The View From 1776
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Obamacare: Quintessential Socialism
The overriding characteristic of President Obama’s National Socialist healthcare is forced equality of consumption, a major step in the direction of egalitarian distribution of income. Emphasis is upon the word forced.
As we see with the widespread town hall protests against the President’s proposed National Socialist healthcare proposals, people do not willingly surrender the fruits of many years’ labor to the government in the name of an undefined abstraction called the common good. Particularly is this true when it is liberal-progressive bureaucrats who decide arbitrarily what constitutes the common good.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed essay, Martin Feldstein, Harvard economics professor and former chairman of President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisors, sums up Obamacare: it’s all about the raw power to decide who gets what treatment, while cramming everyone into identical little boxes in order to eliminate any efforts in the direction of individuality. And the bureaucratic mechanism for eliminating individuality is rationing medical care.
Despite the repeated lies by the President and his spokesmen, as Professor Feldstein writes, the National Socialist healthcare bill passed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi clearly contemplates rationing.
Many supporters of Obamacare argue that healthcare already is rationed by money availability, because Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance companies will pay only certain amounts for care and will refuse to pay for some specialized treatments or prescription drugs. This ignores the obvious fact that individuals are free to make choices to pay for such care themselves and that it was individuals who selected the insurance payment programs they have.
Under Obamacare, all private insurance would eventually be compelled to offer exactly the same scope of insurance as the so-called public option. Everybody will be compelled to have the same coverage program, whether he is old, young, in poor health, or in good health.
The argument that medical care already is rationed also reflects a deep-rooted aspect of the liberal-progressive-socialist paradigm: the idea that individuals possessing more money than others is an inherently unjust social condition.
Michael Walzer’s analysis of that paradigm is typical. Professsor Walzer, one of liberal-progressive-socialism’s most prominent theorists, is co-editor of Dissent, a leading socialist journal.
Walzer contends that possession of money amounts to power and that such power is both unjust and unjustly used. It enables the rich to purchase every sort of social good. Why should these goods be distributed to people who have a talent for making money? This, he says, is morally implausible and unsatisfying.
Nor would it be better if we gave money to people on the basis of their intelligence, strength, or moral rectitude. There is no single talent or combination of talents that entitles a man to every available social good.
In the socialists