choose. People want control over their entertainment, almost miraculously, the free market provided it!

The free market has provided Americans with access to a mind boggling array of products at amazingly low prices. You can have your two cars, a TV in every room, your ipod, a laptop computer, a cell phone, and still have enough money left over to pay $100 a month for cable and internet. That is amazing! Freedom, free markets, and free enterprise make nearly any human desire a reality. If you want it, the free market will provide it, and over time will provide it at continuously decreasing prices.

However, and this is a big however, whenever government gets involved, costs go up. Government gets in the way of free markets on so, so many levels. Like I said, bureaucracies exist to stifle innovation. The greater the government involvement, the less innovative the industry and the higher the cost of the product that industry provides.

So why can't health care give such an amazing array of options at such great prices? Because government involvement has permeated the industry so much that costs can longer be contained. Few of the normal market forces that usually exist to drive supply and ensure conservation exist within the health care industry. Moreover, political forces are seeking to drive the remaining free market forces out entirely - in the form of socialized medicine.

Take the government regulation off the health care industry and you'll see that every American does in fact have access to affordable health care, just like he has access to everything else he wants. Conversely, continue down the road we're on to socialized medicine and you'll find that it won't matter how "free" health care is, because you'll die while waiting the months it takes to get an appointment with a lousy doctor.