Desperate Times call for …Rational Thought

I get the whole “desperate times call for desperate measures” shtick, though that phrase has typically been mere rationalization of political corruption and usurpation.  But I get it.  And I sympathize with our tendency to fall for it.  A pandemic really is a more serious threat than are “terrorists” and our incessant and horridly expensive game of global Whack-A-Mole.  Fear is a real thing.Jobless graph

But at some point, deaths resulting from our forcibly-imprisoned populace and arrested commerce (lack of HVAC, medicine, food, for example), rising suicides, domestic violence, neglect, and of course, deaths by less-popular and therefore untreated diseases, could surpass deaths from the SARS-CoV-2 virus / COVID-19 disease.  (see Venezuela)

Very few talk about such deaths caused by our sequestration, and the suppression of our economy, perhaps because it’s impossible to know exactly at what point the death graph lines would cross, and our government actions would become much more harm than help.  It seems unlikely since we seem to be doing so well right now, all things considered.  But then, the effects of current shutdowns won’t be fully felt for months, or maybe years if this is the straw that breaks our house-of-cards economy
It’s really the same “unseen” opportunity cost problem so well described by Bastiat in his excellent “That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen.”

PlagueDoctorIt’s also the case that these poverty-caused deaths would be almost entirely in the lower half of our socio-economic bell curve.  And despite the Democratic Party’s loud crocodile tears for less-fortunate humans, it’ll be mostly in areas where the D tribe is already in control, and therefore nobody in either crony party camp, really cares.  Poor people don’t contribute to reelection campaigns, after all…but dead people do vote, so… 

SaveUs

Keep in mind how Social Security works: 1. Politicians keep increasing the benefit age because it’s their inherent desire that you die before you can claim benefits.  2. They keep whatever money they don’t give back to you, personally (it doesn’t go to your family, of course).  3. They tax the benefits that they already taxed.  4. They don’t actually have to give it to you anyway.  When times get really tough, it won’t be there.  And that will be when most people depend upon it most. 

This is a very simple example of central planners destroying options for individual planners.  In other words, people can’t serve themselves when politicians, claiming to serve everybody, suck up all the resources and take away all the options, leaving individuals sucking for air…proving once again that we humans have no disease more deadly than the collective’s Caesar.

Of course I wish our culture would rise to a better vision

But we’re already suffering a pandemic of debt, corruption, monetary madness, Orwellian war, fascism/corporate socialism and cultural division that will soon make the fall of Rome look like a lady’s gentle sneeze.  No mask or gloves or sanitizer can protect us from it.

Only a revolutionary change of heart and mind, and action, (and that’s likely only by Divine Intervention) can save us now.

 

About Prohibition…

First, let me be very, very clear on this.  I do NOT believe that marijuana is totally harmless.  It is not.  But harm or benefit is not what political prohibition is all about.

Short answer: Decriminalizing pot isn’t about pot; it’s about governing our government.

If you’d like to start discussing and finding the best ways to suppress bad behaviors and promote good behaviors, fantastic!  Let’s do it!

But that’d be pretty much the opposite of what we’re doing now.  The War On Drugs is not only counterproductive, it’s also unconstitutional, illegal and immoral.

The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution for the United States of America couldn’t be more clear.  It’s just one sentence; and it was exhaustively explained at the time it was written and made a part of this nation’s fundamental law:

RememberThe powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

So… powers not specifically granted, are specifically denied.  If the Constitution doesn’t clearly say our federal government can do something, it can’t do it.

Simple.

Of course, politicians hate that.  It’s a leash on their power.  It’s a limitation.  It’s a big NO to their inevitable desire to oppress their fellow humans.  It’s a restraint that makes them public servants instead of rulers.

And so, they’ve been fighting the 10th Amendment since the ink was wet.

But even with our first Prohibition, 126 years after the Tenth Amendment, our politicians were still restrained enough (and/or We The People were still wise and watchful enough, more likely), that they understood that in order to ban the sale of alcohol…or anything else, for that matter…they’d have to amend the constitution.

So they wrote, passed and ratified an amendment respectful of these fundamental principles and laws.

If you want to do something breathtakingly stupid, that is the correct way to do it.

But let’s be clear about this.  The 18th Amendment, while composed of three sentences instead of just one, was also written clearly enough that confusion would be inexcusable:

  1. The federal amendment would be null and void without concomitant and timely action from the states. “This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
  2. Enforcement was also understood to be a shared responsibility. “The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
  3. Most importantly, this amendment was very specifically limited to only the manufacture and distribution of “intoxicating liquors.”  It did not grant any level of government any authority or power to limit the manufacture/distribution of anything else…and it did NOT take away anybody’s right to consume whatever they wanted. “After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

The 18th Amendment never granted any level of government any power or authority to tell you what you can, can’t or must consume.  It never granted any level of government any power or authority to even limit the manufacture, sale, or transportation of anything but “intoxicating liquors.”

So let’s clear up one more thing…and it’s The Biggy:

When the 18th was repealed by the 21st Amendment, it was replaced by …nothing!  There is no longer any amendment, there is no authority (see the 10th Amendment), no legal, just power to prohibit the manufacture, sale, or transportation of ANYTHING!

RememberAnd there never was, and still isn’t, any constitutional authority or just power to prohibit people from consuming whatever the heck they want.

In other words, all the no-knock raids, the expanded policing powers, the incarcerations, the lives ruined by a conviction record, and of course the insane loss of life with enforcement, and the politically corrupt nature of black market trade …is all unconstitutional, illegal, immoral, and otherwise totally wrong.

It’s frustrating we even use the word “decriminalize” since what we’re calling criminal was never legally made a crime.

Legally, constitutionally, none of this should be happening.

Whether people should be consuming high-fructose corn syrup or 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine is a separate topic.  How to make people stop doing bad things is a separate topic.  And I would never argue that THC and the new strains of marijuana are harmless.  They are not

Right now, the item of urgent concern is that our government is corrupt and un-governed.

And that’s not just an inconvenience.  A violently corrupt, deceitful, off-the-rails ungoverned government is a civilization-destroying monster.  

Let’s fix that.  Pronto.

Then, if we’d like a legitimate Second Prohibition, we ought to do it in the proper way.

Until we follow the procedure for this, however, there is no legal, moral, or certainly any functional argument to keep doing what we’re doing to people, all over the world, with our illegal, immoral, costly and self-destructive “war on drugs.”

 

Quit mortgaging our future, dang it!

Freedom, IN – Of course we need to cut taxes.  I’d vote to end income tax entirely.

But we already know this game. Politicians say that “government is too big,” but then make it bigger. They trumpet the need to cut spending, but then spend more.

And, of course, they sometimes cut taxes (just a little) without fixing the first two things; which means that they’ll later raise taxes, and cut promised benefits.

Nobody likes to pay taxes.  But taxes are a symptom, not the disease itself.  The disease is ungoverned, unregulated, out-of-control politics and all the cost and violence that entails.

Every single one of the other 2018 primary election candidates for Indiana’s US Senate seat are promising more government. Every one of the others promise more fear-aggression-syndrome foreign policy, more domestic militarization, more intrusions into our privacy, trade and personal interactions.

I’m the only candidate promising less.

A lot less

I have a plan for Peace, prosperity, Security, Liberty and Justice for ALL, in eight steps.

But the summary is that I mean to cut the corruption, cost, intrusiveness, abusiveness and ineffectiveness of our central government by actually cutting powers, programs, agencies…and people, from that government. I propose establishing a truly federal (instead of our increasingly unitary) government as defined by the authorizing compact.

That is how this is supposed to work. That is still the law, as written and amended.

And I’m the only candidate who’s all about that.

Liberty or Bust!
Andy Horning
Freedom, Indiana

Horning into GOP race for Indiana US Senate

For Immediate Release

December 7, 2017

Freedom, IN – Americans want options. We have unlimited choices in coffee, shoes, electronics, cell service…everything, in fact, excepting whatever politicians control.

It’s literally a shame that only two political parties can fully participate in our democratic processes. But it’s even more of a shame when both of those two parties offer only one option: more debt, more inflation, more wars, more regulations, and of course more corruption; meaning less peace, prosperity, security and freedom.

The Republican Party’s platform is actually quite good; it’s yet another shame that with a total lock on both federal and state political power, the GOP has been spitting on their own ideals.

Until today, it was hard to find any substantive differences between the Republican Party candidates for the Indiana US Senate seat.

But today, I’m throwing my hat into the ring as a Republican Party candidate for US Senate, and I have a plan to set things right. I am putting peace, prosperity, Rule of Law, real security, and (you know I’m big on this) freedom, on the ballot.

Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end.” – Lord Acton

Liberty or Bust!

Andy Horning

Freedom, Indiana

###

Can politicians even define “health care?”

I’ve worked in healthcare since 1978 in public health, research, clinical, education and industry roles.  And I can’t tell you what healthcare is.

Ascelpius-V-PoliticsTo my wife, it’s massage and things that smell nice.  To others, it’s Reiki, or heterodox nutrition.  Some debate that vaccines are bad medicine, but marijuana is great healthcare.  And they have convincing arguments.

Is gender-reassignment, or voodoo healthcare too?  Who decides?

I think cardiovascular science and technology is really cool stuff, it’s my specialty, and I think it should qualify as healthcare.  But as for everything else?  I can’t even give you a clean definition of “health.”  And I’ve been in the business my whole life.

Politicians sure think they know all about it.  And by the Election Day polling numbers, well-over 90% of us believe and trust that politicians should control …everything.

But after the more than 100 years the unionized AMA has wielded political monopoly power, the 80 years of taxpayer subsidized health insurance, 60 years of socialized health, education and welfare, and the almost 50 years of even more directly socialized healthcare in the form of our rapidly swelling Medicare system, I’m appalled that we think we want more politics in healthcare.  I’m disgusted that we’ve been lead to believe that health insurance is what we want when that is often antithetical to healthcare.  And I’m embarrassed that We The People haven’t seen a better way to live that’s always been right before us.

In every field of science, technology and plain old merchandise that isn’t so political, costs decrease while quality, efficacy and availability increases with every new advance.  Luxuries of yesterday like cellphones and personal computers are now ubiquitous and powerful necessities.

The in-your-face availability and range of price/quality in shoes, coffee, kitchen gadgets and even things like used magazines and historical wristwatch reproductions has become amazing in a relative freedom from political control.

There’ve been innumerable healthcare advances in the last century that would’ve made healthcare cheap, effective, and easily available to all…if not for all the politics that’s been creeping in since Teddy Roosevelt’s time.
Politicians have already made everything related to medicine unfair, complicated, ever-changing, severely limited, and ghastly expensive.

And they’re not done yet.

However, none of the preceding is any part of my main objection to more politics in healthcare.
I’ll let others quibble over whether politicians will finally be able to keep a promise, or make something work at all as advertised.

The real problem, whenever we rub that genie’s lamp of politics, is corruption, and calamity.

Everything government does, it does by force.  Politics can’t do anything without at least the threat of fines, taxes, courts, guns and prisons.

It’s easy to dream that this kind of force can be used for good.  But the usual reality, as evidenced by all of human history, is a scale and degree of injustice and death that only politics can achieve.
Power is of course a seduction for those who’d wield it.  But it’s just as attractive to those who can simply buy the portion of such power as suits their purposes.

And make no mistake.  All power is for sale.

Whenever politicians are allowed to steal a new power, there’s a new industry in lobbying for the use of that power.  We can see how that lobby has worked for the military industrialists and bankers, and we should see what it has done to our health, education and welfare as well.

Adding more power to government, with more snooping into things that are more personal than ever before possible, only makes the resulting corruption more dangerous.

Hitler’s infamous “T4” eugenics/euthanasia program under Germany’s socialized healthcare system certainly demonstrated one hazard in giving politicians so much power over life.  But think about what we already know of our own government; what they’ve admitted to from the past (testing plutonium on school kids, syphilis experiments on black men, experiments on soldiers), and what they’ve been forced to admit recently about their spying, militarization and deceit.   Think hard about how much more secretive, powerful and deceitful we know our government to be now than ever before; and just what such a government is capable of doing with the actual coding in our cells.

And changing the role of healthcare workers from healers to government agents who’ll give to politicians everything from your DNA to your intimate personal and family details, will, over time, change the sort of people who’d seek out such a career.
You really shouldn’t want that to happen.

We The People have exactly and only what we have freely and repetitiously chosen not just every every day we sigh, and yield to what we know is wrong and isn’t working; but also every Election Day.

Elections were meant to be a means of peaceful revolution.  We’d better finally use them for that purpose, because the power over our bodies we’re granting to politicians now will have no good end, unless that end is determined by our change of heart and mind.

RELATED POSTS:
https://wedeclare.wordpress.com/2009/09/23/a-short-history-of-health-care-let-doctors-be-doctors/
https://wedeclare.wordpress.com/2009/07/28/health-insurance%E2%80%A6or-healthcare%E2%80%A6choose-one/

Updated Annotations to the US Constitution

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve edited this…
https://wedeclare.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/annotated-usa-constitution.pdf 

Click to access annotated-usa-constitution.pdf

We never asked…

I intend to deliver the following to the Governor’s Office with a press conference at noon on July 4 on the east steps of the statehouse.

I believe this is the the most appropriate date (and a date upon which I’d staged yearly protests until 2008). I think it’s the most appropriate place to start for this Step One (a polite request to the correct officer).

I hope a good number of people, including you, can show up to join me:

 

Dear Governor Daniels,

We have read our state and federal constitutions. We understand their purpose and legal authority. And now we both understand, and suffer, the breadth and depth of our society’s transgressions against these fundamental laws.

These transgressions have occurred by public choice, and progressively over many generations, so we did not see the damage we were doing. But we do see that damage now.

It would be both tedious and unnecessary to detail the errors and resultant harm done, or to list our many reasons for wanting the illegality to end.

We will supply at least a partial list of serious grievances and injuries if that would help you remedy the breach of social contract that caused them. But our requested remedy is both simple and proven to work better for liberty, security, prosperity and justice than anything else yet tried in the history of human governance:

We ask only that you execute Rule of Law under existing Indiana and federal constitutions, exactly as these laws are written.

Governor Daniels, we want these laws to be enforced without exception, all the time, as soon as possible. They are few enough that everyone can know them; simple enough that everyone can understand them; and important enough that everyone, particularly agents and officers of government, should obey them all without exception, proviso or privileged classes, all of the time.

The laws leave no room for selective enforcement, or preferential treatment by corporate abstraction, class or process. All citizens are to be equal under the laws, and no person is above the laws. No legitimate political authority exists outside of that granted by the plain sense of our constitutions. All governing agencies, actions and rules that exist outside constitutional limitations are, by the clear words and purpose of the constitutions, null and void.

If any part of a constitution is so unclear as to prohibit enforcement, there is a constitutional process for clarifying it in print. But we herewith submit annotated copies of each constitution on the expectation that you will see little that is vague or open-ended in either contract. These annotated constitutions are also freely available online at:

https://wedeclare.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/annotated-usa-constitution.pdf

https://wedeclare.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/indiana-constitution-book.pdf

We understand that as seriously as we have failed over the generations, it will take some time to restore legitimate authority to our civil government, and peel back the false accountabilities and destructive dependencies accumulated over generations. We propose that five years is more than sufficient to phase out all illegal political entities, processes, rules, precedents, actions and taxes; and to enact amendments and phase-out plans necessary to ensure full constitutional obedience.

Yet current budget and social conditions demand all possible speed, and history demonstrates an invariable and harsh penalty for delay. Please do immediately employ the legal and political authority that is yours, to restore what is, by law, ours.

Thank you

Here are a few specific conclusions drawn from a simple reading of the constitutions, and requiring immediate action:

  1. Precedents, in courts or in policy, are not law; nor are “Executive Orders” law. Only the legislative branch can write laws, and then only in the domain authorized. Courts may not write laws, bureaucracies may not write laws, and executives may not write laws. Therefore, all such illegal “laws,” regulations, orders, rules and mandates are null and void. They must be declared so, and denied enforcement, as quickly as possible.
  2. Baseless currency is illegal. Mandated, monopoly currency issued by unconstitutional transnational private banks, is illegal. Therefore, we ask for a restoration of specie payments and gold and silver-based currency as quickly as possible.
  3. It makes no sense, nor is it constitutionally permissible, to tax private property owners for our Common Schools. We certainly don’t need taxation to facilitate the current wide and deep discrepancies between rich and poor, and it is illegal. We ask for the restoration of a constitutional Common School fund as quickly as possible.
  4. There can be no serious doubt about what a Common School system actually is. No other education system is in the authorized domain of state or federal government. We ask for the end of any political involvement in education outside of what’s authorized as a legitimate Common School system; or at least amend the constitution to describe new limits.  

The following are additional thoughts for our consideration only:

Note: In case you’re wondering why I don’t address our Governor as “The Honorable;” titles like “The Honorable” or “Esquire” are specifically unconstitutional…and for good reason.
Note: some media folk (particularly the Indianapolis Star) will do their level best to cubbyhole you to something easily dismissed. Resist their attempts to brand us “Tea Party,” “anti-government,” “anti-union” or anything else in the news. Stay on subject. Do not allow them to draw you into another subject that they’ll quickly apply to all of us.
Please: Anything you say outside of Rule of Law under existing constitutions, as written, will ruinously derail our message. DO NOT BRING UP ANYTHING ELSE. No gay marriage, war, tax…anything but ROL under existing constitutions, as written.
Please: Dress nicely, and come neatly groomed. Be as pleasant and yet firm, as possible. This would not be a good time for joking around or bringing/wearing props. This is serious; we must be serious, solid citizens.
DO NOT FORGET: We are the pro government people. We want to govern our government, restore legality to our lawmakers and justice to our judiciary. We are the ones who are legitimate, correct, and on the legal side of the law.

PLEASE NOTE: This is more of a mea culpa than a protest. We The People have what We The People have chosen repeatedly through the past hundred years. We must admit the error of our ways, and choose better. We have no cause for anger…not yet.
Extra Special Double-Note: I repeat: we have gotten into our mess because nearly everybody has chosen it, progressively, and over generations. Most people still cannot imagine what kind of trouble we’re in. If they could, they would not believe that they’re to blame. Remember, we’re not asking so much of our politicians as we are of We The People. We’re asking voters/citizens to change themselves. It is a big enough task to get people of extraordinary political understanding to join us… let us try to show patient understanding to those who still just don’t get it.
PS: I wrote that last note largely to me.

Here’s the key thing:

Tell everyone you know to check out the letter to our Governor, send it to their state legislators, and ask them to add their in-person support to our little endeavor.

Liberty or Bust!

Andy Horning

Freedom, IN

thefreedomfarm@gmail.com

Summer 2010 Indiana Policy Review

Here’s the latest Indiana Policy Review summer 2010 journal – “A Tea Party Primer.”  Please pass it on to everybody you know.  Tell them to pass it on to everybody they know.

Etc.

It’s now or never, my friends…

Here’s one last column before I take down this site:

I have never believed in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, or that creepy Tooth Fairy thing. 

But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t nurtured other baseless, nutty beliefs until some painful paroxysm jolted me awake. 

Many years ago, under horrible personal circumstances, I endured the same spiritual upheaval you’re feeling right now.  Just as with you, my religion turned out to be a big lie.  My false god turned against me, just as it’s turning against you now.  So like you, I can no longer believe in the charity, peace and love of …politicians. 

While initially painful, there is relief in this truth that sets you free. 

But there’s another problem.  Nobody alive remembers how liberty works.  We cannot imagine how schools, roads jobs, healthcare, or food ever existed without a political genesis, subsequent bailouts, lawsuits and bipartisan bickering.  Only if you’re over 100 years old did you even exist when there was such a thing as a free market; with all the innovation, competition and rapid advancement that entails.

So as we endure the agony of Change that’s not working, we must thoughtfully prepare a better way forward.  I suggest we first retrieve what we’ve lost from the past.

All federal authority is still clearly written into the Constitution for the United States of America (Article I, Section 8; Article II, Sections 2-4; Article III), which you could read in just a few minutes.  All other powers are still very clearly denied by one short sentence (Amendment 10).  Similarly, all Indiana government powers are spelled out in the Indiana Constitution, while every other conceivable power is still denied by a single sentence (Article I, Section 25).

No state or federal constitution was ever amended, altered or suspended to authorize most of what governments now do to citizens.  Nullification of anything unconstitutional is already law at every level of government in the republic.  So we have the right, the power, and the duty, to tell politicians to back off; all the way back to the constitutions.

Here’s a summary of what that means:

  1. Citizens can do whatever they want to as long as they don’t harm anybody else, or take what’s not theirs.
  2. We’d have no more government than necessary to maintain #1
  3. We invite others around the world to emulate our success, but otherwise leave them the heck alone.
  4. Your major civic duty is to disobey, invalidate and otherwise eliminate all unconstitutional taxes, mandates, organizations and agents.  Yes, civil disobedience is a duty. 

So caveat emptor would replace the FDA, FTC, FDIC, FCC and a zillion other F’agencies.  Common sense, family ties, competition, voluntary associations, charity and free market options galore would replace union/corporate monstrosities, Medicare, Social Security, lobbyists, regulations, litigation and price controls.  And because of the preceding, you get to keep what you earn, buy what you like (smoke it if you’re fool enough – and as long as you don’t blow it in my face), and live however and with whomever you want…as long as you leave others, and their stuff, alone.

No federal tooth fairies, no President coming down the chimney with presents, no more bogus political promises; just a reality proven to work better than anything else ever tried.

That may not be a Square Deal or a New Deal.  But it’s a fair deal, which makes it the best deal in all of human history. 

Can you live with that? 

People used to call that “freedom.”

And they liked it.

Just cleaning out my closet…

As always, I’d thought I’d had the best of intentions.  But, as always, my best ideas weren’t worth spit to anybody with money and power…

Here’s the first of a set of demo “Liberty Minute” segments I’d hoped somebody would air/sponsor/touch with a ten-foot-pole:

Liberty Minute #1

Another one

And another one

I had a whole bunch of them

But, to no avail. 

Sigh…

I really wish somebody would’ve taken me up on the liberty-themed bluegrass band (my banjo pickin’s rusty, but I could get my chops back), or the liberty-comedy videos, or the “Citizen Soapbox” night-out events, or the…

…well, none of those liberty-themed ideas worked.  Too much effort, I suppose. 

Perhaps we’re plunging toward our brutal default state because I just couldn’t get people excited about libertarian mime.  Maybe that whole constitutional ballet thing was badly conceived, but I’ll try anything if it promotes liberty and justice for all.

But I’ve been thinking a lot lately about liberty-based sports.  Americans know and care more about sports than anything else, apparently; and I’ve got this idea that’s a little like the winter games’ Biathlon, except without the skiing.  It’s even a little bit like football, in that things happen fast and you’ve got to know who’s on your side and who’s not. 

But it’s really like gladiator games or Ultimate Fighting, except these games are not in a stadium!

It’d be terribly exciting. 

OK, so just like other sports, there’s a possibility of serious injury or death.  Isn’t that part of the attraction?

But the prize for winning is liberty and justice for all! 

What could be more wholesome and fun?!?

…Anybody interested?

Eh…I suppose not.

A Short History of Health Care: Let Doctors Be Doctors

I just ran across this on another website.  It’s a column I wrote for Indiana Policy Review a couple of years ago that seems more appropriate than ever now.

A Short History of Health Care: Let Doctors Be Doctors
By Andrew Horning

Healthcare is an odd business in that it has always been both expensive and unpleasant. Until the 1920s, the average doctor couldn’t even help with the average ailment. While medicine then included a range of arts like phrenology, acupuncture, homeopathy and allopathy it really was a coin-toss whether you’d be saved or killed by a doctor’s work.

Then the 20’s brought insulin, sulfa, other “miracle” drugs and sterile fields that meant, for the first time, that healthcare actually worked more often than not. From there, doctors, scientists and medical engineers really took off; rapid advancements increased life expectancies and decreased suffering. And because of increasing effectiveness and supply, healthcare was even becoming cheaper in real cost-benefit terms.

However, politicians had nothing at all to do with this, and that was apparently a problem. Teddy Roosevelt proposed a German-style, cradle-to-grave “socialized” healthcare system, but it was assailed as “the Prussian Menace” in those anti-German years before WWI, and Teddy’s scheme died. Even so, politicians wanting to seem compassionate started promoting socialized healthcare. The July 1919 issue of the Insurance Monitor made this prescient assertion: “The opportunities for fraud upset all statistical calculations. . . . Health and sickness are vague terms open to endless construction. Death is clearly defined, but to say what shall constitute such loss of health as will justify insurance compensation is no easy task.”

No matter. Between The Revenue Act of 1939’s health-related tax breaks, and 1943, when the War Labor Board excluded employer-paid health insurance from its wage freeze, American politicians charged into health care on their favorite horse, income tax.

In a nutshell, here’s what happened: Tax breaks for employer-paid health insurance meant that health insurance became a part of employment, and insurance became an integral part of healthcare. This inserted middlemen, which of course made everything more expensive. But who cared? The tax-subsidized, payroll-deducted cost was invisible enough that Americans started using insurance to pay for routine visits, dental checkups, eyeglasses and even plastic surgery. Group insurance offered large corporations better plans than small companies could muster, giving large corporations even greater advantages in hiring and competition than corporate laws already gave them. This also meant that the poor, or worse, the self employed, were even further distanced from the rich and incorporated in a very serious way. Obviously this created problems, but politicians never admit error, do they?

Four days before Tax Day, 1953, President Dwight Eisenhower established the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, giving government even more direct control over some of humanity’s most precious commodities. More political money and power meant more reasons for businesses to make campaign contributions and lobby. Of course, politicians at every level of government have used healthcare policy to reward their friends and punish their enemies. That’s their stock in trade.

Now tax money and policy is sifted and sorted through political appointees, immortal bureaucracies and defense-contract-style arrangements to feed a dwindling number of profit-starved insurance companies who then deny your claim. Doctors hire legions of workers to manage the regulatory, litigative, and insurance paperwork hassles; or leave private practice to become an employee within a clerically staffed healthcare corporation. So healthcare is still both expensive and unpleasant. But now it’s only because politicians, not doctors, are practicing medicine. Our healthcare injustices and vital statistics have decayed into an embarrassment at just the time when technology should make healthcare cheap, effective and available to all.

It is hard to imagine what politicians could have done to make our healthcare situation any worse. Yet, according to a July 2006 Harris Poll, Americans rate the issue of healthcare well-behind Iraq, the economy, immigration and even gas prices. Even more strangely, most people now think we must, to some degree and by some unspecified method, “socialize” healthcare just as Europe, Canada and other nations are now scrambling back toward free market reforms. What are we thinking?

Let politicians have their way with Iraq, the Colts and toll roads. Let them run lotteries and practice voodoo. But please, let doctors do healthcare at last; they’ve earned the right.

RELATED POSTS:
https://wedeclare.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/can-politicians-even-define-health-care/
https://wedeclare.wordpress.com/2009/07/28/health-insurance%E2%80%A6or-healthcare%E2%80%A6choose-one/