Monday, April 2, 2012

Fear of Government?

Of late, in conversations with my conservative leaning friends, I have detected a greater frequency of the use of the term socialism.  In detailed conversations, I am somewhat skeptical as to whether or not some of these friends really know the true definition of socialism.  Webster, Wikipedia and others simply describe socialism as a method of government by which the government controls the means of production and distribution of wealth.  As to distribution of wealth, the current tax system--which clearly favors the rich over the middle class--it is clearly a method of distributing wealth.  While conservatives espouse hard work as a great way of life, none seem to be concerned about the fact we tax citizens' labor more than we tax rich folks' investments.

The bugaboo of creeping socialism has been around since when the mind of man runneth not to the contrary,” as the old saying goes.  Social security, which few--with the exception of Rick Perry--would dare advocate abolishing today, is no doubt a social program.  If submitted to the vote of the people, I would place my money with people voting to retain social security as opposed to those for its abolition.  Medicare is in the same category and has been a true blessing to older folks.  The naysayers at the time social security was established in this country claimed it was the camels head in the tent and we would soon be relegated to a socialistic or communistic form of government.

It has always been a mystery to me as to why politicians who espouse hatred of government are so anxious to join in and be a part of it.  Its my belief that too often Americans, having listened too much to the Fox network, have forgotten many of the benefits of government.  Who among us would want to repeal government control of our airwaves by which anyone with enough money could begin broadcasting on any frequency he or she chose to use, thereby abolishing any guarantee that people could receive a clear signal broadcast by the right wing owner of Fox News?  How about airline or private airplane travel?  What if we did away with government rules about when and where you might traverse the skies?  It would certainly make flying more thrilling, but in all probability not nearly as safe.

Too many of my fellow citizens forget they themselves are beneficiaries of social programs established by government.  In a recent conversation with some of my friends, we were discussing the benefits of a college education.  Two of these were associated with spouses who had enjoyed the benefits of having a first-class medical education. Each proceeded to tell me how their spouses had put themselves through college, paid for their education, thereby earning a license issued by the state allowing them to ply their trade on their fellow citizens.  What if there was no licensing of medical professionals?  Is this not government controlling business?  While both of my friends wax very eloquently on the merits of working ones way through college, both seemed completely oblivious to the fact that working taxpayers, many of whom will never darken the door of a college, let alone a medical school, paid the lions share of costs for each student traversing this wonderful process.  At last estimate, medical students in Texas pay about 20% or less of the cost of providing them with such an education.

The current rant about government intrusion is the current right wing battle cry of repeal Obamacare.  The part currently pending before the Supreme Court of the United States is whether or not the commerce clause of our constitution allows Congress to mandate that citizens acquire certain kinds of insurance coverage.  Ive yet to hear any of these advocate doing away with financial responsibility requirements of drivers who use our highways.  The theory with mandatory liability coverage for drivers is that each driver should show responsibility for the havoc he or she might reek on our public byways.  Why is the same not true when it comes to those who, believing themselves to be impervious to sickness or tragic accident, thrust themselves on the taxpayers of the country by lingering in some cases for years in a vegetative state because of serious injuries befalling them when they have made absolutely no provision for such happenstance?

Because of many of my Republican friends concern over socialism, I am reminded of the scripture in the Bible which suggests many of us strain gnats and swallow camels.  Ive yet to hear one of my Republican friends be critical of things such as the so-called Patriot Act which robs many American citizens of freedom from government oversight, control and even possible imprisonment without due process.  It is one of the few areas in which I find myself agreeing with Congressman Ron Paul. 


  1. Snarky comments? Who, me? :-)

    I get very mad at our President when he says stupid stuff - like appearing to question the authority of the Supreme Court to strike down a law which it believes to be in conflict with the Constitution. He has now seized upon the Fifth Circuit's order, and his advisors' advice to, as they say in Congress, "revise and extend my remarks," crawfishing to the much more defensible assertion that it would be "unprecedented" for the Supreme Court to find that virtually anything Congress does exceeds its powers under the Commerce Clause.

    But I suspect that is precisely what the Supreme Court will do. Talk about a "death panel!" The same Court which no doubt finds it acceptable to force school children to have immunizations and to force motorists to buy liability insurance, is likely to find it unconstitutional to require us to have health insurance.

    If and when this comes to pass, that the mandate is carved out of the Affordable Care Act, it seems to me to beg a simple and perfectly reasonable solution. If we cannot force people to purchase health insurance or to apply for government-financed health care for the indigent, then we ought to also repeal that mandate on doctors and hospitals to provide uncompensated care.

    This way, if you break your leg and you have failed to purchase insurance or to establish your eligibility for indigent health care, you will either have to give cash up front to the triage nurse at the emergency room, or you will just have to drag your leg around behind you until the pain goes away.

    The auto liability insurance mandate is predicated in the principle that a driver's license is a privilege, not a right. And perhaps we need to treat health care the same way. Under current law any Tom, Dick or Harry has the legal right to hop into an emergency room on the leg he didn't break, and have the broken one set regardless of whether he has a means of payment. If the Affordable Care Act, or its central component is declared unconstitutional, then maybe we need to stop treating health care as a right, and start treating it as a privilege extended only to those who purchase health insurance, who qualify for government-paid care, or who pay cash-on-the-barrelhead at bust-out- retail price.

  2. You never disappoint Mr. Dickson and you are as always spot snarky about that!


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