Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Libertarian Nitpicking

Did Giuliani sound like a libertarian last night by proposing tax credits for health insurance? Some thought so, including a friend sitting next to me watching the debates who commented, "He sounds like Ron Paul!"

So here am I to burst y'all's bubble. Meddling in people's lives by tinkering with the tax code, offering incentives in the form of some of your money back, is not libertarian. If I choose to go without health insurance and to pay directly out of my wallet for the oft-touted hangnail, or decide to just live with the hangnail, shouldn't I get a tax credit?

Let us suppose the federal government thinks that music lessons are good for kids. Heck, they'll save us money on education because music at a young age makes kids smarter. So you over there can have a tax credit because your daughter is taking violin lessons. But you, with the eight-year-old son, can pay for his drum lessons yourself. Drums are too loud.

And now let's take these tax credits to their logical conclusion. A larger portion of our income will have to go to the government, of course, for those music lessons and to cover the health insurance tax credits. But then the government will start giving automobile credits for hybrids, and housing credits for Mother-friendly tire-houses and caves -- we're doing a lot of this already -- so taxes will need to go up to cover those credits. Then we'll get credits for buying healthy food. And by this time most of our income will be going to the government which will then simply dole out directly what they think we should have for transportation, housing and sustanance. This will vary depending on which party is in power and which corporations are in that party's favor. So it's not like we'll lack variety.

Taking this too far, you say? I'll blame my jerking knee on the way we've been fed these "great" programs to only sink beneath their weight years or decades later. I don't trust government. I don't trust politicians. And Giuliani's the worst kind of 'em.


At 7/3/07, 9:04 AM, Anonymous tz said...

I chided Paul Weyrich when he suggested we needed a new (paleo- style) conservatism and should use the Tax code to encourage savings and investment.

The problem is that the moment you use the Tax code for any purpose other than revenue, you concede to every liberal, socialist, and communist's point - it isn't a matter of promoting or not promoting virtues, but which ones.

The tax code should raise the most revenue with the least impact on life and liberty, and with the least distortion to the economy, and thus in the latter case must be as uniform as possible.

Churches are generally untaxed, as are religious orders, and they could provide health care (and try suing someone under a vow of poverty for every penny - you'll get more change back from a fast food place). A charitable pass-through that would not be liable could pay for health care.

The tort system and the judiciary ought not be used to impose health care (Baby not perfect, call 1-800-shyster and we'll guilt trip the jury into gouging the doctor and hospital).

I do consider health-care a "life" issue, so it is an interesting problem (in the sense of requiring careful balancing of liberty). But or Corporatized medicine is only marginally better than socialized medicine, and in no way is a free market.

We also tend to not make a distinction between ordinary medical care (colds and flu, scrapes and cuts) and catastrophic events (cancer, major trauma). I'd throw in public health here since it is something proper for even the smallest sized government to properly do something about and many "catastrophic" health problems can fall into this category.

Consider paradoxically that in having my motorcycle accident my deductible and copays are likely to be satisfied, so every minor cut, sniffles, or itch is now 100% covered. But I can't buy a "low deductible for emergency, higher for chronic, no coverage for trivia" policy. It isn't offered. Yet I'm required to have automobile insurance - which is socialized medicine within a narrow scope. Oh, and if it involved a car, I would have been covered.


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