The View from Abroad

Hard hitting commentary from an American living overseas

Kenn Jacobine

Kenn Jacobine
June 03
Kenn Jacobine is an international educator currently teaching History and Economics for the American School of Doha, Qatar. He has also taught at international schools in Ecuador, Mali, and Zambia. His political transformation took place over the course of many years. Starting out naively as a big state liberal, he became a Reagan Republican in 1982. Disillusionment set in with the realization that small government rhetoric rarely translated into limited government actions. On Christmas day 1992, he became a libertarian. In 1994, Kenn ran for the State Senate in Pennsylvania on the Libertarian Party ticket garnering 5 percent of the vote. He has been active in freedom causes ever since.

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APRIL 5, 2012 2:11PM

Obamacare Must Go!

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Let’s get right to the point:  the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare needs to go away.  Far away.  It doesn’t matter if the Supreme Court rules it unconstitutional or if Congress can come to its senses and repeal the legislation.  One way or another, it must go.

The record of our federal government providing services outside of its constitutional jurisdiction is atrocious to say the least.  It includes big wasteful bureaucracy, questionable accounting practices, and massive cost overruns.  Speaking of cost overruns, Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare alone face 10s of trillions of dollars in unfunded future liabilities.  So it was no surprise this past week when Republican Senator Jeff Sessions’ office reported that it discovered the long-term funding gap of Obamacare to not be $1 trillion as the President has claimed all along, but a whopping $17 trillion.  Nancy Pelosi was right all along – they had to pass the bill to see what was in it.  And boy we are now beginning to see what a rook job has been pulled over on the American people.

Now, I suppose that costs don’t matter if you think government debt is irrelevant.  After all America could never end up like Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, or Hungary.  And the Japanese, Chinese, and Arab nations will continue to buy up our debt allowing us to borrow cheaply for everything we no longer make but still need. 

Unfortunately government debt is not irrelevant and the day of reckoning is coming.  All Federal Reserve induced financial bubbles (, housing, etc…) burst eventually.  The Fed’s U.S. debt bubble is no exception.  It is likely that at some point our lenders stop buying our debt.  Interest rates will have to rise dramatically to entice foreign investors to service our debt again.  The Fed will print even more money to cover the shortfall increasing our debt further and devaluing the dollar to the point where exponential price inflation of goods and services will result.  Life savings will be wiped out and Americans’ standard of living destroyed.

I’m not minimizing the problem of 40 million Americans without health insurance, but the consequences of the federal government being all things to all people will eventually destroy the economy for everyone.  In fact, the reason health care costs are so high is precisely because of government involvement in the industry.  In the first place, government limits competition through licensing laws and the drug approval process thereby eliminating an important mechanism in controlling costs.  Secondly, increased government spending on health care bids up the price of care.  If Obamacare is allowed to exist it will quicken our economic downfall.  Insuring 40 million more Americans for a short period of time is little consolation for destroying our way of life.

At the end of the day, it is more likely the Supreme Court will void the law rather than Congress repealing it.  Even if the Republicans were capable of intestinal fortitude, when January 2013 rolls around at the very least the Democrats will be able to prevent a cloture vote in the Senate and at the most a veto wielding Barak Obama will still be occupying the White House.

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supreme court, obamacare

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Everybody seems to foget what it was before Medicare and Medicaid. I remember those days; and they weren't bad.

I was driving a taxi. I took lots of destitute people to charitable hospitals run by Baptists, Catholics, Methodists and Lutherans. I picked up many patients from these same hospitals.

I never had the impression that these charity cases feared the treatment they were about to receive or regretted the treatment that they had received. On the contrary, all seemed eager to get treated and grateful afterwards.

My family did not have health insurance in those days. However, that was the norm -- unlike today.

This was the answer to those who could not pay then. The charity afforded was voluntarily provided by legions of congregants and good business models of privately run hospitals. This form of charity was always structured to best fit local needs whether located in New York City or Wyoming.

Since our national government has inserted itself into healthcare, expenditures in this area have increased from 5.7% of GDP to well over 18% of GDP. One national policy is made to fit no matter if the population density to which it applies is 30,000 per square mile (New York City) or 3 per square mile (Wyoming).

Consequently, my hope is that what happens after Obamacare corresponds to the proposition of your post. Government gets out, not further in.

We need to understand that our problem isn't how many are uninsured. That only leads to the solutions that contemplate how best to force all of the well to pay for all of the ill. We need the solutions that best use our propensity to act in our own best interests coupled with the motivation to assume personal responsibility to restore the liberties and the sanity that we once had.

None died on the streets in the "old" days. Therefore, I am convinced the world won't end if we follow your advice.
The right wing propaganda machine has been conveniently ignoring a few simple facts.

#1. The solution to Social Security and Medicare funding has always been extremely simple. Currently there is an income cap on the level of withholding for Social Security that stops somewhere around $91,000 the last time I heard. That means, that for the more well to do, their level of contribution to society in this area proportionately decreases the more income they make.

Raise the income level to $250,000, $500,000 or a million dollars. Whatever. Voila! Any worries about debt levels from Social Security and Medicare on America are solved.

#2. If you're still concerned about the level of federal spending, all anyone has to do is to follow the program laid out by Rep. Barney Frank, which would cut $1,000,000,000,000 from the federal budget in ten years time without compromising the readiness of the nation's armed forces.

And by the way, your assertion that no government program is as efficient as the private sector is incorrect, both regarding Social Security vs. privatized retirement investment, as well as health care. Prove that I'm wrong in this assertion!
Your post is really not worth commenting on!