06.18.2010 0

Big Government Breeds Hypocrisy

By David Bozeman –

We knew it was coming.

Liberals are consumed with the concept of conservative (and in this case, Tea Party) hypocrisy. Finding a sexual indiscretion is their biggest delight, but any contradiction, they think, is their “checkmate” and debate is tabled and they have won the day.

The latest refrain from the left is that conservatives and Tea Partiers are eating their own rhetoric about less government, now that we are demanding action in the wake of the worsening situation in the Gulf. Columnist Leonard Pitts writes that, “as there are no atheists in foxholes, there are no small government disciples in oil spills.” He also states that, “government is not our enemy. . . [it] is the imperfect embodiment of our common will.”

There is a profound difference between government that protects life and property and one that micro-manages more and more aspects of our economic and personal affairs. Protecting national waters and coastlines from an ecological disaster is one thing, mandating my health insurance is quite another.

Another columnist, Froma Harrop, shows particular disdain for those Tea Partiers who still expect their Medicare. She writes, “Hey, the same Constitution (you keep insisting) says nothing about a universal right to health coverage doesn’t guarantee health benefits for older people, either.”

Harrop is right up to a point — cutting spending and entitlements usually applies to the other guy, but keep mine coming. She blasts the argument of a movement spokeswoman that we have already paid into Medicare: “payroll taxes provide 40% and premiums another 12. The remaining 39% comes from. . . mostly income taxes. . . borne by people who won’t live long enough to collect benefits themselves.”

And yet we are hypocrites for not wanting the same institution (the federal government) that gave us this fiasco to take over health care in general? If government would step aside and allow a solvent, free market alternative, you’d see customers lining up, a franchise on every corner, with garish signs, spokesmodels and annoying jingles.

But Medicare, Social Security and other programs have made us, if not wards of the state, then at least greatly dependent on the viability of their policies. The 39% of Medicare supported by income taxes is millions not invested in private-sector insurance plans or donated to charity. Because government programs enjoy the advantage of never having to show a profit, they tend to elbow out any private competition, leaving the public with fewer options. Yes, most of us will depend on Medicare, at least to some extent. That was its very purpose!

Even the most conservative and libertarian-minded leaders proceed with the knowledge that, whatever its drawbacks, just to talk of modifying any entitlement is to risk political suicide, leaving us, as Harrop noted, dependent on the sweat of our grandchildren for our health care.

We’re not headed down a slippery slope, we’ve already crashed. We Americans who choose not to predicate our future course on the same failed policies of the past may well be hypocrites, but just because you have proven me a hypocrite doesn’t mean you have proven me wrong.

David Bozeman, former Libertarian Party Chairman, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

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