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Republicans’ Responsibility for Socialism’s Comeback
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According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos survey, 70 percent of Americans, including about 50 percent of Republicans, support Medicare for all, the latest incarnation of single-payer health care. Republican support for a health plan labeled “Medicare for all” is not surprising considering that Republican politicians support Medicare and that one of their attacks on Obamacare was that it would harm the program. Furthermore, the biggest expansion of Medicare since its creation — the Part D prescription drug program — occurred under a conservative president working with a conservative Congress.

Conservative Republicans do propose reforming Medicare to reduce its costs, but their proposals are always framed as “saving Medicare,” and most reform plans increase spending. Few conservative Republicans would dare advocate allowing young people to opt out of paying Medicare taxes in exchange for agreeing to forgo Medicare benefits.

Many conservative Republicans favor other government interventions into health care, including many features of Obamacare. In fact, Obamacare’s individual mandate originated as a conservative proposal and was once championed by many leading Republicans. Many other Republicans simply lack the courage to repeal Obamacare, so they say they only want to repeal the “unpopular” parts of the law. It would not be surprising if we soon heard conservatives and Republican politicians talk about defending Obamacare from supporters of socialized medicine.

The same dynamic at work in health care is at work in other areas. For example, the same conservative administration and Congress that created Medicare Part D also dramatically expanded federal control of education with “No Child Left Behind.” Conservative Republicans who (rightly) fight against deficit spending when a Democrat sits in the White House decide that “deficits don’t matter” when the president has an “R” next to his name.

Many Republican politicians — and even conservative intellectuals — will say they are being pragmatic by not fighting progressives on first principles, but instead limiting the damage done by the welfare state. The problem with this line is that, by accepting the premise that government can and should solve all of life’s problems, conservatives and Republicans will inevitably get into a “bidding war” with progressives and Democrats. The only way Republicans can then win is to join Democrats in continually increasing spending and creating new programs. This is why the so-called “conservative welfare state” ends up as bloated and expansive as the progressive welfare state. Refusing to question the premises of the welfarists and socialists is not a pragmatic way to advance liberty.

While progressives blame social crises on the free market, Republicans and conservatives are unwilling to admit the problems were caused by prior government interventions. Thus the passage of Dodd-Frank was aided by claims that the housing bubble was created by deregulation, while Obamacare’s passage benefited from widespread misconception that America had a free-market health care system prior to 2010.

Until a popular intellectual movement arises that is able and willing to challenge the premises of Keynesianism, welfarism, and democratic socialism, while putting forth a positive vision of a free society, government will continue to expand. Fortunately, such a movement exists and is growing as more Americans — particularly young Americans— are studying the ideas of Liberty and working to spread those ideas. If the new liberty movement grows and stays true to its principles, it will be able to defeat the socialists of all parties, including those who call themselves conservative.

(Republished from The Ron Paul Institute by permission of author or representative)
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  1. Compare the American system vs the Australian system and it is easy to see how Republicans have let down the American people through a lack of government control of the healthcare sector.

    Libertarians in particular are at the forefront of allowing massive international pharmaceutical companies to ride roughshod over the general American population.

    The only rational response to collective capital is collective labour bargaining. The same goes for government working in the interests of the people to restrain price gouging of pharmaceutical cartels.

    One of the core successes of the Australian system is collective bargaining on behalf of our citizens to keep pharmaceutical prices in check:

    “Central to the processes of the PBS is the idea that drugs with identical or similar clinical outcomes should have similar prices, known as reference pricing. ”

    Collective representation is the primary purpose of government. The problem is not government per se, but government that refuses to govern in the interests of the electorate. American government is obviously serving the interests of those who can afford the price of entry, ie. the lobbyists.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  2. Ron, Ron, Ron Dr. Paul, Dr. Paul, Dr. Paul, I really hope this was kind of an oversight or series of typos …

    … but, you’ve gotta know that the George W. Bush administration was not Conservative in any sense. Republican ≠ Conservative, and that’s been the case since arguably the Ronald Reagan era (or at least Jesse Helms in the Senate) or back further to the Barry Goldwater era.

    Otherwise, great post, but most readers will not be enlightened enough to really understand the free market (see comment #1). I think the fact that it’s hard to back out of is a FEATURE, not a BUG, of Øb☭macare. The worse it works, the more people will demand “single-payer”, a euphemism that I’m surprised you, Dr. Paul, used without correct that it is GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE.

  3. @Pat Hannagan

    The problem is not government per se …

    Yes, the problem IS government per se. That’s the point Dr. Paul has been making for years, and if you don’t understand him, I’d suggest reading through the US Constitution to see what limited government really is. I realize Australia has never had it.

    Collective representation is the primary purpose of government.

    Nope, collective representation means tyranny of the majority. You bring up this example of prescription drugs, Mr. Hannagan. It’s only a crony capitalist industry BECAUSE the US government via FDA and other alphabet organizations of the Feral Gov’t are involved.

    Libertarians in particular are at the forefront of allowing massive international pharmaceutical companies to ride roughshod over the general American population.

    Dr. Ron Paul is a Libertarian; Achmed E. Newman is a Libertarian. I don’t think that word means what you think it means. (I hope I got that right from whatever silly movie it was from.)

  4. TG says:

    “The welfare state”? Excuse me?

    Since 2008 we have spent TENS OF TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS subsidizing Wall Street. Yes really. “Tarp” was a sideshow – look at how savings accounts pay zero percent interest, yet credit card debt pays a lot more. Look at how the federal government loans money to the big banks at 0.25 % annual interest, and then they loan it back to the same federal government at 4%. Or loan it to students at 10 % (or whatever) and the profits are guaranteed. Or all the trillions of dollars in “cash for trash” deals where the US treasury buys worthless mortgage-backed securities for full face values. I could go on, but you get the idea.

    Every billionaire dependent on finance (99% of them) is a welfare queen.

    And “medicare for all,” which would perhaps bring us more in line with Japan that pays half what we do per-capita on health care costs, yet they are much healthier, somehow that’s going to bankrupt us? Paying half what we do on health care for a better result is ‘stalinism’ and is going to bankrupt us? While spending tens of trillions of dollars on Wall Street bailouts, and trillions on pointless winless foreign wars that serve only to enrich politically connected defense contractors, oh that’s just red-blooded capitalism? Really?

    Sorry, my head is spinning. Whatever.

    • Replies: @Pat Hannagan
  5. @TG

    Libertarian’s love to be in the limelight, doomed to live forever like mushrooms underground in the dark.

    The only chance they ever get to see the light is decrying welfare for the White impoverished.

    Libertarians are too earnest to understand how they are the butt of the wealthy’s joke.

  6. TheOldOne says:

    Rare for me to read a Ron Paul column; even rarer for me to comment on one.

    The simple truth is that lack of enthusiasm for immigration by two-digit IQ folks (legal or illegal) is pretty much universal among Unz Review readers. Libertarians like Ron Paul, who may be quite nice people, simply don’t belong here.

  7. Democrats and Republicans have the same problem. They are corrupt. Government is not the problem. Bad government is the problem.

    Ideologies are castles in the air. Real economies are mixed economies deploying public financing for public needs and private financing for private needs. How you do the mixing will decide whether your economy leans left or right.

    Today in America our health care system is an abomination. And make no mistake. It is already a government system. The system is designed to hoover up the peoples money and deliver it to the ruling class. Single payer would be an improvement IF IT WERE ADMINISTERED ON BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE.

    The Donald will probably fail to drain the swamp. The Social Democrats will run on single payer and win. Deplorables want health care too. I myself would advocate single payer for America absent the corruption and open borders that will accompany it.

  8. Dr. Paul served as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force back in the 1960′s. He knows from his own experience that the kind of socialized health care he provided can work when the government wants it to.

  9. We have and should have a mixed economy. Some things the government should do and somethings left to the private sector.

    We should have Medicare for All and Social Security should be doubled for the poorest recipients. We pay for these things by having the government credit the accounts of those receiving benefits not through taxes.

    Mr. Paul’s views are based on a hard currency determined by a fixed exchange rate. We have a soft currency and a floating exchange rate.

    Read and grow wise:



    From The Banking Law Journal, May 1913.

  10. It is now ten years since 2008, the GFC, people losing their homes …
    A little reminder. A ten year old child back then would now be 20 years old. And now they are going to college perhaps?

    What was the number one indicator that someone might be in danger of going bankrupt?
    Double Income??? Weren’t these the people who were trying to be good little Capitalists? Not enough money? Don’t whinge, work harder. Still not enough money? Send the wife out to work too. And how did that work out for them? Ref the above video. All it took was someone to get sick or someone to lose their job and the family went bankrupt. How many children did you know who had divorced parents? Well twice as many children had bankrupt parents. It was just harder to see because divorce doesn’t have the bad connotations that it once had but people are still ashamed of being bankrupt. Ref the above video.

    So PERHAPS … the reason the kiddies no longer believe in Capitalism is that they saw BOTH parents put in the effort and IT WAS NOT WORKING. Think THAT might encourage the kiddies not to listen? Think THAT might encourage the kiddies to look for an alternative, ANY alternative because “Study hard, ignore the student loan, get a job, ignore the H1-Bs, study harder, take on more student debt and if you can’t afford to buy a block of land it is your fault because you did not work hard enough or TAKE ON ENOUGH RISK OR MANAGE YOUR RISK …” – well, they saw how well that worked out for their parents and they KNOW their parents did not have the same student debt that they now have.

    And all you have to offer them is “Socialism is bad! Work harder!” “Capitalism is good! The only reason you have problems is because you are lazy and we have crony Capitalism but if we had real Capitalism then …”
    You offer them NOTHING. “It’s all your fault for listening to your teachers and your parents so become a slave or starve to death.” That is your whole argument towards them. You wonder why they don’t listen???

    When you got kids who grew up with double income families working their guts out just to afford a family home and then they go bankrupt anyway and now the kids are entering the workforce with huge student loans and disgustingly over-priced real estate – because we can never admit the real estate market, like every other market, is RIGGED now can we? – and all you can offer them is “It’s all your fault. Socialism is bad. Capitalism is the only way even though you are the most over-supplied, under-priced commodity on the market and YOU HAVE NO CAPITAL”, well don’t be surprised when the kids don’t listen and instead consider anyone offering an alternative.

    Socialism is government by the productive members of the world, the working-class, rather than the parasites on the working-class, the capitalists.

    And since it is workers who create all the wealth, and capitalists, as we all know, don’t do any productive labor of their own, it is the capitalists who are using other people’s money. I mean, why the hell do you think all these IMF bailout loans require austerity? The people being bailed out with other people’s money are the capitalist bond holders. The people who are being forced to pay are the working-class people who neither contracted the debt nor received any of the proceeds.

    Capitalism works so well for the capitalist elite only because the capitalists rely heavily on socialism to rescue them from capitalism.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  11. MarkinLA says:

    The number one cause of personal bankruptcies in the US is some unpayable medical bill. Yet we are told repeatedly that the free market has a solution to this problem. Well of course, there isn’t a problem known to man that the free market can’t solve, without any real proof of course.

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