Wow. The Democrats actually did it. They passed the “health care” bill. When I saw the vote on Sunday I was kind of in shock.
Keep this image (below) in mind, from February 2009, as you contemplate what’s happened (video).
Is this who we are? Looking at the public opposition to this bill I’d say it’s not, but that didn’t stop the Progressives in our government from trying to make it so. Progressives are banking on the idea that even though some of us may not be socialists now, we will be in a matter of a few the next several years once we experience the wonders of government-managed health care. Yes, private insurance and private hospitals are still in play. The truth is they’ve been public-private partnerships for a long time (they didn’t start out that way), but now that partnership will be strengthened even more. The government will give them their directives, along with massive subsidies (more than they get now). The job of the private institutions will only be to implement those directives. The progressives have “restrained themselves” by allowing some choice. I mean, hey, you ought to be glad they didn’t shove through a single-payer system, right? Nevertheless this fits the definition of fascism, what’s otherwise known as “government corporatism”, where the government is telling the insurers, “You can have any color you want, so long as it’s black.” (In case you’re wondering, I’m making an allusion to a famous saying in the fashion world, not to Obama’s skin color)
We’re not quite to what our “progressive fathers” wanted, which is really government-run health care. To heck with private institutions. They anticipate though that this is where we’re headed. The bill passed on Sunday was just the “starter home”, the first installment. They will push things more in that direction the next chance they get, probably some years down the road. Charles Krauthammer has said, “This will not be repealed.” I hope he’s wrong about that. Progressives anticipate that what they’ve created will be around the next time they win power back. Somehow I wonder about that. The fiscal situation that they have put our government in is unsustainable. It’s inevitable that programs which Democrats have put in place recently and in years past will have to be cut. But then again they’ve successfully protected what was established years ago by designing their systems to create dependent constituencies, and implementing successful fear-mongering PR campaigns whenever conservatives try to eliminate such programs.
(Update 9-23-10: I heard today that Krauthammer predicts that Obama will propose a European-style VAT (Value-Added Tax) within a year, because that’s the only way the government will be able to pay for the massive spending that the Democrats have approved.)
Dealing with the situation now, under the new system, the government will be the one providing you with your choices. You go outside that selection and the government will penalize you. If you don’t buy health insurance the government will penalize you. The government has put itself in the business of managing our health. The government is now telling food companies how to make processed foods. Not that I necessarily like processed foods, but I think the dissemination of information and the free market should decide what happens to it.
Edit 3-26-10: Charles Krauthammer and Steve Hayes said some key things about the bill in the “all-star panel” discussion from 3/21, in the video clip below. The first half of the discussion is devoted to Rep. Bart Stupak’s decision to vote for the bill, and the issue of federal funds for abortion generally. I’m not real interested in that discussion. To me, where it got interesting was where Krauthammer said, “We’re going to be a different country.” Well, that’s the idea!
I recently read a historical paper on President Theodore Roosevelt, who was a progressive Republican in the early 20th century. He was obsessed with efficiency. That is a hallmark of progressivism, the desire to make the exercise of government power more efficient. That is not what the Founders wanted, for they knew that efficiency inevitably leads to abuse of government power, and tyranny over the people.
What we saw in the way that the health care bill was produced and passed was an exercise in government efficiency. The bill was written by 5 senators in Sen. Harry Reid’s office behind closed doors. The versions that came out of the Senate Finance Committee were ignored. The Senate passed the version that came out of Reid’s office within a few days. It was then passed through the House despite growing public opposition, and clear signals that we wanted congress to dump the bill.
The legislation was passed this way out of an overwhelming belief in the Democratic ranks that the public does not know what’s good for it. I guess they don’t much like the private economy for that reason as well. I am glad that most many Americans don’t much like this mentality. Progressives don’t believe in representative government, or at least believe that representatives should only listen to aristocrats who are “educated about the issues” (ie. have the same sort of mindset and life experience as they do), and have power to wield. That last part is important. If you’re a government official, the head of a corporation, or of a powerful law firm, or of a non-profit organization, they’ll listen to you. If you’re an average citizen they won’t give you the time of day. You are someone to be managed. If you exist outside of the institutional mindset that they think is legitimate, you are a “free radical”. You’ve “escaped” management control and are not to be trusted. You are not someone to be listened to. Until you vote such people out, they will continue to think that they must manage our economy, and more to the point, your life, because obviously you’re not “doing it right”.
Edit 4-10-10: Dick Morris released an excerpt from his book 2010 Take Back America: A Battle Plan that I thought was really good, entitled “Obama is leading us into socialism”. I think he accurately describes what Obama has been doing politically to lull Americans into a socialistic framework. This is the most chilling part:
THE SIREN SINGS: You don’t really need your democracy anymore. Let us experts run things. We know better than you what you need and we have the knowledge to get it for you. Turn away from the cantankerous politics of shrill debate. Trust those who act with benign knowledge of what is best for you.
BUT REALITY ANSWERS: The experts covet power, and power corrupts them as easily as it does anyone else. Bureaucracies become obsessed with self-perpetuation and soon lose sight of the populations they are supposed to serve. They develop cozy relationships with the power brokers in big companies to form a consortium of business and government to control our lives. It is only through democracy that we can fight their tyranny.