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Wow. This BusinessWeek Online article, "I Want My Safety Net" is the most concentratedly biased thing I have ever read from a nominally-"Business"-oriented publication. I'm not very familiar with BusinessWeek, though, so it's possible they already had a reputation for this sort of thing. If not… well, they do now.
Let's see what we've got:
I wish it were different, but the Ownership Society is only meekly about actual private ownership. Bush's proposed Social Security reform, for example, falls far short of true ownership. But leaving aside the accuracy of the comparison, I've also had a brush with the Ownership Society, and it's been working out much more profitably for me (e.g. most recently, +7.6% in 50 days.) Did they even look for someone who's turned a profit in the stock market?
A political independent who distrusts markets and favors socialized medicine? Hmm, I wonder if they looked for a political independent who favors markets and distrusts socialized medicine?
The piece wouldn't be complete without the White-House-out-of-touch angle, delicately pitched with the word "may", disguising suggestion as opinion.
Oh sure, I also think it's "a good idea" to guarantee health care for all U.S. citizens. I'm also in favor of kittens, babies, and world peace. But the trouble with desires is that they don't specify an implementation. If guaranteeing health care means socialization, I'm resolutely opposed. If guaranteeing health care means abolishing licensing and trashing regulations, I'll be first in line.
Gotta love the last sentence. It reeks of groupthink.
The mention of Canada is rich. The Canadian health care system does not provide universal health care, at least according to the Canadian Supreme Court, which recently struck down a Quebec ban on private health insurance, saying "… delays in the public health-care system are widespread, and that, in some serious cases, patients die as a result of waiting lists for public health care".
Will a free-market approach to health care guarantee unlimited health care? Of course not. But it would do a lot better than a socialist system.
"Big swings" ≠ "big declines". Some people have done very well. Is it impolite for me to point out that the authors are only drawing attention to the negative side of this?
Republicans do not want to reverse the New Deal. I want to reverse the New Deal. Don't give that compliment to the Republicans; they certainly haven't earned it.
Am I the only person who views defined-contribution plans as less risky than defined-benefit plans? I don't want to worry about the government doing something stupid and putting my employer out of business, or worry about my employer doing something stupid all by itself. The PBGC — which shouldn't exist in the first place — doesn't pick up the whole tab. And it's certainly not free.
Golly gee! Prominent New Democratic Thinkers! Yessiree, I want some of those prominent thinker types taking care of me, because I can't do it all by myself. I'm glad they're taking care of me and my siblings Joe and Jane Average, because we're too unsophisticated to think about this stuff.
I know what "market-based" means, but I don't know what "modern" means — yet I'm oddly certain it means precisely "not market-based". I wonder why that is? Do you suppose I'm right?
A stunning reversal from the real world, where the Democrats are totally AWOL with their own proposals to fix Social Security. Oh, that's right — there's no crisis so there's nothing to fix. I forgot. (Unless you're my age and you're staring directly at a 30% benefit cut under current law!)
He's losing! He's losing! People will believe this if we keep saying it!!
Oh, here we go. This is the good news. I wonder why it's buried in the middle of the article, instead of earlier to provide balance against the talk of houses in hock and rising bankruptcies?
It's well known (at least among economists) that when you subsidize something, you get more of it. If you provide a safety net, people will use it. If you make it stronger, people will use it more. When you're giving away something essentially for free, you shouldn't be surprised to discover that demand is essentially infinite.
And the "cost shift to workers" is, of course, something I'm totally in favor of. The authors should realize that it's misleading to call it a cost shift, though. The cost of an employee to an employer includes both benefits and wages. The benefits were never free — they were at the expense of wages. And as benefits decrease, wages will rise. I prefer wages because I can spend them on my priorities, rather than the priorities of whatever meddler-in-other-peoples'-lives decided the benefits should be.
Doom! Gloom! Aieeee!
If you can believe it, this particular example of the ritualistic bringing-up of Bush's silver spoon history fills the literary role of a segue. By its presence, I assume that the authors thought a politically charged segue was better than a bland one, or none at all.
I'm getting tired of being offended at the suggestion that people who voted for Bush are stupid. The hints are too frequent. I'm sick of elitism hiding behind the mask of "just providing information". How "slightly" less educated are they? So slightly that it's not worth mentioning, perhaps? How untactful.
Oh goodie, I was waiting for the mention of Karl Rove. Is anyone else getting bored by the predictability? And I simply don't believe their poll comment.
Heh. :) What "excesses"? I want the government to stop shielding me from capitalism!
Groan. Okay, I'm getting tired so I'm not going to finish fisking this. I think I've made my point already.