Medicare: Socialism’s Sacred Cow by Michael J. Hurd + commentary

“Ben [Carson] wants to knock out Medicare,” said Donald Trump. “I heard that over the weekend. He wants to abolish Medicare. Abolishing Medicare, I don’t think you’ll get away with that one. It’s actually a program that’s worked. It’s a program that some people love, actually.” [ 10-27-15]

Actually, Carson does not propose abolishing Medicare. According to, he says he would not end Medicare and would use health savings accounts, which would eliminate “the need for people to be dependent on government programs.” Carson wants to “provide people with an alternative” that he describes as “so much better than anything else,” but added he doesn’t plan on ending Medicare completely.

Carson is under fire not for suggesting that we should privatize and phase out Medicare — which we should — but merely for hinting that we might provide an alternative to the coercive, government-run program. He’s under fire not just from Democrats, but from fellow Republicans, particularly Ohio Governor John Kasich and apparent front runner for the nomination, Donald Trump.

Is Trump right? Is Medicare popular and, if so, does that automatically make it morally right and fiscally sustainable?

Can’t a majority be wrong? And if they are, isn’t it the job of a leader — in politics, or anywhere else — to educate that majority as to why they’re wrong, and what the consequences of their errors are? Even if that means losing an election in one case (Republicans already lose anyway, even when they win), might it not become an advantage a few years down the road, when they’re shown to be right?

Medicare is a single-payer, socialized insurance plan for those 65 years and older. Back in 1965, Congress would have passed a single-payer plan for everyone, if they thought they had the votes. Even in 2010, Obama and the Democratic Congress would have passed a single payer plan, if they thought they had the votes. (Obamacare was the next best thing).

What nobody seems willing to examine — not even Ben Carson, who’s at least willing to slightly hint at it — is whether single-payer insurance is ever morally right, for seniors or for anyone?

Medicare is a coercive government monopoly. It’s even more communistic and socialistic than, say, public schools. With public schools, you can opt out. Granted, private schools are more expensive and in shorter supply than they otherwise would be, because government dominates the market with federally funded public schools. But it’s not against the law to send your child to a private school, or even home school, in many cases.

Not so with Medicare. With Medicare, once you turn 65, you’re on Medicare, like it or not. You have no right to purchase an alternative plan in the marketplace (or to have planned on one years before), because there is no marketplace, and it’s against the law. While there are “Medigap” plans (Medicare secondary insurance) available through quasi-private insurance companies, most people do not understand that those plans follow the rules of Medicare and the government, not the market. In other words, if your doctor or health provider does not participate with Medicare, then your secondary “Medigap” insurance will not cover that provider, either. And all the rules, edicts, regulations that apply to Medicare likewise apply to the secondary insurance.

Medicare is a monopoly. It’s a coercive, one-size-fits-all single-payer system. If Republicans running for President will not acknowledge this, then I don’t know who will. It’s a fact, all the same.

Is Medicare popular? Well, of course it is. People have no other choice. But “popularity” implies a willingness to choose one option over all others. If there are fifty restaurants in a town, one or two restaurants might draw 60 or even 75 percent of the diners. We’d call those restaurants the most popular, with good reason. Medicare is, according to the law of the land, the only option for seniors in health insurance. By what stretch do you call that popular, or say that people “love” it?

It’s reasonable to assume that most people on Medicare would not want the plug pulled on it overnight. I don’t know of anyone who’s proposing that. The only rational and just way to handle the problem is to phase Medicare out. Put young people on notice there will be no Medicare program for them, because there most certainly will not be anyway, given the fiscal unsustainability that its morally wrong and coercive approach creates. Unless the U.S. economy can find a way to sustain debts and deficits too high for economists or computers to calculate, or tax rates so high that the economy will grind to a complete halt, Medicare (like Social Security) cannot go on forever.

Debate should be open to how best, or in what way, start privatizing Medicare and all of health care in America. Until or unless we get to that point, no discussion of the subject makes any moral or economic sense. Even flailing about Obamacare does not address the core issue. If you want to privatize health care in America, you’ve got to take on Medicare.

Medicare’s fiscal unsustainability (freely acknowledged by the government, including Obama’s own Treasury Department) is not the worst thing about it. The worst thing about it is that it’s forced. It prevents people from freely acting as they otherwise would. Why are proponents of Medicare, Donald Trump included, so afraid of a free market, or even an alternative market as Ben Carson suggests we might need? If Medicare is as beloved and as great as they assume, nobody will ever opt out of it. Of course, even if we established health savings accounts for seniors as Carson proposes, it’s still not a fair competition, because government would still have the upper hand with its federally funded (albeit bankrupt) programs. Yet nobody can tolerate even this much competition with the government in health care, not even the vast majority of Republicans. It’s pathetic.

Donald Trump is supposed to be such a smart businessman, and so willing to speak his mind. Both of these things may be true. But his comment that Medicare is popular and beloved by seniors is laughable. If the government passed a law that people may buy only one kind of car — same size, color and model for everyone — would you call that brand and style of car popular? Even though that’s the only one they’re permitted to buy or own?

That’s exactly what Donald Trump and other Republicans are saying.

Without any meaningful or principled opposition to Medicare, Republicans are dead in the water on health care. We might as well have the Democrats in charge. These are their programs, and if socialism is morally justified in health care, then socialism is morally justified potentially anywhere. If Republicans really opposed socialism in principle, they’d be willing to take on or at least question the sacred cow of Medicare.—Michael J. Hurd,

Medicare: The Mother of All Generational Larceny by The Artful Dilettante

Medicare is the Big Enchilada, the mother of all generational larceny. Like most federal entitlement programs, Medicare is financed through long-term debt. In other words, the cost of every hip replacement, knee replacement, open-heart surgery, kidney replacement, indeed most eldercare, will be borne by our children and grandchildren, the young and unborn. Talk about taxation without representation. We older Americans love to talk about how much we love and spoil our progeny. We brag about their report cards and athletic prowess, and shower them with money and gifts well beyond anything they’ve done to deserve it. Yet we have no guilt, no mercy, and give not a second thought to them when it comes to passing along the costs of our old age onto them. Because of us, they will inherent a debt they will struggle and suffer their whole lives to pay. Our legacy is nothing less than making them slaves to debt. We all want to live to be 100 as long as someone else is footing the bill, bearing the consequences. Try asking an elderly person, “Who paid for your hip replacement?” and they’ll likely respond, “It was free,” or “The government paid for it.” Their response should accurately be, “My neighbor paid for it, and they didn’t even ask for his permission.” Or, “My newborn grandchild will be paying for it her whole life, and I don’t even care,” or how about, “My kids are paying for it. It’s part of their inheritance.” So don’t go around shouting from the rooftops how much you love and spoil your grandchildren. As long as you are mortgaging their future, you’re just blowing smoke. And making a lot of Wall Street bankers very happy.



Penn State Acts to Remove Snowmen

In a display of solidarity with campus activists, the Penn State Board of Trustees voted unanimously to ban the making of snowmen on campus. “The snowman is the ultimate expression of white privilege,” said a Black Lives Matter activist who refused to be identified. “It is a symbol of our hateful past and must be removed from our national consciousness. After all, every snowman is white. Can any rational person dispute this? Has there ever been a snowman of color?”

The vote culminated a months-long campaign of petition drives and public rallies. The goal was to get the ban in place before the first snowfall. With the vote, Penn State becomes the first major university to implement a campus-wide ban on snowmen. Opponents pushed a compromise measure that would have allowed snowmen in designated “free expression zones” in unlit areas on the outskirts of campus. The compromise proposal was roundly defeated and its proponents were physically removed from the meeting room.

Until federal funds are earmarked for enforcement, the university will rely on a secret network of informants to clandestinely police the areas where the offensive sculptures have been built in the past. Several professors have already offered extra credit to student volunteers. Penn State President Eric Barron was giddy after the vote, stating the move was the first of several measures designed to removed all vestiges of racism from the university. “The snowman is history at Penn State,” he declared.  Barron concluded by saying, “Now that the snowman ban has been implemented, my legacy is intact.”

The ban on snowmen takes effect immediately.  First offenders will be issued a citation and required to attend political sensitivity classes.  Repeat offenders will face automatic expulsion without due process.

Our Public School System: A Call to Action


The Democrats want anatomically functional boys to be allowed into the Girl’s bathrooms and locker rooms to ogle and rape them. Seems even Hillary does not have a problem with this. Perhaps Chelsea would not have minded being oogled by such when she was in high school?  Across the fruited plain in placed like Missouri and Oregon, this is coming to a public school near you.  Are you ready to hear that your daughter was assaulted by an anatomically functional male that calls himself a girl or that he is transgendered?  Get ready for a lot of boys to make these claims soon; a sure ticket into their sexual fantasies in the Girl’s bathrooms and locker rooms near you.

I copied this short story from a news site I frequent called If this doesn’t finally convince parents to yank their kids out of public school, there is no hope.  Given the circumstances—why any parent would even consider turning their kids over to the federal government for seven hours a day, five days a week is beyond comprehension.  Why any parent would entrust the intellectual development of their children to a bunch of Marxist sociopaths is equally disturbing.  This is nothing less than child abuse, and parents who continue to send their kids to the public schools under the circumstances should be horsewhipped. The jury has reached a verdict; the debate is over. That our public education system is the laughing stock of the civilized world is indisputable.

Your children are too precious. Vote with your feet. Take your kids out of the public schools. I realize that the cost of private and parochial education is prohibitive to many parents. But there are far less costly options out there. The cost of homeschooling your child is very inexpensive. You can get all the materials you need for about $600 a year. “But I have to work all day.” This is too important to make excuses. The beauty of homeschooling lies in its flexibility. “But I just don’t think I’m smart enough to homeschool my child.” Look, no matter how hard you try, you couldn’t possibly do worse than the public school system.

Do your homework, sodaspeek.  Just do whatever it takes to get your kids out of the public school system.  If you have to move mountains, part the Red Sea, or build an Ark, just drop everything and get busy.  You haven’t a moment to lose.  Research and weigh all of the options. Get creative. Talk to other parents. Invite them over to your homes for an evening to brainstorm and discuss the options. Make it clear to those you invite, however, that the working assumption of the meeting is that everyone recognizes that keeping your kids in the system is not an option. This is not about debating the non-existent merits of the public school system. If you wish to join us, we are all in agreement upfront that the system is a grotesque failure and an endangerment to our children. If you’re coming over to defend the system, just stay home and watch Wheel of Fortune.

In the meantime spread the word: TAKE YOUR KIDS OUT OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Their minds cannot and must not be entrusted to our criminal and dysfunctional government.

The Privileged Class

Today, the findings of a recent Cato Institute study on government vs. private-sector compensation were summarized and reported by Elizabeth Harrington of the Washington Free Beacon. The headline summed it all up: Study: Government Workers Make 78 Percent More than Private Sector.  I was shocked, aghast, nearly apoplectic.  Who would have thought that government workers are better off than their private-sector counterparts?  Could the government workforce, especially the federal workforce, be a privileged class?  An elite?

Indeed they are.  And I’ve grown sick and tired of the latest, most fashionable liberal catch-phrase—White Privilege.

It is the federal bureaucracy that is truly the privileged class, and it is as racially, culturally, and gender-diverse as any liberal could dream.  Their salaries and benefits far exceed those of the private sector.  They have lifetime job security with no expectations of productivity or performance.  They merely have to show up for work and have a pulse. They and their spouses have ridiculously generous lifetime health and retirement benefits, all on the backs of the American taxpayer.

So, please don’t give me this “white privilege” crap.  The federal workforce is an over-compensated, pampered elite with lifetime job security at the expense of those who earn far less, work much harder, and whose jobs are on the line every day.There is no job security in the private sector, there are no automatic cost-of-living increases.  Working for the government is just the adult version of “everyone gets a trophy.”

Evil Genius

We’ve all heard the term “evil genius,” maybe even used it a few times. This moniker is generally used to refer to infamous political figures in history who were able to amass great personal power, acquire or expand empires, or fundamentally alter the course of history while callously and cynically disregarding the incalculable pain, suffering, dislocation, economic destruction, and myriad forms of devastation left in the wake of their pursuit of glory or some utopian dream. Adolph Hitler is the person most often characterized as an evil genius, with Josef Stalin a distant second. There are still German and Russian old-timers who wax nostalgic over them; there are tenured professors and widely respected western academics who still regard them “visionaries of a New World Order.”

Evil genius is also used to describe criminal masterminds like Al Capone or John Gotti who managed far-flung organized crime syndicates while ruthlessly eliminating those who stood in their way or threatened to expose their “genius.” Sadly, they, too, were worshipped as folk heroes on their home turf.

There is no such thing as an evil genius. It is, in fact, a contradiction in terms, a metaphysical impossibility. The “evil” part is accurate, but geniuses they’re not. But, as the result of intellectual laziness, the failure to think clearly, it has become a thoughtlessly used colloquialism and part of the American lexicon. The term confuses intelligence and wisdom with cunning, craftiness, and treachery. Its underlying philosophical justification is “the ends justify the means.” It dovetails perfectly with the Age of the Antihero we now live in. If a half-wit socialist politician outfoxes his cowardly political opposition to the detriment of the country, he is considered a person of monumental intellect.

Nonsense. Genius pre-supposes virtue. You can’t be a genius if you don’t know the difference between right and wrong.

Flat Tax–Not so fast

This morning, Presidential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, defended his proposal for a flat-rate income tax. This is certainly a move in the right direction and far better than the current byzantine personal income tax code. I would, however, much prefer replacing the current income tax with a national sales tax. For two reasons. One, it makes everyone a taxpayer. Right now, only about 50% of us pay any income taxes, while the rest of us skate. Under a national sales tax, even a kid who buys a pack of gum at a convenience store is a taxpayer. True, a sales tax is regressive. We could remedy that by exempting food and clothing. Secondly, the income tax return itself is a perverse invasion of privacy. It reveals nearly everything about us to the government—our names, the names of our spouses and children, where we live, what we do for a living, our investments, the real estate we own, where our kids go to school and day-care, how much and to whom we donate to charity, and on and on. Continue reading