I posted this to Tim Ponogos’s site on November 30th, 2009. He had some mush about the claim by Florida Congressmen Grayson about the alleged 45,000 who die each because of our current system. It’s really hard to follow the logic because it is emotional logic, and thus faith, and thus inarguable. However, this is what I wrote:
The question is not really if we want to “let” John or 45,000 others die because of socialism or the free market. The question is how do we provide John and the rest the best option to ensure life. However, the reality is that sometimes it is just impossible to stop someone from dying. Indeed, the success rate for the, um, merchant of death is 100% over the long run, as Keynes so famously said. Sometimes the disease is so bad, the DNA, the very condition of the patient, including past lifestyles, is not going to allow the patient to live. It is true after all, that even in socialist systems people die. Sometimes by mistakes made by caregivers. There is no way around mistakes in humankind, is there? Or are socialists or free marketeers just so positive that their system is so perfect that no more will mistakes be made?
On the other hand, it is impossible to determine that 45,000 died from a political and tax system, a health care system or an insurance company or the lack of same. It is a made up number. There is simply no way it could be calculated. Without direct action by the killer there is no way to know if the death is by the system somehow. If the free market is killing anyone it is only because the person who needs cure did not find the person providing cure. No economic actor in a free market has an interest in killing a customer — from where do you think free market profits come from? From dead customers? On the other hand, government run systems are often directly involved in killing, as any political prisoner can tell you, if they survived. That’s for the governmentalists among us to explain and defend.
Still, 45,000 is bandied about because a politician in Florida said so. And where did he get that number? Beats me. Sounds made up. Indeed, logic dictates it must be made up. To believe it, to use it, to even utter the sounds is bizarre emotionalism run amok. Who among our people would even make such a calculation? Where is the agency or organization that keeps tracks of “death by free market”?
Though even still, if in a nation of 300,000,000 not so nice free marketeers we killed only 45,000 people than, lordy, they ain’t trying. To argue that free markets “cause” death is to argue that it wants that outcome. Why? Why would it? But to kill only 45,000? Why that low a number? Is that the number that must be killed off in the name of profitable insurance companies and private doctors? It doesn’t make sense. It’s .01 percent of Americans — if the free market is “only” killing off such a miniscule statistical rounding error than it must be a very very good system for the 99.99 percent who live. Why, it’s almost like throwing a few virgins into a volcano for the good of society. That’s how irrational, though, the claim is that the free market is somehow killing off 45,000 people. It is spurious and political.
Now, if the free market is terrible as one side says, and the socialist market — oh yes, socialists have markets, it’s just that the government owns the market, not the free people — is terrible as the other side says how about this solution to satisfy both:
“Each American shall be required to save $25 a week for their working lives in the bank of their choice, insured by FDIC, and paying a 5% interest rate. Such account can be accessed only for medical expenses as determined by the account holder and the doctor of their choosing, and after the age of 60 for their retirement.”
One damn paragraph to get us out of the morass in about 30 to 40 years. No government expenses, no bureaucracies with plans, no middlemen — it’s just you and your own money.
You could even add the proviso: “Every American shall contribute $5 a week to sustain those who by natural physical disability cannot work.” The number of disabled is small.
What happens when you save a measly $25 a week for forty years at 5%? (which is about what Social Security takes out.) Well, you get about $800,000 that is yours, to spend as you like, to live the good life, to find the doctor who might be able to cure you, and to consult and pay and do-gooder who thinks he has the answer for you.
And what do you get for your $25 “investment” in the current social security system? You get, at most, 1400 a month or so, or $16,500 a year. And food stamps, and Medicare or Medicaid. And all manner of tax supported wonders that you have to ask for.
And if you had $800,000 in the bank and it paid you just 5% interest you would bring home, in your retirement, $40,000 a year. And you would not need food stamps, medicare or medicaid and all manner of tax supported wonder that you have to ask for.
And if free marketeers can’t see the wisdom in a required savings plan, they are not thinking.
And if socialist can’t see the wisdom in keeping your own money then they are not thinking.
And that, I believe is the so called “third way.” The Government should at the most require you to have a savings account to handle your own affairs as you see fit.
Beats me what to call it, other than social market rationalism.