Monday, February 7, 2011

Reframing Our Debates

By Randell A. Monaco
February 3, 2011

The “snarl” is not really an argument as Joan Williams points out in her article, Stop Socializing the Downside and Privatizing the Upside. Having government undertake a given task is not always the wrong choice or socialism, especially since America does not actually have a free market economy in the first place. In fact, a summary review of Corporatism and Socialism in America would reveal that in more recent years, corporate interests have often cheered on big government programs.

Profoundly, she points us in a direction of productivity; a place to begin our approach to the issue of what to do about solving the challenges of striking a balance between competing ideologies. She suggests that what we need “is a way of reframing our debates that begins to reverse the discrediting of government.”

As an example, a new health care proposal would preserve for private industry the right to insure relatively healthy people off whom insurers can make a profit. Predictably, a plan that privatizes the upside letting industry keep profits while socializing the downside leads to inevitable criticism when the government needs to levy taxes to cover the costs of shouldering the unshared risks.

Socialism or state capitalism - take your pick? America does not have a free market economy. The real issue is that if universal health care ever comes to America, corporations are likely to stay intact but will no longer have to satisfy customers, only the politicians.

On the one hand are those who have become disenchanted with the current system and on the other are those who've misattributed the problems to the free market. Expansion of government interests needs to balance and defend the legitimate systems of profit and private property. But Americans also need to understand how it is that the recent expansion of Medicare has been both the greatest augmentation of the American welfare state and a giveaway to large pharmaceutical corporations.

Socializing the risks has become an over-utilized tool that requires analysis of baseline assumptions. Partisan politics does nothing to help our nation understand the inherent trade-offs. The dumbing down of the debate is insulting, dishonest and clearly not understood. Most likely the later as evidenced by uneducated claims and statements from the politico likes of Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and other's regurgitating self promotional nonsense.

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