Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Meaning of Today's Health Care Vote

Our Inspiration, the Founding Fathers.

I started writing before the vote on health care "reform" today. I once again invoke Churchill:
Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

The importance of a victory today is massive, and so are the consequences of losing. But even if we win today, the war to keep our government within the contours outlined by our constitution role will continue. I know this because I have wrestled with understanding the gap between government in practice versus the theory of limited government since I fell in love with the genius of our constitution as a boy of 12. I conclude that the demand that government ameliorate suffering and seeming injustice is responsible for an ever expanding federal register and budget. Defeat or victory today will not change this. Further, a certain portion of the intellectual class lusting for a power they cannot attain in a free society, will always invent clever arguments for the expansion of government. It is simultaneously our curse and our opportunity to live in a time when the price to be paid this piper is coming due. It affords us the chance to expose the hypocrisy and lies of a century and a half of "progressive" lies that began with Marx and his ilk. The coming recession or inflation will make obvious the costs of ignorance of the fundamental notions of liberty and economy.

Because the the free market is utopia neither theory nor in practice, we need solutions that limit government involvement as our free markets continue their inexorable change. Libertarian and conservative think tanks like Heritage and Cato that propose such solutions are necessary but not sufficient. In the mean time the public has, rightly or wrongly, entrusted the federal government with certain duties. The intellectually lazy approach that seemed to have been taken by the Bush administration, where regulation or action that wasn't supported by the administration was neglected, must cease in any new Tea Party endorsed administration. Even if the administration was actually carrying out its regulatory duties properly, it must win the propaganda war to ensure that it is doing so, even as it searches for better and less intrusive means to secure the regulatory outcomes desired, because the failure will be perceived to be a market failure or the result of "laissez-faire" ideology.

And if the House passes this bill today, that also is not the end of the war. First, the "benefits" do not kick in right away, but subsidies and taxes do. This provides a small window of opportunity for repeal, probably in 2013. Second, the financial pressures on the federal budget will only be exacerbated by this bill as new taxes further distort and depress the economy and new spending sucks credit, the fertilizer of entrepreneurs, out of the economy. This will make clear the wisdom of the Tea Party's emphasis on limited and constitutional government and free markets. We must recruit candidates that believe in these principles and dedicated to rolling back this legislation.

However, Dana Millbank has compared the passage of health care to social security's passage in the 30's. He specifically, points to the impossibility of repeal because it will become just like social security, sacrosanct to the public. At first, I agreed and this is why I have placed defeating Obamacare at the top of my personal political agenda. However, this bill will be so filled with unpopular measures, that it can be dismantled, perhaps, not all at once, but certainly piece by piece. It is unlike Social Security in this way, it is not a singular piece of legislation that guarantees a certain income to the elderly. It is a hydra-headed beast certain to be unpopular for a long time to come. Tarring everyone associated with its passage, given the time available before many of its provisions kick in can be a winning strategy for a party of limited government.

I heard the voting is starting, so I will end this post. I wanted to be on the record before the final outcome is known.

God bless the Congress and the United States of America.


  1. I suggest that the whole thing will self-destruct in a few years and cause a great deal of collateral damage. Just wait - the Japanese will need to sell their Treasuries very soon.