Will Single-Payer Solve the Obamacare Problems?

The popular response among progressives to the Obamacare trainwreck (higher costs, dropped coverage, incompetent mismanagement) is to suggest that all of this would be better if we had just enacted single-payer (i.e. nationalized/socialist) health care in the first place. But do you really think the same government that was too incompetent to manage a website and run the health insurance industry will be competent enough to run the entire health care industry directly?

If you nationalize all of this, those additional costs that Obamacare created through centrally-mandated inefficiencies won’t just go away. They’ll get worse as the government takes more of the decisions away from the health industry professionals, replacing their time-tested judgements with those of politicians. The only thing that will change to make anyone’s life easier is we’ll be paying for it through taxes rather than through insurance companies. But shuffling the costs around like that doesn’t make them go away. We will have to pay those costs, or our country will default, and then we’ll all be facing total economic devastation.

Socialist health care doesn’t fix fascist health care. It only sweeps the costs of inefficient centralized management under the rug and pretends they aren’t there.

Here’s what Obama is gonna do if he stays for 4 more years

He will continue doing much of what he’s done for the last 2.5 years. That means:

:bulletblack: More indefensible bureaucratic expansion. [link]
:bulletblack: More regulation of company mobility to prevent profitable enterprises from fleeing Democratic majority states to search for more freedom elsewhere. [link]
:bulletblack: More economic failure, leading to Carter-style stagflation. [link]
:bulletblack: More debt growth, as he resists all attempts to steer the country away from an imminent Greek-style crash. [link]
:bulletblack: More moralistic nationalization, enforced through militarization of the US police forces, pushing us towards a Soviet-style police state. [link] [link] [link]
:bulletblack: More corrupt abuses of executive power, bordering on illegality. [link] [link] [link]

If you want to continue these disturbing trends, to disregard liberty in favor of a Soviet-style socialist nation under a government with totalitarian control over your personal life and endeavors, then by all means, vote for Obama in 2012. But if you want change- economic recovery and the restoration of the values of liberty -then for your own sake, vote against the Democrats!

Equality Before the Law

John Adams defined a republic as “a government of laws, and not of men.” What this means is that the laws apply equally to all, and are not changed arbitrarily through the whims of some autocrat.

When George W. Bush selectively awarded no-bid contracts to companies that he favored, they called it “crony-capitalism.” So what do you call it when the Health Secretary is selectively choosing which companies the law does and doesn’t apply to? One thing I’m sure it’s not called: “Equality before the law.”

This whole situation reeks of being a “bill of attainder.” If Obama’s health care law doesn’t work unless his health secretary gets to issue waivers from the regulations to favored clients, then the law doesn’t work. Let’s repeal the law and bring back a government of laws, and not of men.

Your Government at Work

I’d encourage anyone with any interest whatsoever in politics or the theory of government to create an account at OpenCongress.org.

At this official Congressional website, you can observe the status of any bill being considered in Congress. You can then comment on it (or even on specific sections of it) and vote your approval or disapproval. You can even track specific Senators and Representatives, if you’d like to keep an eye on their voting record.

Having spent quite a bit of time browsing through the legislation that our country is currently considering implementing as law, there are a few … “gems” I’d like to put on display:

H.R. 4173: This is the bill which would give the president and his appointees the power to buyout, bailout, and/or liquidate any company deemed “a threat” to our economy without having to go through all the inconvenience of asking Congress first. I’ve already talked about this one before.

H.R. 801: Here’s a bill that would allow academic journals to copyright studies funded by the federal government. Basically, the public pays for the research, but then the public isn’t allowed to see the results of the research without paying again.

S. 1696: If you thought environmental politics were already a bit totalitarian (or even if you didn’t), take a look at this bill. It would require the Energy Secretary to monitor the energy consumption of video game consoles. Yes. Video game consoles. Of course, once the government has the data showing that some video game consoles use more energy than others, there’s going to be talk about banning (or heavily taxing) the more energy-intensive platforms. Well, I think Mario wold survive this new element of fascism, but Master Chief and Solid Snake might not be so lucky. Also, the age-old struggle of Mac vs. PC might finally be settled when the government starts making the choice for you based on “environmental impact.”

Nancy Pelosi: Need I say more?

Your government at work.

What is Fascism?

Thanks to Hitler, the word “fascism” has been demonized beyond recognition. This is a good thing in that people will rarely knowingly support fascism. This is a bad thing in that most people will support it anyways, not realizing that what they’re supporting is fascism.

In Mussolini’s own words, fascism is “organized, centralized, authoritarian democracy.” It is the belief that the State represents the will of “the people,” and that the will of “the people” always trumps the will of the individual. This is what allowed the horrors of fascism to occur: the belief that majority election creates a government that should be absolute in its power, and totalitarian in its reach.

Mussolini believed in the Corporate State. Contrary, to popular belief, the term “Corporate” used in this sense doesn’t specifically refer to corporations, though corporations usually play the major roles in the Corporate State. The name actually derives from the idea of the state being a single “corporis,” or body, comprised of entities which act as the organs of the body, performing the necessary functions for its survival. Mussolini saw the corporations producing cars, the health care industry providing its services, the farmers, etc., as entities working for the well-being of the people of the State, and hence the State. If any of these organs should fail, he felt, then the people within the State, and hence the State, would lose their capability to dominate nature, and would thus fail.

To believe any entity within the State as necessary to the survival of the State or Nation is to adopt the economic principles of fascism. To view the State as necessary to ensure the survival of corporations by controlling their aims is to adopt the economic principles of fascism. Again, Mussolini says it best:

The Ministry of Corporations is not a bureaucratic organ, nor does it wish to exercise the functions of syndical organizations which are necessarily independent, since they aim at organizing, selecting and improving the members of syndicates. The Ministry of Corporations is an institution in virtue of which, in the centre and outside, integral corporation becomes an accomplished fact, where balance is achieved between interests and forces of the economic world. Such a glance is only possible within the sphere of the state, because the state alone transcends the contrasting interests of groups and individuals, in view of co-coordinating them to achieve higher aims. The achievement of these aims is speeded up by the fact that all economic organizations, acknowledged, safeguarded and supported by the Corpo­rative State, exist within the orbit of Fascism; in other terms they accept the conception of Fascism in theory and in practice. (speech at the opening of the Ministry of Corporations, July 31, 1926, in Di­scorsi del 1926, Milano, Alpes, 1927, p. 250).

And so I charge that Barack Obama’s policies stink of fascism. From his bailout and buyout of major corporations that he felt were “too big to fail,” to his attempts to regulate the health care industry as an arm of the State, Barack Obama’s belief in his right to take away individual liberties because of a “democratic mandate” is absolutely fascist.

As a libertarian, I stand opposed to such a conception of society. I stand as a man and an individual, independent of the will of the State. Unlike the State, individuals are self-sufficient. I do not exist as a component of the State. Rather, the government should only exist to protect my independence and the independence of others. No individual or group should have the power to take away my existence as an individual, and they certainly do not have the right.

Government Buyouts and Bailouts to Become Permanent Policy?

The Democrats of the House of Representatives recently passed a bill which would give the President and the Federal Reserve Board members that he appoints the authority to take over and/or liquidate any financial company deemed “in danger of default,” so long as failure of the company may cause “adverse effects” to the economy or to the welfare of minorities. The language of the bill is actually that vague.

The process of acquiring a company goes something like this:

Step 1: The Secretary or Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board requests a vote by the Board (all of these people are appointed by the President) on whether or not the default of a financial company poses some risk to the economic “conditions or stability” of the United States, or to the economic “conditions or stability” of minorities.

Step 2: The Secretary of the Federal Reserve (who originally requested the vote) takes the recommendations and goes to deliberate with the President (who appointed all these people to begin with). Together, the President and Secretary make a determination as to whether the financial company is “in danger of default” and whether this default would have “adverse effects on financial stability or economic conditions in the United States.” Together, they determine what to do about the company.

Step 3: At this point the Secretary appoints a “Corporation” which takes financial control of the company, eliminates its management, and liquidates it, as seen with GM. This Corporation expires after a year, but there is no bar against the Secretary appointing a new one, extending the time frame of its control indefinitely.

All of this information can be found in sections 1603 and 1604 of H.R. 4173 at the Library of Congress Database.

With the language as to what constitutes a “danger of default” and what constitutes “adverse affects” left so vague and entirely at the discretion of the President and his appointees, under this bill, the President could hypothetical engineer the liquidation of any company which does not adhere to some set of policies. This leaves absolute control of the policies of financial institutions in the hands of the President. Control of all financial lending institutions means control over anyone who would ever want to take out a loan, which is pretty much everyone.

“What’s that? Your business doesn’t engage in affirmative action hiring? Well, we’re just going to have a conversation with your lenders, who might be in danger of default. Might you want to reconsider your hiring practices?”

“Oh? Your media station is going to criticize our administration? Well, let’s see what your lenders and investors have to say about that.”

“Well, we’ve decided that the voting record of your demographic poses a threat to the State, so financial institutions aren’t going to be letting you take out mortgages anymore.”

Signing of this bill into law would truly mean a total government takeover of our nation’s economy, and by proxy, our lives. Absolute control of everyone would be in the hands of the President. This would be Fascism.

The Big Misconception about Politics

Here, in the United States, and indeed, throughout much of the world, the common measure of political leaning is a 1-dimensional spectrum from Left to Right. The Left is generally described as favoring economic redistribution programs, social freedoms, and environmentalism. Socialism and Communism are generally described as the moderate-extremes and far-extremes of the Left, respectively. Fascism, favoring a society dependent on corporations and corporations controlled by the government, is generally described as the extreme of the Right.

However, this rendition of the political spectrum doesn’t completely make sense. Socialism and Fascism are actually quite similar to each other. While one exerts control and provides services by creating programs and nationalizing property to be in the hands of the government, the other exerts control and provides services by extending the government into the corporate sector, putting CEOs at the mercy of the government and people at the mercy of the CEOs. If you think about it, the only real difference between the two in the extreme case is a matter of where you say the government ends and the corporate power structure begins. But of course, that’s just a matter of semantics once the government regulates the corporations heavily enough.

Another way to look at the problems with the 1-dimensional rendition is to consider how you’d characterize someone who just loves all forms of government power. If you’ve got someone who’s just as happy extending the fingers of the government down into the corporations through regulation as he is bringing the corporations up into the government through nationalization, where do you place him on the political spectrum? He would be just as fascist as he is socialist, and if we diametrically oppose these two definitions as the 1-D spectrum does, then we can either average it out and call him a centrist, or say he’s on both ends at the same time. This isn’t a very satisfying conclusion, since we’d either be grouping a social fascist in with the moderates, or we’d be violating the single-valuedness of a person’s position on the spectrum.

So what’s the solution? There needs to be another axis on the political spectrum. We already have our left-right axis, which vaguely describes a continuum from favoring the lower classes of society to favoring the empowered upper classes. We can then add an orthogonal Libertarian-Authoritarian axis, which describes the continuum from favoring less government power to favoring more government power. Finally, we can put this new 2-dimensional spectrum in the form of a diamond, representing how transition towards the extreme authoritarian or libertarian corners will decrease the left-right distinction.

So, this actually resolves our problem fairly well. If someone favors all forms of government power, then we put them at the Authoritarian corner. If someone opposes all forms of government power, then we put them at the Libertarian corner. If someone favors only those forms of government power which help the poor or the lower classes, then we put them at the Left corner. If someone favors only those forms of government power which help the well-established members of society, then we put them at the Right corner. Everything else is somewhere in-between.

As a good example of the strength of this model, we can figure out where on this spectrum US President Barack Obama sits. Obama is a bit of an enigma, in that he’s often contentiously described as being politically center-left while differing drastically from many moderates in policy. This description may be true of his position on the Left-Right axis, but it doesn’t say anything about his positioning on the Libertarian-Authoritarian axis. To evaluate that, we have to consider his views on government power.

Let’s look at some of the major actions of Obama’s presidency: He raised taxes on tobacco products as part of a health care bill. He passed the transfer of $800 billion in taxpayer funds to struggling, failing corporations to bail them out (at the same time, making them highly government-dependent). He had the government, under TARP, buy out GM, the largest automaker in the US, to become the major shareholder, establishing direct government control over the corporation. He’s directly favored specific corporations through the Cash For Clunkers Act. He’s sought a national, mandatory health care system, though he has expressed a willingness to settle for a highly regulated, government-controlled, mandatory private health insurance system.

If we consider the bulk of his actions, President Obama has spanned the left-right gap pretty extensively, favoring both extensive social programs and massive corporate support and regulation. This justifies his center-left placement. However, on the Libertarian-Authoritarian axis, pretty much every action he’s taken has favored expansion of government power. His most well-known “victories” and goals include the distinctly fascist acquisition of GM and corporate stimulus plan, as well as his strongly socialist attempts to nationalize health care and expand government spending on what he believes are public services.

So, it’s pretty clear that Obama is extremely authoritarian. He has expanded US government control and micromanagement of our lives beyond anything it has seen at least since WWII. And since this is peacetime, and his actions are meant to have permanent effect, I’d say what we’re seeing now is more authoritarian even than what was seen under FDR. Thus, we place him very far along towards the Authoritarian end of the diamond, and just a little bit towards the Left of the central axis, distinguishing him from center-left libertarians, as shown at this site I already linked to.

The more complicated political philosophy of President Obama makes very clear the need for a 2-dimensional political diamond to capture the distinctions between Authoritarians and Libertarians.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.