One of the pet peeves I have about the debate over universal health care is this argument: “If we socialize health care, where will it end?” As if health care would be the first socialized institution in our country.
Our education system, police force, and even our mail system is socialized. When you look around and see all the social-type program we have, it seems rather amazing that only when health care comes up do people start to worry about socialism.
And, of course, one can’t forget socialized capitalism.
Er, isn’t “socialized capitalism” an oxymoron? In theory, I suppose so. In practice, though, we do it all the time. Society (via taxpayers) provides subsidies for all sorts of companies — profitable Big Oil and Big Ag concerns come immediately to mind. Some would argue that the Federal Reserve itself is something of a socialist institution.
And now, it has been brought to my attention by Mark Zero (one of the people I follow on Twitter) that The Daily Telegraph is reporting that the Fed is actually looking at the Nordic way of solving a banking crisis:
A senior official at one of the Scandinavian central banks told The Daily Telegraph that Fed strategists had stepped up contacts to learn how Norway, Sweden and Finland managed their traumatic crisis from 1991 to 1993, which brought the region’s economy to its knees.
Some may freak out about that, since socialism is rather ingrained in Nordic countries right now. But before you get too concerned, recognize that there are some differences already. One of things Norway did was take over failing banks completely. Shareholders were not compensated in any way.
In America, though, we keep our socialism somewhat more capitalistic. Bear Stearns gets taken over by JPMorgan, and the taxpayers guarantee the transaction. Bear Stearns stockholders’ losses are limited, and JPMorgan gets what amounts to a subsidy. All of it orchestrated by the government. I don’t know about you, but that’s not what free market capitalism looks like to me.
Not that I’m in favor of all-out free market capitalism. My point is that we already adhere to some socialist principles. Even our dearly-held “value” of capitalism is “tainted” by that “evil” idea of socialism.
So, with so much else already socialized, why not offer something that helps the American people? What’s wrong with universal health care?
(Image credit: US government)