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.

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/