Today’s Wichita Eagle carries a letter to the editor that, like many we’ve seen before, makes claims and espouses beliefs that are totally opposite to freedom and liberty. In today’s example, Omer C. Belden of Wichita argues that we should “concentrate on saving such successful programs as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.”
To call these programs “successful” is quite a stretch. Each faces actuarial difficulties in the near future, when these programs will not be able to continue in their present form. In fact, Mr. Belden seems to recognize this, as he acknowledges “… their trust funds have been sorely treated …”
But as Belden makes clear in his letter, if we poured adequate tax funds into these programs, they wouldn’t be in trouble. I suppose that’s true, in a way. Since each of these entitlement programs exist for the sole purpose of taking money from one group of people and giving it to another group, it follows that the more money transferred, the more “successful” the program is. This, of course, assumes you’re in one of the groups on the receiving end of this equation, and you don’t mind receiving something that belongs to someone else.
In remarking that “taxes are its lifeblood” Belden — while arguing for more taxation — diagnoses the problem with government: unlike most people who must work for their income, the government simply takes what it needs in the form of taxes. (Or it borrows, which simply delays taxation to some future day.) Instead of free people engaging in voluntary transactions, each providing for themselves, their families, and their friends as they see fit, we have a coercive government, forcing us into collective retirement and health care systems. A system, we might note, overrun with fraud — so much so in the case of Medicare that it’s impossible to come up with an accurate estimate of its scope.
Belden asks the question “isn’t ours a government by and for the people?” This statement is not a founding principle of our country, nor is it a guiding principle of free people. It’s just a line from a speech by a president, and one who was no particular friend of freedom and limited government. The idea that government can do things “for” us is a false and dangerous notion, as government has no resources of its own to give to people. Each thing it does for someone is something taken from someone else.
The final claim that needs examination in Beldens’ letter is the claim that these programs “helped the medical profession build new clinics, hospitals and offices …” It’s well-known that Medicare and Medicaid pay doctors very little for the services they provide, with most doctors claiming that the payments don’t cover the cost of providing services. These programs aren’t a source of capital for building new facilities.
The simple reason why these programs are only ever, at best, half-successful, is because, for a program that proposes to ensure adequate health care for a group of people without spending additional money to work, it would have to absolutely regulate the behaviors of those it serves. Nationalized health care would require that all behaviors of the citizens that might impact health (meaning, all behaviors) be regulated – hello, Mr. Orwell. I don’t believe that even the Democrats are currently willing to stretch that far yet, so the resulting efforts are utter failures without massive infusions of money. When government acts to “save” these social entitlements, what they mean is that the program requires it’s regular infusion of cash in order to stay solvent … of course, on the backs of taxpayers.
The Constitution clears provides that the government can “promote the general welfare.” clearly a statement deliberately left open for the ages to interpret as needed.
Before Medicare, only 56% of senior citizens had medical insurance. Imagine how low that percentage would be now, since costs have skyrocketed since the early 60s.
Before Medicare, the elderly were the poorest and sickest of Americans. Do we want to return to those days?
So prosecute the fraud. Thieves are everywhere. What else is new? But don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.