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March 26, 2010
A Nation of Dependents
The more we expect government to provide our basic needs, the more we become a nation dependent on government largess, rather than independent individuals personally empowered to earn the values we seek.
It has already happened in education. Government programs have crowded out private alternatives, currently providing 90% of primary and secondary schooling. Without affordable private alternatives, parents are reduced to lobbying politicians for funding, and supporting campaigns to squeeze more tax money from their neighbors.
It has already happened in medical insurance for the elderly. Medicare, a wealth redistribution program misnamed "insurance," pays for the health care of our nation's elderly, and has reduced the private insurance industry for this market segment to only 1% of seniors. None can compete with Medicare's mandatory contributions, or the IRS as its collection agency. Patients over the age of 65 are captive to the budgetary needs of the entire federal government. Having "spent" their dollars during their productive years paying into the Medicare/ Social Security system on the promise of being taken care of in their retirement, far too many of the elderly lack the financial reserves to live independent of government programs.
Now, it's about to happen to the rest of us for our pre-retirement health care. When ObamaCare becomes law, we all become government dependents.
This nation, still proud of its fiercely independent individuals, is gradually relinquishing that independence in the hope of achieving security. The tragic irony of all coercive, centrally-planned attempts at providing goods and services is that what is obtained is not security, but dependence on the whims of the central planners.
Free, independent producers and traders, cooperating with other equally free, independent and productive individuals, voluntarily exchanging value for value in win-win transactions-this is the path not only to the security that prosperity brings, but to healthy, peaceful social interactions which nurture goodwill and generosity toward others.
The laws of economics can not be overridden by the laws of Congress: free markets lead to prosperity; central planning leads to impoverishment and tyranny.
Central planning has gradually eroded the quality of education our youth obtain-and in the process has severely diminished free market alternatives to government schools.
Medicare has survived only by burdening that same youth with our unpaid bills and through inflationary erosion of our private savings. For the elderly, no affordable private insurance exists even as back-up.
ObamaCare is one more destructive iteration of central planning. When health care funding is controlled by the state, medical care is dispensed by politicians-- and we as patients can only lobby, beg and hope that our "fair share" will be sufficient.
If we wish to escape dependence on government for our vital needs, we must insist upon freedom and personal responsibility for everyone. There is no short cut to security.
ObamaCare will rob us of our freedom, our independence and our access to quality medical care. What this country needs instead is real reform consistent with freedom, independence and individual rights.
Beth Haynes, MD, formerly board certified in Family Practice and in Emergency Medicine, has taken a break from the active practice of medicine to home school her children. She is currently studying health care economics and blogs at Wealth is Not the Problem