On Catholic voters, a new New Deal, and the term "single-payer"

Regarding Angelo Matera’s article in the NCRegister referred to by Rufus last week, especially the “the natural home for many pro-life, pro-family voters, just as it was during FDR’s New Deal”, what happened to individuals just voting their conscience? Let the politicians figure out that they need to campaign and vote accordingly.

I’m no Ayn Randian, but something about “the common good” troubles me. The comparisons to FDR’s New Deal really trouble me, as we might well be on the verge of a New New Deal. Which will be a very big deal.

There is a fair-to-middling chance that some form of a Health Care Reform bill will be passed in the next 8 months. The Democrats have the necessary votes, and while the short term political fallout could be costly (Republicans would make gains in the 2010 elections), the potential long-term benefits may prove to be too tempting.

How could it be costly in 2010 but advantageous in the long term? Although they would certainly lose seats in both houses of Congress, they will once again establish themselves as the party that delivers on “social justice”. Consider several important components of this legacy itself: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. All of these are popular welfare programs – none of them are going away – and all of them are financially unsustainable.

An incrementally nationalized health care industry is something else entirely. Politicians will be forced (as in many ways they are already forced) to seek votes by delivering more and more in terms of “social justice.” A system operated under the aegis of 300 million citizens acting (more or less) responsibly for themselves will be handed over to 500 politicians and attendant bureaucrats. Perhaps this happens gradually, but it happens certainly – look at Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – and as it happens, the relationship between citizen and country will change, perhaps irreversibly. No longer will people be acting more or less responsibly for themselves. They will expect the state to act on behalf of them, and they will in turn act on behalf of the state. This doesn’t seem so bad – in fact, it seems pretty good. It will certainly seem safe, and secure, and at first it may well be.

But health care is expensive. Whether citizens pay for it out of their own pocket or out of an insurance company’s pocket, or out of the pockets of government, it’s expensive. No pockets are so deep as to take away that expense. How will costs be cut? Who makes the decisions under each of these different systems? While I’m increasingly suspicious of the terms “the common good”, I think the term “single-payer” to describe socialized medicine reveals how laughable these various collective schemes are. How does a “single-payer” system for a nation of 300 million individuals make any sense at all?


  1. Jonathan Webb says

    The relationship between citizen and state, along with the soul and quality of character of the individual–and his kids.

  2. Jonathan Webb says

    As the great Phil Graham once said, more people need to get out of the cart and help push.

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