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

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Field of Dreams

As we begin the march toward the 2020 presidential election, an increasing (alarming?) number of Democrats have decided that socialism is a viable alternative to the economic and political system that has made the United States the most prosperous, one of the most just (yes, you read that right), and among the most socially conscious countries in world history. Led by Bernie Sanders, Liz Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Tom Perez, with a supporting case of hundreds of thousands of historically illiterate millennials and aging flower children out of the baby boom, the Dems want to have a "conversation" about socialism. Okay then ... let's have one.

The cornerstone of the socialist program for the USA is what leader Bernie Sanders calls "Medicare for All"—federally sponsored health insurance for every citizen (and inevitably, every non-citizen). Never mind that Medicaid for the indigent and Medicare for seniors is nearing bankruptcy and will be insolvent within the next decade. Never mind that blue states like California and Vermont (ironically, Bernie's home state), looked at the idea and ran screaming from the room because the costs were crazy and unsustainable; never mind that any federally mandated program (think: Obamacare) would reduce an individual's freedom to choose doctors and hospitals (think: Medicaid); never mind that a program as large and expensive as universal healthcare would invariably lead to some form of medical rationing; nevermind that "universal" healthcare program invariably reduce the availability of critical medications and ultimately lead to shortages (think: Venezuela).

None of that matters because people like the poster child for socialism, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, believe in the fantasy, and that's all that matters. And besides, "free" healthcare has an allure that just might give it traction. Nevermind the old aphorism that NOTHING is free.

Rich Lowry comments:
The bad news is that Medicare for All is still a completely batty, politically unserious idea.

The new study of its costs, from the conservative Mercatus Center, concludes that Medicare for All would increase federal spending by almost $33 trillion during the first 10 years. To put it in non-technical terms: That’s a lot.

The study notes that “it would be less expensive to the federal government to triple all projected appropriations,” and that “doubling up all currently projected federal individual and corporate income-tax collections would be insufficient to finance the added federal costs of the plan.”

Supporters of the idea impeached the credibility of the findings based on their source, yet a study by the centrist Urban Institute in 2016 found exactly the same thing.

In a way, the socialist philosophy has a movie metaphor, the 1989 mystical classic, Field of Dreams. If you google the movie, here's the synopsis:
When Iowa farmer Ray (Kevin Costner) hears a mysterious voice one night in his cornfield saying "If you build it, he will come," he feels the need to act. Despite taunts of lunacy, Ray builds a baseball diamond on his land, supported by his wife, Annie (Amy Madigan). Afterward, the ghosts of great players start emerging from the crops to play ball, led by "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. But, as Ray learns, this field of dreams is about much more than bringing former baseball greats out to play.
The Democrats on the socialist side of the political spectrum don't care about any of the "neverminds," they are like Ray Kinsella. They fervently believe that building it (universal healthcare) will be "free" or at least will force "the rich" to pay their "fair share" through higher and higher taxes. Like farmer Ray, they disregard the dire economic consequences of their dream, knowing that it will work are they have envisioned.

Field of dreams—the movie—ends with gauzy images of happiness and redemption. The sad reality (that ugly word again) is that in the real world, gauzy images of "free" healthcare for all will not end the same way.