By Jeff Harding
I’m off line for a few days as, I hope, you’ve noticed. But here I am sitting in one of La Jolla’s coffee hangouts getting my morning fix, thinking about some of things I’ve been seeing on TV the last few days. Nothing very encouraging. Lots of commentary on Obama’s speech on health care. I saw Bob Murphy on a panel of commentators on CNBC’s Kudlow show after The Speech. He was pretty good but he didn’t have time to say anything shattering the concept of national health care, but that’s the nature of those shows. I don’t get Kudlow; sometimes he’s really good on issues, but then he’ll be a complete idiot on things like Kars for Klunkers. Probably has something to do with his ratings.
The media has yet to present a good show on health care. They don’t understand the issue and so they pick people, usually politicians or industry-types who really don’t understand the issues and make a complete mess of the discussion. Maybe it’s just that I don’t watch a lot of TV.
My favorite news programs are the ones who interview the Tea Party types. Al Franken, with whom I disagree on everything, has a favorite question for the elderly types who protest socialized medicine. You can probably guess this one: “If you’re on Medicare, are you willing to give it up? Because it’s government-run health care.” You will notice that it immediately quiets the elderly audience. My point is not to denigrate the Tea Partyists, as much as show that they are not very well informed about the issue.
I’ll be writing on this issue shortly, but right now I’m enjoying this place.
When I read The Financial Times or other UK newspapers, or listen to the BBC, they are very clear about what is happening on the health care issue. They, and most Europeans, don’t understand what all the fuss is about here. They understand it is a socialist scheme and they don’t see anything wrong with it. They tend to rave about how good their systems are, though I don’t know why the Brits are so eager to defend their crappy system. I will say that I heard one BBC commentator say the other night that it’s absurd and “silly” to think that their health care system is “socialism.” It’s really discouraging.
Which gets me to something that really bothers me. The use of the words “liberal” and “progressive” to describe American socialists. What’s wrong with that word? The Democratic Party is America’s Socialist Party and has been since FDR (some would remind you that his programs mimicked the programs of Mussolini’s Fascists).
That wasn’t a very good way to put the issue. We all know that the reason they don’t use the “S” word is because people wouldn’t vote for them. But call yourself a “Progressive” or “Liberal” and you are OK. Why is it OK to be a socialist? The creed was demolished as a theory by the Austrians, especially Mises and Hayek in the 1920s. Time has proven it doesn’t work in any country where it has been tried. Socialist Europe is living in a nanny state, allowing enough capitalism to fund their socialist welfare schemes. As Margaret Thatcher said, socialism is great until you run out of money, or something like that. It appears they are running out of that item.
Let’s face it, if we go Euro-socialist, where will the capital come from to drive the world? As we know, the U.S. has been the driver of the world’s economic engine since WWI. Obama’s health care program, on top of Medicare and Social Security, will eat up capital, and with a declining population, faster than the government can spend it.
I think we need to figure out a way to bring to the attention of the American public that what we’re contemplating is socialism without facing the ridicule of the press for being John Birch types. The media have a way of relegating groups they don’t like to the wacko pile.
Anybody got any good ideas?
Sorry for this rambling screed. There are too many distractions here.