The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Wrong Side of History

Nicholas Kristof uses a wide array of quotes from the 1930s and 1960s to suggest that opponents of current healthcare legislation are “on the wrong side of history.” He writes:
It’s now broadly apparent that those who opposed Social Security in 1935 and Medicare in 1965 were wrong in their fears and tried to obstruct a historical tide. This year, the fate of health care will come down to a handful of members of Congress, including Senators Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln, Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu. If they flinch and health reform fails, they’ll be letting down their country at a crucial juncture. They’ll be on the wrong side of history.

Mr. Kristof doesn’t seem to understand that “history” is a continuum. Over the history of its existence, the social security program has morphed from a simple method for helping seniors in the very last years of their lives (when enacted, only a relatively small percentage of seniors lived past the age of 65) to a full blown welfare program that provides seniors (many of whom do not need assistance) with COLAs and many other unforeseen benefits for 10, 20 or 30 years, paid for by an increasingly shrinking percentage of young people.

Medicare has become a bloated, often corrupt, and vastly expensive system that cannot sustain itself much beyond the next 10 years, again, paid for by an increasingly shrinking percentage of young people.

Both social security and Medicare are huge unfunded entitlements that are becoming an increasingly larger percentage of our federal budget. At some point, these Ponzi schemes will collapse and the coming generation will be left holding the bag.

Mr. Kristof believes that these two federal programs are exemplars for the new government controlled healthcare system that President Obama and the Congressional majority insist on forcing on us. If that’s the case, we’ll be on a side of history that is deficit ridden, inefficient, overly-bureaucratic, and ultimately, far less effective than the current ‘in-need-of-reform’ healthcare system. If that is what is in store for all of us, I’m perfectly comfortable being on the wrong side of history.