As The Hill notes, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders are in a “dead heat” for first place with 100 percent of the Iowa Caucus votes now in at last. Sanders campaigned on health care, and some of his past claims may have escaped the examination they deserve.
“I said greedy health care companies would buy ads lying about Medicare for All during CNN’s debate,” Sanders tweeted. “I was right. We’re going to end their greed.”
The Vermont Senator did not specify how, exactly, he would “end their greed.” Sanders has not told his supporters whether greed, or any other human defect, comes to an end once someone becomes part of the government. On the other hand, it is evident that election to public office does not confer any special wisdom.
For example, Sanders fan Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez plugs the Green New Deal, and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib has come out for a $20 minimum wage — both bad ideas. This pair, like Bernie or anybody else, bring all human defects with them.
Those defects become more dangerous once someone wields political power, and that is why the American founders set up a system of checks and balances. It wasn’t like that in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, where Sanders, for all his talk of Denmark, opted to honeymoon.
The 1936 Stalin Constitution, which first codified the “right” to health care, a job, education and so forth in the Soviet Union, also preserved all power for the Communist Party. Stalin’s collectivization of agriculture took away millions of lives.
In America, any move to government monopoly health care, what some politicians pass off as “single payer” or “socialized medicine,” would be the biggest taking in U.S. history. Beyond the fathomless costs, it would inflict much human suffering and hand enormous power to federal government officials who could deploy it against people they don’t like.
As Nobel Laureate Friedrich Hayek noted in The Road To Serfdom, socialism requires draconian action against the people, so those willing to take such action tend to get on top. This book, fully endorsed by John Maynard Keynes, is one of the great economic works of all time.
Bernie Sanders shows no knowledge of The Road to Serfdom, and reporters’ questions about the book are not apparent in the record. Even so, Sanders’ response to questions can be revealing.
When reporters press him on details of how he will pay for his health care plan, he calls the question a “Republican talking point.” So the truth or falsehood in question is secondary to whether Sanders’ political opponents might deploy it against him. In similar style, during the Cold War, American leftists stood silent on Soviet atrocities, lest anybody use the information to criticize the USSR.
In the USSR and its colonies such as Cuba, all rights come from the government. Under socialism, people don’t get to choose what they want. Rather, they get only what the government wants them to have.
That’s what the Vermont socialist wants to impose, but he’s not exactly forthcoming on the details. Somebody should ask the Democrat co-frontrunner exactly how government monopoly health care would work in practice, what the government system would cost, and how much freedom of choice it would take from the American people.
Do politicians shed human vices when they gain office? Is there such a thing as government greed? The people have a right to know.
Lloyd Billingsley is a policy fellow at the nonprofit Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif.