Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Health Care False Choices

JMac has a column this week in the the Athens Banner Herald about how Georgians are likely to be against health care reform, even though Georgia has an extremely high level of people without health care.

Reading this column and the comments, I am reminded of the many false choices and false logic that pervades how we talk about health care specifically, and many things in general. Here are a few that I thought of:

1. People "deserve" their staions in life. Poor people are poor because they're lazy and rich people are rich because they work hard. This is just as ridiculous as the idea that all rich people did something wrong to poor people in order to get rich.

2. Profit is always a good thing, and the more profit a business can make is just that business doing business in a better way. Telling business to abide by rules that limit profit is always a bad thing because profit is always a good thing. This is the example of taking things out of context. The idea of the perfect market is just as utopian as the idea of a perfect commune. If increasing profit requires cutting corners we don't want to be cut, we don't have to allow them to do business here.

3. If there is $1 of profit to be made, someone will create a business to make that $1. This is my response to those who say progressive taxes or regulations are "punishments" to business. They are not punishments, they are payment for access to our markets. If you do not like the rules, you don't have to do business here. Just like a non-union workplace, some other entreprenuer who wants to make my dollar will be along directly.

4. There is just as much, if not more, public money paying rich people to be rich than paying poor people to be poor. The Georgia legislature approved their statewide power monopoly to raise rates on all consumers in order to pay rich people to build nuclear power plants that will make those rich people richer. Maybe this isn't a bad thing. Maybe rates will go down once the nuclear plants come online. Maybe it will be better for the environment. Maybe the payment to those rich people to make more money was an overall win for the state.

But I dare say, a lot of the same people who approved such a measure show up at town hall meetings and tea parties angry and railing against socialism - which is, in their minds, government interference in private business.


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