As explained by the heading on my blog, I am taking a government class at my community college. My classmates posted on her blog, Farren’s Inside Look, regarding Texas legislation to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) by taking money from Medicare funds.
I agree with the main point of the article. It makes no sense to take from one major insurance program to give to another. I think its just politics, little else. As stated by George Bernard Shaw, “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” The issue I have with the article is in the last two paragraphs. The assertion Farren makes is that Medicare is the future of America’s seniors and therefore is worth keeping around. I respectfully disagree. Medicare is a bad policy for the same reasons as other government welfare programs. The dilemma with government welfare programs such as Medicare is that either 1) money comes from taxpayer right back to taxpayers, and some mysteriously disappears along the way; or 2) Money goes from taxpayers to non-taxpayers and then Government has become no better than any thief.
The first problem is that when government takes money from people via taxation and then decides to give it back to them, some will inevitably disappear through government’s “butter fingers.” At best, it is useless; at worst, it causes economic lag. According to Economists James D. Gwartney, Ph.D., and Richard L. Stroup, Ph.D.:
“In the United States, studies indicates [sic] that it takes businesses and individuals approximately 5.5 billion worker-hours (the equivalent of 2,750,000 full-time workers) each year just to complete the taxation paperwork. This compliance cost adds approximately 15 cents to every dollar of tax revenue raised by the government.”
Fifteen percent mysteriously disappears in the process of just getting tax money to the government, and that’s not counting administration of the programs. On the other hand, when people can keep more of their money and invest it as they see fit, and then the money can be more effectively utilized. Therefore, I think that Medicare money should be given back to the people in the form of tax-cuts.
Secondly, it is morally wrong for anyone, especially the government, to plunder one person to “give” to another. If a person stole money from one person while threatening to take their property, he would be punished as a criminal. It doesn’t matter if he had the benevolent ends of helping someone in need fund their health care. Yet, government somehow claims immunity from this law. Justice Brandeis had some very insightful words for us when he said: “Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law…” No matter how benevolent the acts of the government be, sponsoring Medicare-like programs is still plunder if it takes from one person to “help” another.
After realizing the facts outlined above, Texas hero Davy Crockett stated before Congress:
“We have the right as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money.”
I believe its time for Texas government to grasp this idea and realize that it has no more right to steel than anyone.
A note I believe I need to add: I am not attacking anyone who uses programs such as Medicare, Welfare, CHIP, etc. In fact, I was on CHIP for a while. I understand that such people have paid the government a lot of money, and should get at least a little bit back. I just believe that we should stop funneling money through a bureaucracy that has butter fingers and start letting people keep more of their own money.
I recommend The Law by Frederick Bastiat. It is an excellent primer on the philosophy of freedom.
1. George Bernard Shaw. Everybody’s Political What’s What? (1944) ch 30. http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/179.html
2. James D. Gwartney and Richard L. Stroup. What Everyone Should Know About Economics and Prosperity. (1993) p 76. available at: http://oldfraser.lexi.net/publications/books/econ_prosp/
3. Justice Louis Brandeis (dissenting). Olmstead et. al. v. United States. 277 U.S. 438. (1928) http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=277&invol=438
4. David Crockett. “Not Yours To Give” originally in: Edward Sylvester Ellis. The Life of Colonel David Crockett (1884). http://www.house.gov/paul/nytg.htm