No political party is the best or worst

August 4, 2013

I see that Daniel G. Anderson is continuing to give us his one-sided analysis of the world again ("A Government For All" 7/26-7/29 ). After again trashing Obamacare, he gets to his other major points which are that "government intervention" is bad and the "free market" is good. He is correct to notice that, under Obamacare, moving employees from full time to part time will allow employers to cheat their employees out of Obamacare benefits as well as income.

Of course this will also save employers (owners, executives, managers, bosses) more money so they can boost their own pay or bonuses or strengthen their company against competitors.  But what Anderson does not tell you is that employers have started doing this from well before Obama came into office.

Once, decades ago, good companies would pay for all of your health benefits. Starting about two decades ago, they started to require employees to take money from their net pay to pay portions of the health benefit costs. During this recent period the contribution to employee health benefits by companies has been continually going down while the contribution from the employee take home pay has been continually going up.

Anderson then admits that there are problems with U.S. healthcare, but asserts that Obamacare "was never the answer."  But, Anderson did not mention that before Obamacare we had Anderson's "free market" or something more close to a free market than Obamacare.  Before Obamacare we had the "medical-industrial-private-insurance" complex, complete with costs (to the subscriber) going up at rates well above average inflation and free market waste (such as unnecessary tests, unnecessary procedures, incorrectly denied benefits, frauds involving billing insurance and government for services not performed, medical mistakes, insurance and provider corporate bloat and, yes, corporate bureaucracy of its own). I think I will wait and see before I judge Obamacare.

Anderson moves on to two more of his pet peeves: "intrusive government" and the "redistribution" issue (in which he means tax the rich and give to the poor). What Anderson has declined to discuss is that there is another "redistribution" issue: how "big business" redistributes money from the poor to the rich. It is a historical fact, going back to ancient writings on clay tablets from Mesopotamia, the stories of Solon and Pisistratus in ancient Athens, and statements in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, that the rich always got richer and the poor always got poorer.  Regarding that "intrusive government," I can also find historical references to a few kings and emperors who knew that the rich always exploited the poor and tried to do something to help the poor. Although we have an unfortunate bad IRS story in the news these days, there is another IRS story that did not get as much media coverage: they were working for several years on the problem of rich people hiding quite a bit of money in Swiss bank accounts to evade taxes.  When Swiss bank secrecy finally crumbled, there were waves of rich tax cheaters coming out of dark corners  to take advantage of the IRS amnesty program. Could it be that the real reason for Anderson's fear of "government intrusiveness" is because it might want to peek into his fat wallet to see if he paid all of his taxes on his money?

Anderson ends his article with a swan song: if we just get rid of all the liberals, then all problems will magically go away. Folks, I have observed over the last half-century that in U.S. elections the results very often swing back and forth, like a pendulum, from one party to the other and back again. If one party were consistently or significantly worse than the other, then it would have been preferentially and permanently voted out of existence by now.

Arthur E. Sowers

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