Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Theory of the second best: health care edition

I am a "small l" libertarian. Live and let live and all that jazz. But now, unless Mrs. Angus divorces me, I am gonna be helping to foot the bill for the extension of heavily subsidized health insurance that does little to actually reform the problems of our crappy health care system.

So I find myself wondering if I should favor some paternalistic policy proposals I've scorned in the past.

Like a sugar tax. Like zoning fast food joints out of walking distance from schools. Like regulating food ads for kids. Like increasing cigarette taxes even more.

Nudge, smudge!

I kind of hate myself for thinking like this, but if I gotta pay for strangers like they was family, I think they should operate under the rules they'd have if they were in my family!

But maybe that's just the snickers bars talking.




10 comments:

Carpe Web said...

I don't understand the application of paternalism to some taxes and not to others. How is any tax not paternalistic?

"We, the government, know much better how to spend your money than you do."

Mind you, I'm not in the tax-is-theft school (oxymoron?), but if you can apply paternalism to "we know sugar-tobacco-alcohol-polluting-and-a-bunch-of-other-things are not good for you" taxation, why not apply it to "we know you benefit from government spending" taxation?

In fact, isn't that what we believe when we impose taxation with representation? Are we not paternalizing ourselves with the very existence (heck, why stop at taxes?) of gubment?

Best regards,
Jim

Alzheimer’s disease early symptoms said...

I am also read two times but i can't getting point what he wanna say here.
http://www.thehealthprotector.net

LoneSnark said...

I disagree. Liabilities assumed by the government are not your liabilities. The taxes you will pay to cover these expenses were, in all likelihood, going to be collected anyway. As such, all you have lost thanks to government health-care promises are a bunch of tea-cup museums and bridges to no-where.

Anonymous said...

We don't even need a sugar tax. Instead, cut off subsidies to corn production, most of which gets turned into the cheapest and least nutritious calories in our national diet.

Tom said...

They got you, Angus. One (not so) hidden purpose in the whole socialist project is to make you callous about further infringement of others' rights. After all, they owe you, because you are forced to be charitable to them. So, punish that guy for using salt, hurt the people selling butter to the fat woman, fine that guy for not wearing a seat belt.

We're all (forced to be) in this together, so you'll tolerate, even vote for, any pain to dished out to those mooches and slackards who are costing you (more?) money.

New American motto for the twenty-first century: Because WE choose to be charitable to YOU, WE OWN you.

Chad Seagren said...

You address an argument that is very commonly made: "since public money is spent in emergency rooms, the government should be, say, able to require motorcycle riders to wear helmets, etc."

But, to the extent that these paternalistic laws actually extend life expectancy, they also may very well increase total health care dollars the govt will spend. In other words, the state will likely spend much more (all told) on old people withering away in their 80s and 90s than on the 20-something that died in a motorcycle accident - or from lung cancer in his 40s - or from diabetes in his 50s, etc.

Hopeless said...

I have had the same thoughts going through my head. The most depressing thought was being in favor for the insurance mandate.

Anonymous said...

Chad makes a great point. Maybe (since we're making up laws for our benefit), we should make the world more dangerous for people. It would certainly be better for the environment if everyone road motorcycles, AND it's much cheaper to scrape people off the highway than to treat them.

Doc Merlin said...

And this is how socialism leads to totalitarianism.

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