Saturday, November 22, 2008

The GOP has finally convinced us of its uselessness

"Raising taxes is about killing jobs and hurting small businesses and making things worse."

- Sarah Palin

Via DailyKos, Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute is arguing that if Obama proves the conservative idea that government doesn't do anything of value wrong, then people are going to quit paying Republicans to go to congress and complain about congress' existence.

Sucks to be on the wrong side of reality, but that's how it goes when you're a Republican in 2008.

Cannon gets all of this right, except he tries to hide this argument about principle in one about optics, by calling Obama's approach to health care "socialized," and insisting that the word magically means we need to avoid it. This doesn't make sense after he admits that a good health program would drive current Republicans away from the right by actually helping them access medical care.

It gets weird when Cannon worries that a single-payer system would trap people into liberalism by "making citizens dependent on the government for their medical care."

Like when conservatives panic about care being rationed under a socialized system, he forgets that this is already the status quo: healthcare is rationed according to income rather than need. Access to health care doesn't create the need for it. Millions of Americans already do not get the care they need, and they won't be any more needy when they've had a taste of access to care through the government. Those without insurance don't have anything to depend on currently. Need for health care is a constant, regardless of ease of access. Many Americans are currently dependent on luck to stay alive and healthy, but augmenting it with real health care doesn't mean that people will not have needed the luck in the beginning. It's not like people haven't figured out that their needs are not being met and that they'll only realize they need to treat their diabetes once they realize how much better they feel when their condition is treated.
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