Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Public Option?

When did we ever get to just try a government program? 

 I have been reading a lot of US History lately, and in none of it can I discover the answer to this question. Oh there have been bad laws passed by Congress that have been repealed, Supreme Court decisions which have been made and later reversed, there was even the 18th Amendment (Prohibition) which was later overturned with the passage of the 21st Amendment. There has never however, been a government program that once begun has not been continued, no matter how much money it cost or how great a failure that it proved. Take for example:
  • Federal Income Tax
  • Social Security
  • Medicare / Medicaid
  • The War on Poverty
  • The War on Drugs
Federal Income Tax is now costing the government more in enforcement than it brought in during its first year, with a legal code numbering in the ten of thousands of pages. No one likes it, no one (including the IRS) understands it, and no one thinks that it's fair; but we keep it going. Social Security is for all intents and purposes bankrupt. It will not provide the support it was intended to, has been expanded into areas that it was never intended for, and is almost universally hated by those it was intended to aid. As for Medicare and Medicaid, they have simply proved that what the government doesn't know about supporting its poor and aged is only equaled by what they don't know about their medical care, which I guess can be assumed to be alright, since this program is also currently bankrupt.  

As for the War on Drugs and the War on Poverty; not since the War of 1812, where the US lost almost every battle of the war (except for the Battle of New Orleans which was technically fought after the war was officially over) and had the capital captured and burned has such a fight proved so disastrous. Not only did we fail to achieve the objective, but the billions of dollars squandered in the process without achieving any level of victory is almost treasonous when compared to comparably costing military campaigns.

And yet, as we're standing on the threshold of asking the government to take on the entire burden of medical care for the citizens of this country, we seem to expect a different result. Looking back on consistent and overwhelming failure on the part of the federal government in projects of such scope and importance, we seem prepared to try again. Recognizing throughout history that once this road has been started down, we will never be able to turn back, we appear almost eager to begin the journey.  

This proposal is not an experiment. If the federal government once establishes a bureaucracy to take on the burden of national health care, it will never relinquish control of either the money or the power that will come to the petty bureaucrats that assume it. No matter how it fails or what the cost in money, happiness, or human life; we will never be able to stem this tide.

And so I ask that if nothing else, before we allow ourselves to be bullied into yet another government failure, before we place not just our health, but our very lives in the hands of self-serving government officials who will not participate in the very program that they demand that we do, before we allow yet another government travesty to be perpetrated upon us, that we at least realize what we do. Once we commit ourselves to this program, there will be little left to us but the Public Option.


Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...


There's nothing like batting 1,000 to instill confidence in President ZERO's plan to take over and BANKRUPT the American Health Care System. . .

Roland Hansen said...

Does the public have an option?

Tim Higgins said...


As you well know, government never let a bad idea go to waste, nor a failed principle go without repeating.

Tim Higgins said...


As Sherlock Holmes pointed out more than once, that is quite the 3 pipe problem. I will blow the dust off of mine and let you know.

Daniel Jack Williamson said...

Reminds me of a post at my own blog. An excerpt:

Problematic legislation is almost never repealed. Instead, additional legislation is piled upon it, ostensibly to mitigate the problems, but invariably compounding the problems, until a crisis is declared, clearing the way for sweeping changes that result in yet another power grab by federal authorities. You’d think with advances in literacy, science, and technology, our society would be far better equipped to devolve power back to the people than when the Constitution was first drafted. Counterintuitively, power has been increasingly consolidated in Washington over the past two-plus centuries. Fixing problems is often the ruse used for Washington’s power grabs, even if the problems were caused by Washington in the first place. In fact, we, the people, have to wonder whether enactment of flawed legislation is deliberate sabotage intended to trigger the “justification” for a bigger government role.

Tim Higgins said...


You hit the nail on the head. The answer to bad legislation is more bad legislation, the answer to ill-conceived and overbearing bureaucracy is more onerous bureaucracy.

You likewise trace it back properly to its source, the election of Lincoln in 1860 put us on the path and Teddy Roosevelt and Wilson turned the path into a super highway.