Have you ever wondered why “Lose weight without diet or exercise” programs make so much money? Deep down, any reasonably intelligent person knows that to be a lie, yet billions of dollars are spent each year on pills and programs sure to fail. Purchasers of such products suppress what they know to be true in favor of what they want to be true.
This morning, I read that the Congressional Budget Office warned that the health care plan being considered in Congress would not reduce costs, but would increase them. The report also noted that the federal government would be picking up more and more of the tab. I was shocked…shocked! That’s not what Obama told us. He said he would make health care cheaper for us without increasing the deficit.
Sometimes my faith in human nature gets the best of me. I thought that when our current administration took office, it would be so overwhelmed with the financial crisis that we would be spared many of the bigger-government initiatives Obama had promised, at least for a while. Boy, was I wrong. This administration has, in the space of a few months, presided over the most radical expansion in the role of government since FDR.
We are about to witness the passage of a health-care bill that may just bring this country to ruin. One might ask, “Well, if FDR’s expansion of government didn’t ruin us, why should we think Obama’s will?” There are three principal reasons. First, government is many times larger than it was then. More of our economy revolves around the public sector with each passing decade. Second, our government is already more heavily in debt (as a percentage of GDP) than since the years immediately following WWII. Third, the financial system since FDR was in office has morphed into a teetering house of cards.
All three trends stem from one root. We have forgotten, or conveniently neglected to acknowledge, that every dollar our government plans to spend on health care must come from somewhere. Either it will be confiscated through taxation, “borrowed” from future generations, or simply created out of thin air by the Federal Reserve. In the first two cases, there is at least a fig leaf covering our collective financial nudity. We see the money taken from us in the form of taxes and we know in some sense that debt must be paid back by our children and grandchildren. When the Fed creates money, the theft is disguised in the form of inflation. In that case, no worries about nudity–we just assume that we are invisible.
No matter how they get (or create) the money, Congress and the President cannot get a free lunch. At some point, soon in my view, the system will implode. If they try to pay for their fairy tale promises with current taxes, they will kill the engine of production that sustains it as profits are siphoned off to a vast bureaucracy. If they try to borrow more from future generations by increasing the debt to even more ridiculous levels, those future generations will simply refuse to pay, staging a mass revolt. And who could blame them? If they use the Fed’s “magic money,” the eventual result will be hyperinflation. If true hyperinflation hits, all bets are off. We’ll be lucky to afford band-aids, much less a doctor’s services.
There is one and only one sane solution. We citizens must grow up. Politicians can foist these kinds of scams on us only as long as we believe in things like losing weight without diet or exercise. Managing health care over the next several years will be a challenge, but a challenge we can all manage with some ingenuity and the attitude of adults. We need to realize that refusing to go along with this sham is the equivalent of saying no to the ads the promise a beach body on a couch potato. Ain’t gonna happen, America.