What's amazing is that we are still in a recession, the Bush-Cheney recession, and narrowly averted a second Great Depression, only because of government intervention on a massive scale through the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve and still these know nothings will tell you with a straight face that there is no need for taxes or government regulation.
Their shtick, which is their only shtick, is the line that taxes and regulation inhibit free market capitalism. You might think that they would change their tune after 8 years of decreasing income taxes for the wealthiest Americans, deficit spending every fiscal year on the advice of Alan Greenspan instead of balancing the budget and using the surplus to pay off the national debt as President Clinton had done, failing to regulate the financial economy, and failing to anticipate any negative consequences as a result of this comedy of errors. But you would be wrong because "free market" conservatives have only ever grasped one side of the equation and after seizing the levers of power with Reagan in 1980 and continuously using government as a vehicle for private gain whenever the GOP controlled the Executive branch, their reach exceeded their grasp and it all came tumbling down.
It wasn't supposed to end this way, but this is what happens to financial markets that are unregulated and unsupervised. They implode. And a government that cannot borrow sufficient funds to bail out its financial economy and deficit spend the recession to a standstill will see both its real and financial economies collapse and then servicing its debt becomes impossible and chaos reigns.
No rational person would want to see those things happen, but they are an undeniable consequence of unregulated and unsupervised financial markets. And governments carrying staggering debt loads have less flexibility to deficit spend their economies to better health. Yet this is still the mantra of the right.
Total health care in this country is 17?f GDP. In 2007 GDP was over $13 trillion. That means we spent approximately $4.2 trillion from all private and public sources on health care. A single payer universal health care system would cost Americans $2 trillion annually with cost controls rationally related to health patient outcomes. That leaves $2 trillion annually that could be spent on paying off the national debt. That would mean paying off the current $14 trillion national debt in 7 years. (Think of how much good that capital could do meeting private sector capital needs? How many jobs do you think that pool of capital would create?)
That still would leave about $200 billion to provide no cost or low cost funding for higher education. This would ensure that we keep educating the next generation of teachers, nurses, architects, engineers, software designers, urban planners, dentists, chiropractors, accountants, lawyers, neurosurgeons, hoteliers, bankers, MBAs, historians, mathematicians, biologists, environmentalists, inventors, et cetera. This would, in turn, provide the American economy with the necessary mix of workforce professional we need to maintain our rich and complex economy. And these new graduates would not be suffocating under the weight of a mountain of debt, so they could take a low paying job right out of school doing something that was interesting and important to them. And their pay check would go farther without a $14-20 trillion national debt starving the federal government.
Education, health care, fiscal responsibility. They go hand in hand, and we need to start making this a reality. We spend $4.2 trillion on health care alone with poorer patient outcomes than in many industrialized countries with single payer universal systems. We could get our health care for less with better outcomes, pay off our national debt, and fund higher education for that same $4.2 trillion by letting the government run a single payer system. Not one penny more would be required to attain these three goals.
None of this will happen because of the "magic" of the free market. In fact, none of it ill happen if left up to the free market. So why not take charge of our own fate and make this happen for the public welfare?
And if you disagree with this approach, please describe your own approach to solving these three enormous political-economic issues and why your approach (es) will work where mine will fail.
Please be specific in your response!
Answered By: TK - 6/29/2009