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

Sunday, January 13, 2019

A Laboratory

The Associated Press reports that in a number of blue states and cities across the country Democrats are rolling out mini-versions of universal health care with their state. I think that's a terrific idea.

The country as a whole can use these progressive ideas as a laboratory and therefore, we can assess the effectiveness of such programs, their cost impact and economic benefits and problems, and the unintended consequences associated with implementation.

Let's consider a few examples of economic/social progressive policy implemented in a number of Democratic strongholds.
  • The progressive political leadership in Seattle (among other blue cities) has decided to mandate a "living wage." The consequences have been: (1) the flight of small businesses to locales where they can pay competitive wages that are not dictated by ideology as opposed to economics, and (2) a noted increase in the acquisition of automation to replace mostly young, first time workers who now must be paid, say $15.00/hr for jobs that were typically paid $9.00 or $10.00/hr.
  • In other Democratic cities and few states (e.g., California), the leadership has decided to make a statement about illegal immigrants and have offered them "sanctuary." The results have been mixed, and in some cases tragic. These cities and states have become magnets for illegal immigrants who have become a serious burden for already stressed social welfare and education systems. Known criminals are not referred for deportation and despite the magical thinking of more than a few progressives, those criminals do what they always do—be criminals, preying on property and the public.
  • In many blue states (e.g., Connecticut, Illinois, California) leadership has allowed unfunded public sector pension obligations to rise to a level that is unsustainable. The results have been ever-increasing taxes to cover payouts for existing obligations with no solution to cover long term obligations.
  • And in still other blue locales (San Francisco and Venice, CA come to mind), progressive leadership has decided to modify the manner in which homeless people people are treated by the law. Even homeless advocates admit that results have been less than ideal. Street crime is on the rise with some streets beginning to have a 'mad max' feel. Progressive residents of those locales are beginning to question the intelligence and efficacy of current policy.

These are all laboratories where we can observe the efficacy of Democrat policies. In the four examples noted above, those policies raise serious and concerning questions. But maybe it's too early, maybe they will lead to the social and economic utopia that Dems always promise but never seem to deliver. The new thrust toward universal health care is no different. So have at it, Dems. If your approach to universal health care works well in blue locales, if taxes remain under control, if health care delivery does not suffer, if new health care professions opt to remain in your system or decide to move elsewhere, if the quality of care improves—I'll be the first to suggest that we expand the approach nationally. But those are a lot of ifs—and if your past experiments with living wage or sanctuary or pensions or the homeless are any indication, the results will be mixed at best and ruinous over the long term.