Thursday, July 16, 2009

Medicare, consumption taxes and serfdom...

Hey, I got a comment on a recent post, and since I don't get that many I'll elevate this to it's own post.... even if it's probably just some guy taking a personal swipe at me. My reply follows below.
Blogger Mike Szymanski said...

You wrote: "...Medicare program, the lowest cost/ highest quality program in the country..."

Not sure what you are smoking but I sure would like some. Obviously, that massive hit of hopium is still coursing through your system. Please take an economics course and another concerning the Constitution. You will learn that the federal government adds no value to our economy and that it obtains its financing by confiscating private property from the productive members of society. It's a zero sum game. Less resources for the productive side of the economy means a lower standard of living for all. FDR's New Deal set in motion a trampling of the 10th Amendment. We are fast heading down the road to serfdom. Half the people in the country pay no income tax and will certainly vote for anyone promising more "free" goodies. If this half becomes a majority how do you propose the large and bloated federal government finance its ever increasing handouts? Economic illiteracy is as dangerous as ignoring history.

"We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word many mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men's labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name - liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names - liberty and tyranny." Abraham Lincoln

12:21 PM

Blogger Tony said...

Mike, Thank you for the personal insult! My self-esteem has been getting a little ahead of itself lately. As for "what I'm smoking", if you must know, it's currently Santa Damiana #600, a mild Honduran blended cigar, rolled between the thighs of virgins (presumably), and finished with a dark Cameroon wrapper. (JR Cigar, $89 per box of 25). Highly recommended.

As for health care, I'm puzzled at your apparent disgust and at first had you pegged as simply a "no-tax" nutjub, but after closer reading, I'll correct my first impression and give you the benefit of the doubt.

I fully understand your angst over a few people paying the lion's share of the taxes while the free-loaders all benefit. Trust me, I pay ALOT of income tax, so I feel you pain, which is the reason that I included the paragraph about health care being paid with a value-added CONSUMPTION tax. Liberal do-gooders typically hate consumption taxes because they are regressive (ie, everyone pays them), so this is the seminal issue of the post.

As for debating whether we should have Medicare-for-all or some conglomeration of private plans, that is really of minimal consequence. The fact is that Medicare is very efficient, as health insurance goes, and comparing private plans versus Medicare is impossible since the demographics, the economies of scale and collection systems are all vastly different.

A large plan like Medicare has inherent benefits such as the huge risk pool, the huge data base that can be studied and, as mentioned above, the economies of scale for cost-cutting. Likewise, Medicare has inherent liabilities, but I would argue that they are fewer. I realize that some folks such as yourself will eschew anything "gov't run", but I would add that Medicare is not really "gov't run", but more gov't
financed. As a physician, I can tell you that private payers, for the most part, are at least as intrusive as Medicare in the medical decision- making process.

One other thing about Constitutional rights and your comment about serfdom: health care is a
de facto right in this nation whether you like it or not, so we should find a way for everyone to have the means to pay for it. Currently, physicians and hospitals are required to accept all emergency patients without regard for their ability to pay (your A. Lincoln quote is quite appropriate), and emergency patients always could have been managed much more cost-effectively if they had been seen earlier... and the number one reason the uninsured go to the emergency room? Lack of insurance.

1:11 PM



Eric said...

Tons of drama over here. "road to surfdom" is an old Libritarian/mises/Austrian Economics. thing.

Course... I found his "read something about economics"... kind of funny from the misis crowd

Tony said...

Slow day trading... just waiting for that Aversion thing and having no read on the tape.

So, I took the bait for a little while... WTF.

Anonymous said...

Ignoring the facts will not make them go away. Methinks you don't like thinking too much.