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Is Democratic Socialism just after universal healthcare? Unfortunately not.

23 Aug 2018

In a recent post on the “S” word, some of the commenters suggested that universal health care is not all that bad, so what’s to be afraid of?  Now I am not in favor of universal health care as defined by most young progressives, i.e., government provided health care for all, and I am somewhat afraid of that since I believe the quality and availability of health care would fall as it has in most of the European countries where it is practice (and our neighbor to the north).  It may be expensive, but if you have cancer, you really better hope you live in the United States.  But my concern with the Democratic romance with socialism is that it doesn’t stop there, it will never stop there, and it is part of the totalitarian strain that fallen human beings are capable of that wants to use power to direct the lives of others.  Once that beast is unleashed, without the constraints of a constitutional republic with a market based competitive economy, those in political power can do anything that those that put them in power can be convinced is a good thing.

Now this fear of concentration of power is well known by those proposing just such a concentration of power when that power is held by someone else.  So there are legitimate expressions of fear of what a Donald Trump could do, or the concentrated power of police, or as one Democratic Socialist of an earlier generation said (Ron Dellums), we should “dismantle every intelligence agency in this country, piece by piece, nail by nail and brick by brick.” Yet, those proposing such an expansion think of not the end of the path that they might take us, rather just the next reasonable step to make the society more just–in their view.  As if once there we will not need to take another step, and yet another.  One doesn’t have to go very far to see where those espousing such views would like to go.  It’s more than just the Sander’s argument of income redistribution, with his false choice between the choices in a market economy and care for the poor.

If 99 percent of all the new income goes to the top 1 percent, you could triple it, it wouldn’t matter much to the average middle class person. The whole size of the economy and the GDP doesn’t matter if people continue to work longer hours for low wages and you have 45 million people living in poverty. You can’t just continue growth for the sake of growth in a world in which we are struggling with climate change and all kinds of environmental problems. All right? You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country.*

So what are those steps?  Elizabeth Warren helps us find “the next big thing” for young socialists, a policy sure to lead to economic disaster:  Effectively nationalize all firms that have revenue greater than $1B.  As this supportive piece in Vox argues

Elizabeth Warren has a big idea that challenges how the Democratic Party thinks about solving the problem of inequality.  Instead of advocating for expensive new social programs like free college or health care, she’s introducing a bill Wednesday, the Accountable Capitalism Act, that would redistribute trillions of dollars from rich executives and shareholders to the middle class — without costing a dime.

Wow.  You can have your cake and eat it too–won’t cost us a dime to eliminate income inequality.  So read Vox’s puff piece, and then get a reality check here.  And get a view for why this is totally unconstitutional here.  But for our purposes, it is enough to know that the logic of Democratic Socialism is that like Shelob with her insatiable thirst, there is no end to what those that seek and gain power will propose and do.  They will only be limited by what we rise up to oppose.  I choose to rise up and oppose right now; I want to go no farther down this path.

* No time to rigorously explode this logic, but this is demonstrably wrong.  Suffice it to say that as the economy has significantly strengthened over the last year, with stronger economic growth, we are seeing increase in wages, lower unemployment especially in disadvantaged groups.  Mr. Sanders zero-sum game view of the economy is one of the greatest of fallacies, and one of the most dangerous, as it pits one group against another for a lie, and leads us to cut off our nose to spite our face.