December 2nd, 2007

Health Care Hocus Pocus


photo credit: shadphotos

One of the hot topics in today’s presidential campaigns is health care. Our nation faces many problems, some more immediate than others, and health care is one such problem attracting the attention of voters.

However, the prominence given to this issue compared to others of significant import (the “war on terror”, our declining dollar, illegal immigration, civil liberties, abuse of the Constitution, habeas corpus, etc.) is somewhat intriguing. Why are politicians promoting this issue over others?

The reason behind such a push on health care “reform” shows the rampant socialism everywhere present in government, as well as the depth and reach of the increasingly invasive state. Where government once stayed away, they now seek to regulate and “reform”.

Commenting on this trend, Frederic Bastiat wisely noted:

Here I encounter the most popular fallacy of our times. It is not considered sufficient that the law should be just; it must be philanthropic. Nor is it sufficient that the law should guarantee to every citizen the free and inoffensive use of his faculties for physical, intellectual, and moral self-improvement. Instead, it is demanded that the law should directly extend welfare, education, and morality throughout the nation.

This is the seductive lure of socialism. (Frederic Bastiat, via Quoty)

Disguised to appear philanthropic, the state intrudes into areas in which it has no Constitutional authority. Sadly, few politicians understand the rule of law as it pertains to this country’s founding documents, and thus believe that they are empowered to enact change. This week presented such a backwards spectacle of Constitutional ignorance, when Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich held a forum during the GOP debate, during which he was asked about health care. The New York Times summarizes his response:

One member of the audience of about 200 asked him why health care isn’t mandated by the Constitution.

"Well, I just happen to have my copy of the Constitution with me," Mr. Kucinich replied. He pulled it out from his pocket and read aloud the Preamble — emphasizing the line "promote the general welfare." Health and welfare are almost synonymous, he said before detailing his plan to make the health care system not for profit. Every American would receive free medical and dental care under his plan.

Wrapped in the cloak of the Constitution, Kucinich aims to show voters how he is somehow authorized by the document he carries everywhere (as if this means he’s actually read it and understands it…) to somehow provide free health care for all.

The largest problem, however, is the complete misunderstanding of the general welfare clause that has been used by so many to expand the welfare state and steal from the rich to give to the poor. Kucinich here cites the preamble of the Constitution, which in no way grants authority or delegates power to enforce or promote such welfare. His ignorance in this matter is astounding.

But so it goes, with many politicians (on both sides of the aisle, but more so in the Democratic party) pushing health care reform, new legislation and price controls, additional funding, state-enforced programs, and the like.

Few (if any) of these politicians would make an attempt to state from whence comes their authority to enact such reform and provide free health care for all. No such authority exists, therefore they appeal to the socialist mentality everywhere prevalent, promising voters a piece of the pie if they are voted into office.

And thus is the lure of socialism, as Bastiat noted. The rule of law is cast aside and ignored as presidential hopefuls appeal to the masses, extending hollow promises of health care.

Health care is indeed a problem—one of many in our country today. But any solution promoted and executed by our elected officials must be done within the framework of Constitutional law.

115 Responses to “Health Care Hocus Pocus”

  1. marshall
    December 2, 2007 at 7:42 pm #

    Please point out where in the constitution it says government (created by you and me) can’t have programs that are necessary for all to succeed. Do I need to point to our interstate highways. Oh boy are those socialist.

    Steal from the rich…do you believe what you are saying? What did Warren Buffett say?

    There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.

    Step away from the kool-aid stand!

  2. David
    December 2, 2007 at 8:34 pm #

    I am becoming more and more convinced that what our country needs is for the libertarians to unite fully behind Ron Paul – registering as Republicans if necessary to vote for him in the primaries and offset the political might of big-government social conservatives. That’s our best chance to get a president who actually understands and believes in the Constitution enough to follow what it says. (I know – I’m preaching to the choir here)

  3. Connor
    December 2, 2007 at 9:24 pm #

    Please point out where in the constitution it says government (created by you and me) can’t have programs that are necessary for all to succeed.

    This depends, marshall, which government you’re talking about. Federal and state governments are two different beasts.

    As this post is about the federal government, I’ll assume that you’re referring to the same.

    First, as I mention in this post, the general welfare clause (used by politicians to justify government management of welfare programs and subsidies) does not pertain in the slightest to individual welfare, nor welfare at all in the modern sense of the word.

    Second, the enumerated powers clause of the Constitution specifically state that any power not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution is reserved for the states and people themselves. This restricts what the federal government is legally permitted to do. Uncle Sam can’t play the nice guy and take over an aspect of your life that he isn’t permitted to do by the Constitution. Health care is one such example.

    Do I need to point to our interstate highways. Oh boy are those socialist.

    This is a common argument by anti-liberty, pro-socialism folks. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard the freeway argument. Anthony Gregory’s response on this issue suffices nicely:

    Many skeptics of libertarianism like to say, “Ahah! I got you! Without government, who would build interstate roads?”

    Oh, you did get us! We didn’t think of that. Actually, thousands of private and community roads were built without government in 19th century America. It turns out that people want to get from here to there, and the same market incentives and voluntary human effort that brought us computers, televisions, radios and brain surgery can also manage to build one of the oldest technologies in human history: a strip of land adequately cleared of debris so we can travel on it.

    Steal from the rich…do you believe what you are saying?

    Yes, I do believe what I’m saying. Government taxation for un-Constitutional programs is legalized robbery. I could point you to any number of sources on this issue, each of which would affirm that when government goes beyond its enumerated powers, it is breaking the law, and hence robbing the rich (and the poor and everybody in between) to support its programs and policies that should not exist.

  4. Curtis
    December 2, 2007 at 10:16 pm #

    Connor,
    I’ve read your arguement for the general welfare clause pertaining to government and not individuals. It does seem that you are correct here. However, I cannot in good conscience throw the poor out of my hospital while the rich are allowed to stay and get all of the treatment they like. Noone will pay for the poor to be treated as they need 99% of the time if we leave their care up to charity. This is why I support the group, “Physicians for a National Health Program.” Sorry, I know that the socialist in me is causing all of you libertarians to vomit as you read this. Perhaps if you saw what I see in the hospital every day you might understand me at least, even if you don’t agree with me.

  5. Connor
    December 2, 2007 at 10:26 pm #

    However, I cannot in good conscience throw the poor out of my hospital while the rich are allowed to stay and get all of the treatment they like.

    I wouldn’t be able to do this either. So where does the blame lie? Where did the polarity in services come from?

    Ron Paul, a Dr. himself, has frequently discussed how a decade or two ago, it was quite common for poor patients to receive treatments, and have the Doctor either waive the cost, or work out some sort of plan, in order to help them. Gone are those days, as increasing regulations, legislation, and corporate policies make this opportunity increasingly out of the question.

    As the Doctor notes:

    While many in Congress are happy to criticize HMOs today, the public never hears how the present system was imposed upon the American people by federal law. In fact, one very prominent Senator now attacking HMOs is on record in the 1970s lauding them. As usual, government intervention in the private market failed to deliver the promised benefits and caused unintended consequences, but Congress never blames itself for the problems created by bad laws. Instead, we are told more government – in the form of “universal coverage” – is the answer.

    What Dr. Paul notes is the source of the problem: government. Government has created the health care mess, and now we’re looking to them to solve the problem they themselves created?

    Meh.

  6. Kelly Winterton
    December 2, 2007 at 11:11 pm #

    My 2 cents:

    The health care system in the USA is broken, unfair, and pathetic. It got this way because of many reasons, but the greed for profits by a few corrupt people is the basis of the problem. Supposed “free market capitalism” has not fixed these problems, but made them worse.

    The US system is far worse in value than the socialist systems you all love to hate. It costs the average American twice as much money for half as much care as what the average European receives. Americans are not healthier than citizens of countries having socialized medicine.

    From this standpoint alone, we ought to use some simple logic and admit that if we would implement a system such as all the other industrialized nations use, we would be much better off.

    The solution for our health care problems do not lie in a simplistic approach of bashing Kucinich or praising Paul.

    As a nation of people with Christian values, we have chosen to educate all children, we have chosen to form police departments and fire departments for the protection of all, etc., etc. We generally consider these social programs to be a good investment in our future. We have chosen to use taxation to implement these social programs.

    As a citizen of the corrupt and quickly becoming corrupter U.S.A., I find it absolutely sickening that we continue to support such a corrupt and broken health care system. This is not wise, as we are squandering our future by denying children the health care they need, but cannot provide for themselves if they live in homes where outrageous and unfair insurance premiums are non-existant.

    I think it should be no more controversial to provide socialized medicine to school-age children than it is to provide public education to school-age children.

    As a tax-paying citizen of the USA, I should have certain benefits. One of those benefits ought to be affordable, accessable access to health care. If affordable, accessable health care cannot be provided by our current form of extreme capitalism, we really ought to consider other methods, and we ought to be able to get far better results by studying and implementing the successes of social medicine programs from other countries.

    It seems that Ron Paul, being a doctor, ought to have pretty good insight into the current corrupt system we now have.

    My opinion is that the current system is far too broken to fix by bandaiding it. Let’s start over.

  7. Jay
    December 2, 2007 at 11:34 pm #

    The preamble says provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare. The word “promote” was specifically chosen to distinguish it from the word “provide” and the founders wisely knew that it was inappropriate for the government to get into the business of providing handouts.

    I’m as much in favor as anyone as to helping the poor, which is what I try to do to the best of my ability. It is noble to sacrifice or otherwise give of your own means to help the poor. It is immoral to be generous with other people’s money without their consent, i.e. taxation. It’s what our latter-day prophets have referred to as Satan’s counterfeit plan of salvation.

    Jay

  8. marshall
    December 3, 2007 at 5:46 am #

    I have no doubt that roads would be built without the federal government getting involved but the question is – Would these roads be as efficient and would they be as safe? The answer would be no on both accounts. And lets not forget that the same way our economy benefits from a functioning transportation system it also benefits from a functioning health care system.

    When people listen to these hardcore libertarians types they really need to envision the world they desire to create (and maybe themselves should do this also). Imagine trying to traverse our country on a patchwork of local roads. Imagine what would that do to our economy. Also one of the main reasons the interstate highways was created was for a better way to move our military around during war and to aid in disasters. Now imagine our military trying to quickly get across the country on a path work of roads.

    Oh wait you don’t have to imagine, something like this was done, it was called the 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy, It took our military 62 days to cross the country. Two months!!!! to cross the country on a patchwork of local roads, this is the world these people want us to live in.

  9. Jay
    December 3, 2007 at 7:58 am #

    “I have no doubt that roads would be built without the federal government getting involved but the question is – Would these roads be as efficient and would they be as safe?”

    Absolutely. Certainly more efficient and at least as safe. And at a lot less cost.

    Every time a dollar is taken from the states and put in the federal purse, there are numerous special interest groups competing for it. A dollar sent never results in a dollar’s worth of street improvements. It just doesn’t happen.

    Out here in California, we certainly know how to build roads at least as well as the federal government and we can do it a a lot less cost. Common sense should tell you that we don’t need a federal program to do what the local governments can do just fine.

    Jay

  10. Connor
    December 3, 2007 at 8:17 am #

    To add on to what Jay said, the government can never provide services. They must hire others to do it for them – namely, third party contractors that will do that actual work. So regardless of where the money comes from, individuals and companies are the ones actually making the roads.

    Similarly, though government intrudes in health care, it is private companies, hospitals, doctors, etc., that are actually providing the care. Government can do no such thing—all they can do is tax the rich to give to the poor, threaten doctors with mandates with which they must comply, and lock up anybody who disobeys.

    And I agree with Jay – it will always be a lower cost and more efficient when government is taken out of the equation. Always. FEMA is a prime example of how lethargic and inefficient government operations are. You want a health care version of FEMA, do you?

  11. Kelly W.
    December 3, 2007 at 1:01 pm #

    “You want a health care version of FEMA, do you?”

    Perhaps Connor is right. Perhaps our US government is doomed in anything it puts its hands on. But I sure wouldn’t mind a health care system like Germany’s. I guess Germany’s government is just better than USA’s.

  12. Curtis
    December 3, 2007 at 1:46 pm #

    Connor,
    You said:

    And I agree with Jay – it will always be a lower cost and more efficient when government is taken out of the equation. Always.

    Don’t know if that’s true. Health care is a bit of a different story. In the 2000 elections both Gore and Bush were striving to implement their health care plans which were run by private health insurance agencies, not by government, and both proposed huge increases in spending. At the same time the GAO estimated that a single payer plan like that in Canada, if implemented, would save a couple hundred billion dollars as I recall.

  13. Curtis
    December 3, 2007 at 1:48 pm #

    From the PNHP website:

    This is because private insurance bureaucracy and paperwork consume one-third (31 percent) of every health care dollar. Streamlining payment through a single nonprofit payer would save more than $350 billion per year, enough to provide comprehensive, high-quality coverage for all Americans.

  14. Jay
    December 3, 2007 at 2:49 pm #

    What business is it of the federal government in the first place? The very fact that Gore and Bush were trying to implement any program is evidence that neither of them cared one whit about their oath of office.

    Jay

  15. Russell Page
    December 3, 2007 at 6:57 pm #

    I’m hearing a theme hear from some as though charity is the same thing as socialism and it’s not.

    I don’t find libertarians or Connor or anyone else espousing these ideas saying that you can’t care for the poor because you believe you shouldn’t rob from the rich to give to the poor.

    The whole point of it all is placing the accountability for paying for healthcare in the hands of the individual. Place charity in the hands of the individual. Place giving, kindness, philanthropy and the like all in the hands of the individual and not the government.

    Liberty isn’t about governments. And it is about freedom, but freedom requires individual accountability.

  16. Kaela
    December 5, 2007 at 4:30 pm #

    I don’t know about any of you, but I’ve spent HOURS on the phone dealing with hospitals, doctors, insurance agencies, and then back around the circle again-being bounced around. It can be very, VERY frustrating. The system in place now requires even MORE intermediary parties, like Patient Care-the company in charge of dealing with problems like the one currently on my hands. What a waste of time, and money.

    I don’t know a LOT of specifics on this issue, but I’m still BAFFLED that so many countries, like Sweden & New Zealand, are somehow able to provide healthcare to EVERYONE in the country. Free of cost (at least up front). I’m sure they pay for it in taxes, or something, but at this point I’d prefer that.

    When it gets to the point of “do I suffer sick and hope I am okay/get better, or do I make an appointment with my doctor and deal with the insurance/healthcare aftermath” that is a SAD, SAD dilemma.

    How can we look to other countries to see what they are doing and how it is working better than our system. Isn’t SOMEBODY out there studying this? Why won’t our country look to models of other nations, especially on this issue? Are we too proud?

  17. Connor
    December 5, 2007 at 4:37 pm #

    …but I’m still BAFFLED that so many countries, like Sweden & New Zealand, are somehow able to provide healthcare to EVERYONE in the country.

    It’s called socialism. Sweden is very socialistic, to its own detriment.

    So what may seem as beneficial and utopian to others often is anything but. To quote Gerald Ford:

    A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have. (Gerald Ford, via Quoty)

  18. Kaela
    December 5, 2007 at 5:19 pm #

    Yes I understand those other countries are smaller-and that’s the only excuse I can see for not implementing the same system here.

    You say socialism like it’s a dirty word. If our country was socialistic in that respect, I still think it would be a great improvement. From what I can tell-the people of NZ and SW are VERY HAPPY with that system in their country (I have been to both places, and asked lots questions, and I know residents of both countries). I don’t see why taking that piece of the puzzle and implementing it here is all that bad.

  19. Jay
    December 5, 2007 at 5:32 pm #

    What’s wrong with just a little cancer?

    Jay

  20. Jay
    December 5, 2007 at 5:35 pm #

    I wouldn’t describe our country as socialist. I used to. I would describe it as fascist. Both are bad. The latter-day prophets have said that we should eschew every form of socialism. Has that counsel changed? I think not.

    Jay

  21. Connor
    December 5, 2007 at 5:39 pm #

    You say socialism like it’s a dirty word.

    A very, very dirty word. Very. :)

    Socialism is evil – it is legalized robbery. It is the antithesis of self-governance and individual autonomy. Numerous quotes attest to that fact as well.

    As I noted above, Bastiat noted that socialism has a high lure: “free” money and services, and a perpetual parent (the government) to tell you what to do and how to do it.

    But at what cost?

    I don’t see why taking that piece of the puzzle and implementing it here is all that bad.

    Because it goes completely against the revolutionary principles of liberty and limited government that the Founding Fathers fought for. It’s not permitted in the Constitution. And it goes against eternal principles to boot.

    Regarding Sweden: Jody (my wife) served her mission there. She agrees with you that most Swedes enjoy the benefits of socialism. But she notes that it becomes a necessity that both parents work, in order to afford the cost of living that the high taxes require. Socialism, or the spreading of wealth from one person to another, requires accessing funds from another person. So these parents, in order to make enough to live comfortably, both have to work.

    In her 18 months of service, Jody only encountered one family (one family!) where both parents were not working. This was an LDS family, and they lived very humbly due to the limited income.

    Thus we see one downside of socialism. Mothers are essentially forced into employment (although I’m sure some, if not most, enjoy doing it) in order to maintain a comfortable life under the economic strains socialism causes.

    One might easily argue that such a situation is exactly what the Proclamation on the Family encourages against…

  22. Allie
    December 5, 2007 at 5:52 pm #

    I really don’t understand the loyalty to our current health care system. Conner, you ask why politicians seem to be making this such a big issue? Obviously you are one of the lucky ones who has never had problems receiving health care. The numbers who belong in that group are shrinking daily. My parents own a small business and it gets more and more expensive to provide health insurance for employees. Every year, my mom goes through the same routine arguing with the insurance company so that their rates only go up 20% instead of 50%. My husband works for them and we have had to opt out of their insurance because we can’t afford it (even after the insurance allowance provided by the company). We currently have insurance through a broker, and in the two years we have had it, our monthly premiums have doubled while covered services are reduced. And what for? So the Select Health CEO can take home a fat paycheck? Whatever the reason, our system has some major issues.

    People talk like socialized health care is the beginning of the end, but really, what’s so wrong with making sure people are healthy? If we take care of people before they have emergencies, it’s cheaper for everyone, I’d think nice republicans would latch on to that idea pretty fast.

    It can be done, and has been done successfully for a long time.

    Utahns have been one-issue voters before (abortion or same-sex marriage) we should be able to do it again for an issue that really affects everyone.

  23. Yin
    December 5, 2007 at 6:14 pm #

    I agree with both Connor and Allie.

    Our health care system is in shambles and is only getting worse.

    Socialized medicine is not the answer.

    So, the question is: What is the answer?

    Thoughts, anyone?

    A summary of my 2 cents: Health care doesn’t exist. Disease care does. On average, for every dollar spent on preventive medicine, there’s a 3 dollar return on investment. Instead of trying to fix the ever growing problems of chronic disease that we often bring upon ourselves through poor lifestyle choices, educate and encourage people to change behaviors and invest in their health today. Thereby decreasing the need for care later.

    Sure, it may seem impossible and stupidly optimistic, but it’s the best thing I’ve been able to come up with.

  24. Connor
    December 5, 2007 at 6:22 pm #

    Whatever the reason, our system has some major issues.

    Exactly. We should first understand why health care is a mess before proposing a solution. Politicians don’t talk about problems, they talk about solutions. They don’t point fingers (unless they can score a political point), but instead tout their own ingenious plan to save the day. It rarely works.

    A thorough analysis of the problems with our health care system would probably reveal that the bulk of them stem directly from government involvement. Rep. Paul, an obstetrician, frequently mentions how before recent legislation, HMOs, and the like, doctors would work out payment plans with individuals, waive costs, etc. And on top of that, procedures were much more affordable.

    So then we propose even further government intervention to allegedly fix the problem they created? Hmmm…

    …what’s so wrong with making sure people are healthy?

    This question is dangerous, for it masks the implications of what would be required. First, you’d need to empower government to mandate and regulate the health of its citizens. You’d need a bureaucracy large enough to enforce such legislation. You’d need a massive tax hike (or funds from another source, such as the Fed or foreign investments) in order to cover the costs. And what’s worst, you’d need a complete reversal from the founding principles of this nation, turning us into a welfare nation.

    If we take care of people before they have emergencies, it’s cheaper for everyone…

    We (as a nation) have no legal responsibility to take care of the health of other people. People should take care of themselves to the extent possible; when this is out of the question, other avenues (family, relatives, church, non-profits) should be pursued before relying on the government.

  25. Jay
    December 5, 2007 at 6:46 pm #

    Part of the problem is western medicine. Drugs has become the answer for everything. We would be much healthier if we relied upon the word of wisdom and used natural treatments that the Lord has blessed us with. In America, it’s virtually illegal to cure cancer, although, there are many cures available which cost practically nothing. Government is the criminal, not the solution.

    Jay

  26. Allie
    December 5, 2007 at 7:03 pm #

    We (as a nation) have no legal responsibility to take care of the health of other people.

    I’m not talking about “other” people. I’m talking about “our” people. (I know this is not what you meant…).

    I guess I should rephrase… what is so wrong with making sure people have access to health care so that they can take care of themselves?

    Yes people should take care of themselves, but darn, it’s hard to perform surgery on yourself. People need to be able to access services, which under our current system are becoming more and more unavailable to more and more people.

    I know Michael Moore is akin to satan in the minds of many, but his film, Sicko, was worth watching, even if you don’t like michael moore. He interviewed a doctor in London who lived quite a comfortable lifestyle working for the NHA (is nha right? National Health Association?). He talked about how he received bonuses for getting his patients to adopt healthier lifestyles (such as stop smoking).

    I’d still like to hear why we have such devotion to such a broken system?

  27. Curtis
    December 5, 2007 at 10:37 pm #

    Jay,

    In America, it’s virtually illegal to cure cancer, although, there are many cures available which cost practically nothing.

    You obviously don’t work in the health care profession. Your statement is insulting at least and more likely extremely ignorant at most.

  28. Kelly Winterton
    December 5, 2007 at 10:52 pm #

    You can watch SiCKO free online. I suggest everyone ought to do so.

    I had an interesting conversation with my German friends back in 2004 about the costs of their family’s health care. I was enlightened. This family pays taxes to the government for health care. As German citizens, they have total access to doctors and hospitals etc., because they are citizens, but not because they pay taxes.

    In inquiring how much their taxes are for this health care, they could quote me almost exactly how much of their income taxes went for health care. As we compared their cost for health care with my own cost for insurance premiums, I was surprised that my cost for premiums ($400 per month) was almost exactly what their tax for health care was per month.

    However, this is where the similarity ends. My German friend pays $400/mo. because he and his wife both have lucrative jobs. If he were to make less money, his percentage of health tax would decrease. If his wife were to quit work, they would pay half as much in health tax. If they were to both lose their jobs, they would pay nothing in health tax. Conversely, if they were to become very rich, their percentage of health care tax would be more than $400 per month. Yet, even a jobless German paying no health tax, gets the same quality of health care and access that an employed German gets.

    But, if I am a poor American making $7.00 per hour, my insurance premium remains at $400 per month. If I am a rich American and make $100,000 per year, my insurance premium remains at $400 per month. If I am unemployed, my premium stays at $400 per month (and perhaps even more if I am unemployed and paying COBRA). This means that if I lose my job, I am in real danger of losing all access to the US health care system.

    The comparison also stops there too. The German paying $400 per month in health care tax does not have to pay extra for drugs, or other additional costs like deductables or copays, etc. The German also has none of the red tape to wade through.

    A German never loses his/her access to the health care system. Yet, somehow some people perceive this as socialized medicine, how every German pays a percentage of his income to finance their health care system.

    This seems pretty fair to me! A German can access their health care system by paying their fair share! How is this defined as socialized medicine? Yet, if I am somehow unfortunate enough to lose my job, I am excluded from getting health care for my kids, who, being too young to work, cannot afford to get health care either.

    But regardless of the definition of socialized medicine vs. whatever you define our pathetic system as, I’d vote in an instant to save big grundels of money by having German-style health care. Statistic-wise, the Germans are much healthier for far less money. Our pathetic system is not nearly as efficient, let alone fair. (I might define our health care system as approaching fascistic.)

    However, Germans are fond of complaining about the costs of their health tax. Their government constantly has issues with funding health care. I suppose this is normal, as we Americans also are always complaining about our own tax rates being adjusted for things like property, income and sales taxes. Their health costs are also increasing, and they must fund these increases through increased health tax instead of increasing insurance premiums.

    Remember, watch SiCKO.

  29. Connor
    December 5, 2007 at 11:06 pm #

    This seems pretty fair to me! A German can access their health care system by paying their fair share!

    I would argue that a graded pay scale is anything but fair. Sure, the poor may think it’s fair because it benefits them, and rich people are burdened with larger payments, but I don’t believe that’s fair.

    Imagine a restaurant charging more to a customer because he drives a BMW, or Comcast doubling your fee because your wife has a job as well. What if groceries were 150% higher for salaried executives, or gasoline twice as much for those earning six figures?

    What is fair about requiring the “rich” to pay more just because they can afford to do so?

    We’re talking about an exchange for services here. Ignore government taxation for a moment (which most tend to agree should be a set percentage of one’s income). In a simple exchange of services (whether you’re getting a car, bar of soap, or an operation), there is normally a set fee that is previously agreed upon by both parties. There is no consideration for how much money you make, nor what your net worth is. You pay a fee for the service, and you go on your merry way.

    Why should health care (a service) be any different?

    It’s only different in the minds of people that feel that government should be involved in and regulate this industry. Once government intervenes, these people believe it is authorized to “steal from the rich and give to the poor”, enabling a socialist redistribution of wealth. Surely the rich can afford it, so why not tax them higher, and help out the little guy?

    But as I argue in this post, it all boils down to one thing: the constitutionality of government intervention in health care. The federal government is in no way authorized to have anything to do with health care, and thus raising taxes for that purpose is out of the question. Like other services, health care should be at a fixed price, regardless of one’s income or ability to pay.

    But like all services, it should be a free exchange between two parties. If the provider (e.g. the doctor) wishes to be kind and lower his fees for somebody in need, he should be entitled to do so. As a web designer, I regularly do pro bono work for non-profit organizations, or heavily discount my standard rate for friends/family or small companies that otherwise could not afford it. That, as a provider, is my prerogative. Similarly, in a free exchange model of health care, it should be left up to the individuals to determine a price and agree to the stated terms of the transaction.

  30. Kelly Winterton
    December 5, 2007 at 11:20 pm #

    Yeah, a graded pay scale sucks. I think that poor people should only pay $100 dollars per year in income tax, and super-rich people should only pay $100 per year in income tax. Even I should only have to pay $100 per year in income tax. Maybe that would be fair, everybody pays the same amount.

  31. Kelly Winterton
    December 5, 2007 at 11:26 pm #

    Why should health care (a service) be any different?

    Perhaps health care service shouldn’t be any different. But in retrospect of how corrupt, unfair, and inefficient our own health care system is, we ought to consider something better, and the German system turns out a healthier citizen at a far lower cost.

  32. Jay
    December 6, 2007 at 3:48 am #

    “You obviously don’t work in the health care profession. Your statement is insulting at least and more likely extremely ignorant at most.”

    Not at all. Perhaps difficult for those who practice oncology to accept, but certainly not false. There are a lot of people who can cure cancer who are constantly harassed by the IRS, FDA and other agencies, because they can do for $300 what it costs $300,000 to have done through conventional treatment (and often with less favorable results). It’s extremely difficult and virtually illegal to cure cancer. The pharmecudical industry is big business. Oncology is big business. It isn’t about curing cancer, it’s about money. If that insults you, I’m sorry, but that’s the way it is.

    Jay

  33. Curtis
    December 6, 2007 at 8:12 am #

    Jay,
    That’s B.S. I know that medicine is big business in the US, there is no doubt about that, but it is this big business that benefits from the principles of capitalism so touted on this site, that in the competition model provides the best treatment for patient’s. Your assertions are not backed by facts. I’ve seen many a person who tried to treat their cancer by alternative methods before using conventional methods, who then show up at the hospital and their disease is so far gone that their death is imminent… whereas they could have been cured had they come to see their physician first. We cure cancer all the time using conventional methods. You should check the facts before spouting off such heresy.

  34. Allie
    December 6, 2007 at 9:15 am #

    Like other services, health care should be at a fixed price, regardless of one’s income or ability to pay.

    Few other services directly affect a persons life as much as health care. The problem with your statement Connor, is that it leaves many who cannot pay without health care. This may seem “fair” to you, but what about our responsibility for the least of those among us?

    If you are looking for “fairness” perhaps you ought to contact president Hinckley about the “unfairness” of tithing. Everyone should have to pay the same amount, regardless of their income, and maybe if people can’t pay enough, they should be denied blessings!

    Socialized medicine, National health care, I don’t particularly care what you call it. We are capable of doing so much more for so much less money. Why wouldn’t we do that?

    Obama’s health plan isn’t socialized medicine. It doesn’t do away with private insurance companies (which is the only thing I don’t like about it:) ). I’d encourage you to read about it. It’s not my perfect idea of health care, but it would be a huge improvement.

    http://www.barackobama.com/issues/healthcare/

  35. Connor
    December 6, 2007 at 9:26 am #

    The problem with your statement Connor, is that it leaves many who cannot pay without health care. This may seem “fair” to you, but what about our responsibility for the least of those among us?

    As I’ve written exhaustively on the posts dealing directly with socialism, this responsibility is important and individual. We as individuals have the responsibility of which you speak, to care for others.

    This responsibility, however, should not be delegated to the government. Forcing people to help each other (through taxation and socialistic wealth redistribution) removes from the individual the responsibility, stewardship, and blessings of charitable service. If the government takes 40% of my money away to use for others, then I’m left with what’s necessary to pay my basic bills, but don’t have the extra cash I otherwise would have to use for good and worthy causes such as paying a friend’s medical bill.

    Through force, government endorses legalized robbery. They assume the responsibility of “caring for the little guy”, but can only do it by taxation or printing new money.

    If you are looking for “fairness” perhaps you ought to contact president Hinckley about the “unfairness” of tithing. Everyone should have to pay the same amount, regardless of their income, and maybe if people can’t pay enough, they should be denied blessings!

    Ah, but you misunderstand my argument if you feel that tithing applies. Tithing is not a payment in exchange for a service. There is no mutual exchange of agreed upon terms – it is one person (God) stating what you must pay, and you having the free agency to do so or not. There is no force involved, and there is no negotiation of terms. That is much different than a free exchange between two persons for services rendered.

    We are capable of doing so much more for so much less money. Why wouldn’t we do that?

    Satan argued something similar: save everybody! Why wouldn’t we do that?

    It all boils down to that pesky thing called liberty. The liberty, self-autonomy, and individual stewardship to look after one’s self, and choose, if so inclined, to assist one’s fellow man. No force – only freedom. Trouble is, many people don’t know what to do with such freedom, and look to government to use it for them.

  36. Jay
    December 6, 2007 at 9:32 am #

    Curtis,

    I don’t know whether or not you have any vested interest in the medical or oncology industry, but if you do, I can understand your defensiveness. Nevertheless, it is absolutely true, what I have said.

    Oncology is a blessing for the few that it helps, but they are the very lucky few. For the most part, it is a sham. I don’t blame the doctors. I believe that most of them are doing their best, but are victims of a greater fraud brought on by the pharmaceutical industry. Most doctors only know to give chemotherapy and radiation treatment. It’s the only bullets that they have. Seldom do they work and a lot less often than reported. Yeah, there are other treatments that are coming out, and there is some measure of success with them, but they pale in comparison to the alternative cancer treatments which are available at a fraction of the cost. At least, they should be available. Unfortunately, when someone comes up with a low-cost cancer treatment, they are inevitably visited by the FDA henchmen with guns who raid their shops and seize their goods. They often disappear as quickly as they appear. It’s very difficult for those who are successful in treating cancer through natural practices. The feds make it so. Like it or not, it’s a business and the mighty dollar rules. Money first, health second. That should be of no surprise to those who study about the secret combinations of the last days.

    I don’t know if you know of Dr. Ralph Moss or not. He’s a great source of information on the subject. He’s a world renown expert in cancer treatment, and one who has been ostracized from the mainstream because he has dared to expose the truth about conventional treatment. A couple of great books to read on the subject are A World Without Cancer and Questioning Chemotherapy. I’ve read them both. They are excellent.

    Jay

  37. Allie
    December 6, 2007 at 10:27 am #

    I find it ridiculous that we will pay for some services through taxes, and most people seem okay with those, but we can’t even think about a more accessible health care system, because people should have the right to suffer independently.

    I don’t get it.

    (and yes, I realize that tithing is different, I just think your argument was equally silly).

    It’s not as if your taxes for a nationalized health care program would be any higher that typical monthly premiums for health care.

    I hope you never have to deal with major health problems, or having claims denied, or having your insurance premiums raised to the point of not being able to pay for them. I think most people who are happy with our system, simply have no experience with how lousy it really is.

    Eventually enough people will be fed up, and will demand change. It’s starting to happen already.

  38. Connor
    December 6, 2007 at 10:40 am #

    I find it ridiculous that we will pay for some services through taxes, and most people seem okay with those, but we can’t even think about a more accessible health care system, because people should have the right to suffer independently.

    The issue of proper taxation boils down to what government is empowered to legislate and regulate. As the power to regulate health care falls outside the enumerated powers delegated by the Constitution, the federal government cannot legally impose taxes for that purpose.

    In my mind, it does not matter what people are willing to pay for with taxes, but instead what is rightly taxable. If everybody feels entitled to a BMW, should the government start taxing people to ensure that this comes to be? In a constitutional republic, there are certain things that the government may tax and regulate, and others that it may not. Health care falls outside the enumerated powers, and thus should be free from federal oversight and taxation, no matter how many people seem okay with it.

    It’s not as if your taxes for a nationalized health care program would be any higher that typical monthly premiums for health care.

    Again, in my mind this has far more to do with what government should control. I don’t want regulation and oversight of private industries, which clearly falls outside the scope of the proper role of government.

    I think most people who are happy with our system, simply have no experience with how lousy it really is.

    I’d agree with that. Lack of personal experience surely removes the emotive response that naturally comes with such things. But it’s quite easy to read up on the status of the situation, learn how the problems evolved, and assess what should be done.

    Eventually enough people will be fed up, and will demand change. It’s starting to happen already.

    I’d still argue that more government is not the solution, despite the purported benefits such a scenario would provide. As I wrote to Kaela above, these things come with a price. You get better health care, but at what expense?

  39. Allie
    December 6, 2007 at 10:51 am #

    The only concern I have about a national health care program is that it would do away with a huge sector of our economy (which I don’t have a problem with as far as overpriced CEO’s go) and that would likely have repercussions in other areas of the economy.

    Obama’s plan wouldn’t have that effect, since it would not do away with our current system, just modify it a bit. If you haven’t read about it yet, you should take a few minutes.

    I believe that government ought to be there to ensure basic health and safety for the citizens. Health care, in my mind, is not so different than police or fire services.

  40. Yin
    December 6, 2007 at 11:10 am #

    Connor, I have a slight problem with your idea of Americans paying for their neighbors’ health expenses as you suggested in comment #35. I find it very difficult to picture a nation, without taxation for health care, where the wealthy cover the health bills of the less fortunate. I know you’re very involved in charity and service, so this may not seem so far-fetched for you personally. But to me, Americans are inherently selfish. If they suddenly find they have tons of extra money because of a tax cut, I imagine they’re much more likely to buy a more expensive car or a new boat or something. Not pay the medical bills of someone else. Maybe in a law of consecration society, but it’s highly questionable in our current society, don’t you think?

  41. Jay
    December 6, 2007 at 11:32 am #

    Yup, so let’s do it Satan’s way and force them to be good.

    Jay

  42. Allie
    December 6, 2007 at 11:38 am #

    I find comparing national health care to satans plan a huge cop out.

  43. Connor
    December 6, 2007 at 11:55 am #

    I find it very difficult to picture a nation, without taxation for health care, where the wealthy cover the health bills of the less fortunate.

    Agreed. But does that mean we should force people to render their services for others? Is forced charity better than liberty and some selfishness?

    The entitlement mentality of many of this nation intrigues me. Am I entitled to a car? A home? An education? A computer?

    Being entitled to such things creates a demand on a provider. If I’m entitled to health care, then a doctor must to be forced to render his services in my behalf. This doctor, who went to many years of schooling and attained his degree at much personal sacrifice, is then mandated to render his services on my behalf at a pre-determined price.

    This is wrong. I, as a web designer, should not be forced to serve another person. I must remain free to choose whose websites I wish to make, and whose I would rather not. As I argued earlier, I can, through the goodness of my heart, choose to do pro bono work, or offer my services at a discounted rate as I see fit. However, when forced to offer my services, I do so grudgingly, and therefore am not blessed.

    But to me, Americans are inherently selfish.

    One might argue the opposite, given the stats from last year. Think of how much more good we could do if we had more money (from less taxation).

    I don’t think we’re inherently selfish. It think that the light of Christ in each person, no matter how muted, ignored, or suppressed, encourages each of us to help others. I think that in a culture saturated with materialism and consumerism you will find plenty of people addicted to “stuff” and unwilling to aid others, but I also think you’ll find plenty of people who are giving and helpful.

  44. Jay
    December 6, 2007 at 11:55 am #

    I’m not comparing it to health care. I’m comparing it to unrighteous taxation. The ends do not justify the means.

    Jay

  45. Allie
    December 6, 2007 at 12:04 pm #

    Those poor fire fighters. I bet they wish they didn’t have to go put out fires all the time. They shouldn’t be forced to put out fires if they don’t want to…

    Perhaps if they don’t want to help people be healthier, they should have chosen a different profession. A national health system doesn’t mean that doctors are suddenly going to be paid pennies.

    And Jay, that’s where we disagree I guess. I don’t view it as “unrighteous taxation” (that’s a funny phrase). I think access to affordable health care for all more than justifies the collection of taxes for it. Especially when those taxes mean that a few people are no longer getting ridiculously wealthy off of denying claims to sick people.

  46. Connor
    December 6, 2007 at 12:15 pm #

    Those poor fire fighters. I bet they wish they didn’t have to go put out fires all the time. They shouldn’t be forced to put out fires if they don’t want to…

    As government’s proper role is to protect life, liberty, and property, fire fighting is a legitimate enterprise worthy of taxation.

    One might argue under the same vein, then, that ambulance care is equally legitimate, as it is helping to save the person’s life. I would agree.

    But medicine, surgery, outpatient visits, and other things (including preventive insurance) that don’t immediately threaten the life of a person are to be left in the individual’s hands.

    Much like we purchase whatever insurance we desire, so it should be with health care. Government should not enforce preventive measures, such as buying earthquake insurance, losing weight, eating healthy, or taking medicine. This is not a nanny state (or, well, it shouldn’t be).

    A national health system doesn’t mean that doctors are suddenly going to be paid pennies.

    Again, I’m not arguing benefits here (claims may be made either way). I’m discussing what government is empowered to do. If somebody wants federal oversight of health care, then the first step to discuss is a constitutional amendment adding health care to the enumerated powers clause. Until then, Uncle Sam has no right to interfere.

  47. Jay
    December 6, 2007 at 12:27 pm #

    Taxation for the defense of rights and property is okay. Taxation for redistribution of wealth is not. Socialized medicine takes from some and gives to others. Those who have no need of the service still pay and those who depend more on it are being subsidized. That is immoral. That is Satan’s way.

  48. Allie
    December 6, 2007 at 12:34 pm #

    Medicine, surgery, outpatient visits, and other things (including preventive insurance) are generally helpful for saving someone’s life. A health person, who has good medical care, is not going to need that ambulance ride. You’re advocating emergency room care for everyone, which from a financial perspective (not to mention a health perspective) just doesn’t make sense.

    I think Uncle Sam interferes in a lot of things they shouldn’t, so I don’t see why suddenly people get upset over interference in something that would provide better health care for the majority, and cost less for everyone.

    Jay, non-socialized medicine does the same thing, it takes more and more from everyone, and gives to the CEO’s. :) There’s a definite redistribution of wealth both ways, but my way, the wealth distribution benefits more than just the top 1% of americans.

    Who doesn’t have need of health care? I suppose now, some one could just not get insurance, thinking they didn’t need it, but at some point they’re going to need it, and they’ll be out of luck if they didn’t bother to pay earlier, “I’m sorry sir, your colon cancer is a preexisting condition and we won’t cover the surgery needed to save your life, oh you don’t have the money to pay for it yourself, bummer!”

  49. Connor
    December 6, 2007 at 12:56 pm #

    Medicine, surgery, outpatient visits, and other things (including preventive insurance) are generally helpful for saving someone’s life.

    But where do we draw the line? Do we put up guard rails on all cliffs to keep people from falling? Ban all harmful substances that might be ingested by a child? Outlaw baseball bats because they can harm another person? It’s not the government’s responsibility to look after people. Free agency allows us to use and abuse our lives however we see fit.

    You’re advocating emergency room care for everyone, which from a financial perspective (not to mention a health perspective) just doesn’t make sense.

    I was referring only to ambulance assistance, not emergency room care. And even ambulances are available from private companies, a much more viable option then relying on government.

    I think Uncle Sam interferes in a lot of things they shouldn’t, so I don’t see why suddenly people get upset over interference in something that would provide better health care for the majority, and cost less for everyone.

    You must be new to this blog. :) I don’t focus on health care, I often enumerate the many, many ways in which government has expanded beyond its enumerated powers and interfered in the lives of individuals. Health care, as I noted in the post, is so alluring to people and so high on the radar list of aspiring politicians because of the socialist mentality being propagated and encouraged in our country today. People feel entitled to health care, and don’t care how they get it.. but they want it!

    Who doesn’t have need of health care?

    What if somebody doesn’t want it? What if somebody wants to use alternative medicines prohibited by the FDA, as Jay mentioned? What if somebody would rather have the plug pulled if in a coma, instead of being subjected to media scrutiny and public outcry? What if I wanted to visit a different doctor or hospital than the ones provided me?

    While the need is generally great, that doesn’t justify government regulation. Who doesn’t have the need of cars, food, water, exercise, washing machines, and internet access? Though the need many be great (or even universal), it must be left up to individuals to provide for themselves wherever possible.

  50. Allie
    December 6, 2007 at 1:05 pm #

    Obviously we have to draw a line somewhere, so why not draw it so that everyone has access to affordable health care?

    You say “wherever possible” but our current system is making it more and more impossible.

    You really ought to see SiCKO and read about Obama’s plan (which isn’t socialized medicine, so maybe it won’t be as objectionable to you).

  51. Allie
    December 6, 2007 at 1:17 pm #

    I don’t see anything wrong with feeling entitled to health care. It’s not as if people are asking for it for free.

    People need food, air, shelter, and accessible health care. That’s what I think our government ought to be doing. I think we’ll have to agree to disagree about that.

    I am fairly new to your blog, and I’ve enjoyed it. I’ll probably keep reading even though I think you’re way off on health care. :)

  52. Jay
    December 6, 2007 at 1:19 pm #

    The difference is agency. Socialized medicine takes away our agency. Free market health care, regardless of who makes money out of it, still allows us our agency.

    The modern day prophets have told us to eschew EVERY FORM of socialism. Wouldn’t socialized medicine be part of it? Has that counsel ever changed?

    Jay

  53. Allie
    December 6, 2007 at 1:25 pm #

    That’s dangerous ground Jay. Where have modern day prophets said the eschew “every form” of socialism?

    Rather amusing with the law of consecration hanging out there.

  54. Connor
    December 6, 2007 at 1:28 pm #

    Where have modern day prophets said the eschew “every form” of socialism? Rather amusing with the law of consecration hanging out there.

    Whoa, whoa… Hang on. Socialism is most definitely not consecration. Night and day difference. See here for a few good articles explaining the (huge!) difference.

  55. Allie
    December 6, 2007 at 1:44 pm #

    Okay, how about we set up a national health care system and allow people to opt out if they don’t want to participate. Those people can continue to use their way overpriced private insurance.

    I understand the difference between socialism and the law of consecration. (although what will happen to people who opt out of the law of consecration I wonder… that will be interesting.)The main thing (and here I’ve been perpetuating it by saying socialized medicine myself) is that I think people get all excited over the idea of “socialized medicine” that they miss out on what could be accomplished (without actually being true socialized medicine) by a national health care system.

    It bothers me that people play the socialized medicine trump card- taking away agency- when it’s convenient for them. My BIL went on and on about how awful socialized medicine would be, even after I pointed out to him that his baby had been born on medicaid he just didn’t put it together. We all pay taxes and those taxes are mostly used to benefit society as a whole.

  56. Curtis
    December 6, 2007 at 3:09 pm #

    Jay,
    Again, you have a very one sided view of the current treatments we have for cancer. I assert again that a large percentage of people in our country are cured of their cancer by conventional chemotherapy or radiation. All alternative methods I’ve ever heard of are completely bogus. If you want to get an alternative therapy accepted you need to run a trial and get it published and it shouldn’t be difficult to do… especially if someone stands to make a buck off of it. I am a physician, but not an oncologist. I’m a pathologist and we see more cancer than anyone in the hospital. Alternative methods are mostly bogus and have hurt way more people than they’ve helped.

  57. Jay
    December 6, 2007 at 3:10 pm #

    “Okay, how about we set up a national health care system and allow people to opt out if they don’t want to participate. Those people can continue to use their way overpriced private insurance.”

    That would be great, allowing those who don’t want to participate, to opt out. Secondly, let’s take the government inefficiency out of it. Privatize it and I’m good with it.

    Jay

  58. Jay
    December 6, 2007 at 3:17 pm #

    Curtis,

    What is bogus is the claims that the medical industry makes about the success of chemotherapy and radiation. They falsify data to make themselves look good. Dr. Ralph Moss blew the lid off of that. That’s why the mainstream hates him.

    My wife was cured by alternative treatment. In six weeks, two ovarian cancer tumors were completely gone. The doctors were amazed. But when she told them that she did it by eating apricot seeds, they just discounted it. It’s what they are trained to do. It’s sad that the medical industry can’t accept the competition, but hey, when you’re used to selling something for $100,000 and someone comes in and can do the same thing for $500, hundreds of thousands of jobs are threatened. That’s when the government henchmen come in and take over to protect the jobs.

  59. Jay
    December 6, 2007 at 4:07 pm #

    This was a long story, but I’ll try to condense it. This is one of the MANY reasons why I have little faith in the medical industry and a ton more confidence in the alternative health industry.

    I had a terrible chronic infection in my eyes. They would get beet red, my eyelids would swell and at times, it was so bad that my eyes were swollen shut, or even the slightest bit of sunlight was incredibly painful. For four years, I went from specialist to specialist, from dermatologists to ophthalmologists. They all gave me different diagnoses. After four years of misery, my last doctor had given me several different antibiotics and told me that he was going to give me the biggest gun he had, and if that didn’t work, the only option was surgery. Well, it didn’t work. I still remember as if it were yesterday, driving home from work, all depressed because I was going to have to have surgery on my eyes. Then I was inspired to try one more thing. On my way home from work, I went by the health food store. The owner looked at me and handed me an $8 bottle of colloidal silver and said, “By law, I’m not allowed to tell you to put three drops in each eye, three times a day.” *wink, wink*

    Well, to make a long story short, my infection cleared up over the course of about three days and I’ve never had a problem since. Four years, several thousands of dollars and four different specialists couldn’t do it. One lowly health food store owner did it for eight bucks in three days.

    And that is only one of many examples.

    Jay

  60. Connor
    December 6, 2007 at 4:18 pm #

    Amazing, Jay. Glad to hear you’re better. That’s awesome.

    I do think that sometimes we rely too much on “modern medicine” and technological advancements, and cast aside so-called “alternative” treatments. I’d like to talk to a medicine men someday and learn about the various healing properties of natural items.

  61. Yin
    December 6, 2007 at 4:57 pm #

    Going right along with this fascinating tangent, I have a close friend with a similar experience.

    In high school, he damaged some muscles in his back playing football. The healing process didn’t work quite right, and left him with fits of tightness and pain that didn’t go away and just seemed to spread through his back. Similar to Jay, after several specialists, physical therapists, orthopedists, nothing was changing, and he was told the only other solution was surgery. Instead, he went to an acupuncturist, paid 40 dollars for one session, and has never had back problems since.

    There’s definitely something to be said for alternative medicine. I think it’s a very intriguing subject.

  62. Jay
    December 6, 2007 at 5:53 pm #

    Yin,

    I’m a big believer in acupuncture as well as acupressure. There’s a self-treatment that you can also do, which is called Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping) which uses the principles of acupressure. You can look it up on the web. I’ve used it to lower my blood pressure, among other things, and it is amazing.

    Jay

  63. Jay
    December 6, 2007 at 6:08 pm #

    A few noteworthy quotes:

    Elder Marion G. Romney
    April General Conference, 1966

    “Now, not forgetting our duty to eschew socialism and support the just and holy principles of the Constitution, as directed by the Lord, I shall conclude these remarks with a few comments concerning what we should be do about the United Order.”

    Message from the First Presidency, July 1936

    We call upon all Church members completely to eschew Communism. The safety of our divinely inspired Constitutional government and the welfare of our Church imperatively demand that Communism shall have no place in America. (J. Reuben Clark Jr., First Counselor in the First Presidency, representing the First Presidency, Deseret News, July 3, 1936, pp. 1-2; also in Improvement Era, August 1936)

    Yes, it says “communism” and not “socialism”, but President Benson said they were essentially the same thing:

    Ezra Taft Benson

    We must ever keep in mind that collectivized socialism is part of the communistic strategy. Communism is fundamentally socialism. When socialism is understood, we will realize that many of the programs advocated, and some of these already adopted in the U.S., fall clearly within the category of socialism. What is socialism? It is simply governmental ownership or management of the essential means for the production and distribution of goods ((CN: or services?)). The socialistic-communistic conspiracy to weaken the U.S. involves attacks on many fronts. Their press and other propaganda media are therefore constantly selling the principles of centralized or federal control of farms, railroads, electric power, schools, steel, shipping, and many other aspects of the economy – but always in the name of public welfare..

    But my question remains. Has this counsel changed? And if not, shouldn’t we be following it?

    Jay

  64. Allie
    December 6, 2007 at 6:46 pm #

    As the latest edition of Mormon Doctrine says, those comments are “a product of the time and culture in which they were [spoken].” Bruce R. McConkie had some interesting views on blacks and the priesthood, now those things don’t make me think of him as a false prophet by any means, but it makes me think that what Heavenly Father gives us is often based on what we can handle, which is often affected by the time and culture in which we live.

    If you really think we ought to eschew all forms of socialism, you’d better opt out of paying any taxes, taxes are used for socialistic programs after all.

  65. Connor
    December 6, 2007 at 7:04 pm #

    As the latest edition of Mormon Doctrine says, those comments are “a product of the time and culture in which they were [spoken].”

    This is only true when the comment has been superseded by new revelation and doctrine.

    Adam was taught things thousands of years ago that are very much applicable to today. Far from being anachronistic, they are eternal and universally applicable.

    The teachings against socialism still stand today, as well as the clear distinctions between socialism and the law of consecration. Until a prophet comes out and says “socialism is good!”, the previous counsel stands.

    If you really think we ought to eschew all forms of socialism, you’d better opt out of paying any taxes, taxes are used for socialistic programs after all.

    Opt out? Where do I sign up for that? :) The government requires that we pay taxes, and as we are counseled to obey the laws of the land, we must do so even when the laws are socialistic (as is the case w/ many Saints throughout the world). Disobeying that law will get your temple recommend confiscated in most cases. But if there was a way to opt out, believe me, I’d be one of the first in line.

  66. Jay
    December 6, 2007 at 7:11 pm #

    Yeah, the only way I know how to opt out is with a big gun and theirs is bigger than mine :O)

    I believe that the tax laws are unconstitutional, and I believe that there is no law requiring me to file or pay income taxes, but as Connor said, the Church takes a dim view on tax resistance and I would prefer keeping my temple recommend than not paying taxes.

    But we’re getting off topic, so back to health care . . .

    Jay

  67. Allie
    December 6, 2007 at 7:32 pm #

    So if the government adopts a national heath care system all these arguments are moot. They may be moot anyway, since I think there is a way to provide affordable health care to everyone without creating an evil socialist program.

  68. Allie
    December 6, 2007 at 7:33 pm #

    Forgot the smiley..
    :)

  69. Curtis
    December 6, 2007 at 10:44 pm #

    Accupuncture does good things, that I’ll concede. I highly doubt your wife had cancer to begin with. You can’t tell if the ovarian tumor is cancerous or not without taking the ovary out. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar. What was seen on imaging or palpated by physical exam was probably not a cancer at all. There are plenty of benign lesions of the ovary.

    As for your eye problem I have no comment other than to say that I am glad you were healed. Your anecdotal stories mean very little though unless these alternative therapies are shown to of proven effect over a large population. There are huge studies that show however that Ewings disease is curable by chemotherapy. It’s a remarkable achievement. 2CDA now keeps a certain form of leukemia at bay, and kids are cured of leukemias at rates unimagined 30 or 40 years ago. Large cell lymphomas are very curable and surgery plus chemotherapy does wonders for breast cancer. Advances in treatment and detection have stopped prostate cancer from killing men. Cervical cancer, still a major killer in the rest of the world, only rarely kills now in the USA. Thyroid cancers can be stopped by hormone suppression. Gastrointestinal stromal tumors can be held at bay and even cured by Gleevec. Other cancers can be cured by surgical resection if caught early enough. I’ve seen quite a few cases though where an alternative therapy was sought after and the time for surgical resection to be successful passed and the patient goes on to die from the tumor. Bob Marley died from a melanoma of the toe while he might have lived if his religion had allowed him to have a toe amputation. Some testicular tumors are extremely sensitive to radiation therapy. Lance Armstrong would not be alive today had he not received conventional therapy which killed the testicular malignancy that had spread to his lungs and brain.

    These are all amazing medical breakthoughs brought about by the industry you express no faith in. These are real therapies with real efficacy and not just anecdotal stories with no data to back them up. Science is big enough to accept any point of view that has data to back it up. If Apricot seeds can cure cancer, run a trial and show me the results. Until then, you are just another critic without any solid data to back you up. I, on the other hand have volumes of data to back up modern medicine’s miracles.

    I concede that there are many treatments that only prolong life for a marginal length of time and have no hope for cure at all. Apricot seeds have not been shown to do any better though.

  70. Yin
    December 7, 2007 at 9:20 am #

    Curtis,

    Surely, you must also concede that often, the only thing driving what treatment is used is the pocketbook of the companies behind that treatment, and the persuasion and free gifts of the reps that come to the hospitals.

    I agree with you, that modern medicine can be very effective. But, I also agree with Jay, that money ultimately drives the business, sometimes at the expense of health.

    It’s a terrible thing when money is more important than lives.

  71. Allie
    December 7, 2007 at 9:36 am #

    I have a question- it seems to me that really the only difference between the law of consecration/united order and socialism (at least as far as we’re talking “socialized medicine” is agency.

    What if the country elects a government that openly says he or she will put in place a national health service? People are choosing it, so it’s not really socialism….

    Am I missing something here?

    From your experiences Jay, I’d think that you’d be more interested in some kind of a national health service where money wasn’t the driving force, but instead health was.

  72. Jay
    December 7, 2007 at 9:36 am #

    I highly doubt your wife had cancer to begin with.

    I swear, I’ve been interested and participated in alternative treatment for over eight years now, and I hear this over and over. You guys must be programmed to say things like this–if it was cured by an alternative method, it must not have been cancer. I guess if that makes you feel more secure about conventional treatment, go for it.

    If Apricot seeds can cure cancer, run a trial and show me the results. Until then, you are just another critic without any solid data to back you up.

    It’s been done. Have you read anything on Ralph Moss? The problem is that we don’t have a level playing field. There are two teams on the field—the conventional and the alternative. And the conventional makes the rules as they go along. The FDA has made it virtually impossible for the alternative side. Why do I need papers and research? I rely on what I see with my own eyes when I see people who were given up for dead who are now living normal lives through alternative treatment. And besides, the conventional side has been caught with their pants down by falsifying data. That has been proven.
    There are many good websites regarding Ralph Moss. Here’s one worth looking at.

    Personally, I don’t trust the medical community as their track record of honesty. I’m not talking about doctors, per se. I think that most doctors have honest intent. It’s the big money behind the scenes that is responsible. Mostly, that would be the pharmaceutical companies.

    My family has a history of mental illness. It comes from my wife’s side. Several of our children were afflicted. For the first few, we relied on conventional treatment and had such horrible results that we still pay today for the mistakes. We drugged our kids according to the advice of the different doctors. It has destroyed lives and relationships beyond imagination. Then we got wise and chose alternative treatment. We are seeing miracles. One example. Lithium has been found to be one of the best forms of treatment for certain types of mental illnesses. That would be the case in our family. There are two routes that you can go. You can go to a doctor and get a prescription for lithium carbonate, and then get of a regime of very strict dosages, often adjusting the dosages, blood tests, and doctor visits. The cost is hundreds of dollars a month and the side effects of lithium carbonate are significant. Weight gain is one of them and it’s not unusual for a person on lithium carbonate to increase their body weight by 20-40 percent. The other route is lithium orotate. Lithium orotate is available over the counter without a prescription, costs almost nothing, doesn’t require blood monitoring, doesn’t have any ill side effects, and produces equally good results as lithium carbonate. So what’s the difference? Money! There’s no money to be made in lithium orotate so doctors won’t recognize it, even though it is better than the lithium carbonate.

    We could go on and on about the virtues of each industry, but that’s not even my problem. My problem is that the government makes it a crime to sell harmless things like apricot seeds, chaparral, pau d’arco and Seasilver. You try to sell those things and you can be sure your office will get raided and your products seized and the IRS will put you through hell. Why? If I thought that injecting grape kool-aid into my veins would cure prostate cancer, I ought to have the right to do it. It’s no business of the government and it’s certainly not right for them to make criminals out of people who are helping others by providing alternatives to having your body sliced up, appendages amputated, or having toxic fluids injected into you. Those who choose to go the conventional route have my blessing, but those who choose other methods, regardless of what anyone else thinks, should have the right to choose.

  73. Connor
    December 7, 2007 at 10:02 am #

    What if the country elects a government that openly says he or she will put in place a national health service? People are choosing it, so it’s not really socialism….

    Democratically introduced socialism (and that’s usually the way it is introduced into a society, otherwise it’s communism) is still nowhere near consecration. Consecration requires the agency of each individual, whereas socialism requires the agency (or forfeiture thereof) of the majority.

    If 60% vote for socialism, the other 40% are forced into compliance, which is in opposition to consecration principles. Even if 100% voted for socialism, the administration of people’s assets would be done in a socialist manner, in an attempt to create some “greater good”. Consecration is individual (not communitarian) in nature; the individual consecrates, and individuals are blessed. No money is lopped off the top for salaries and administration of assets.

  74. Jay
    December 7, 2007 at 10:44 am #

    Here’s an article/interview with Dr. Ralph Moss regarding laetrile (apricot seeds).

    http://www.whale.to/c/moss.html

  75. L. Brown
    December 7, 2007 at 3:08 pm #

    I’m a bit worried about this subject. I just finished watching Sicko by Michael Moore. And although I understand that socialized medicine is not the ideal way of the Consitution, I don’t see an alternative. Health Insurance is so expensive. And even if you do have it many people still cannot afford to pay their bills, and they end up losing their homes and everything else they own. In Sicko Michael took a group of Americans who had health insurance but lost their insurance due to certain “illnesses” the insurance companies “found” out they had, and would not pay for their bills. As well as volunteers from 9-11, who were sick but becuase they were not on the government “payroll” no one would take care of them. With that group he took them to Cuba and they all got care from the Cuban doctors. Which I don’t understand. I’m only trying to figure out, where is the median? Because when I watch people on Sicko get health care for FREE in France, England, I get sick. In some parts of Europe women can get 6 months paid when they’re pregnant and then an additional 6 month unpaid. My wife can’t even get 4 weeks because she hasn’t worked there a year! I don’t get it. Do you know where maybe I can find some areas to find a solution? Socialized medicine looks very tempting to me. I’m sorry to say that here. But my alternatives look bleak. I’ve heard of people even crossing into Canada just to get health care. What kind of solutions are there?

  76. Jay
    December 7, 2007 at 3:15 pm #

    It is also noteworthy that Ron Paul supports H.R. 2792—the Access to Medical Treatment Act, which is summarized as follows:
    Access to Medical Treatment Act – Gives an individual the right to be treated by a health care practitioner with any medical treatment that the individual desires, including a treatment that is not approved, certified, or licensed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, if: (1) the practitioner has personally examined the individual and agrees to treat the individual; and (2) the administration of such treatment does not violate licensing laws.
    Authorizes health care practitioners to provide any method of treatment to such an individual if certain requirements are met, including that: (1) there is no reason to conclude that such treatment will cause danger to the individual; and (2) the patient is informed in writing that such treatment has not been approved, certified, or licensed by the Secretary.
    Requires a practitioner to report: (1) administering such treatment and discovering it to be a danger to an individual; and (2) the positive effects of an unconventional medical treatment for a life-threatening medical condition.
    States that nothing in this Act shall in any way adversely affect the distribution or sale of dietary supplements.

  77. L. Brown
    December 7, 2007 at 3:21 pm #

    This is for Jay:
    Braddah, I understand what you mean. Not that I’ve had such things happen to me, but when it comes to the FDA, we cannot trust them. I don’t even trust my own doctor. If anything people must do their own research (thank goodness for the internet) to get results. I believe in alternative treatment. We should be practicing preventative treatments as well, but because the big business would lose money there isn’t much information about it on CBS or CNN or other government controlled media. I pray for you Jay. You’re one of the chosen few to make a difficult trial into something beautiful. So many give up. I wish you the best and I will do better in being of help to people around me who go through the same thing. God bless you Jay. Long live the Republic, may God have mercy on us.

  78. L. Brown
    December 7, 2007 at 3:24 pm #

    For Allie:
    You CAN opt out of “paying taxes”. Americans have always had the choice. Anyone got questions about it, I know the experts who can help. ( Sorry, Connor, saw Allie’s lil blog and I couldn’t help to say something.)

  79. Trent
    December 7, 2007 at 3:43 pm #

    Jay, the problem is the way you attack conventional medicine. My sister had retinoblastoma as a child and it was removed by traditional medicine completely. My aunt had breast cancer, my dad had skin cancer, and my father in law skin cancer. All of their cancer was removed by conventional means (removal, chemo etc). One aunt, on the side of the family that espouses natural cures and homeopathy was diagnosed with breast cancer (from Idaho, what is up with homeopathy and Idaho by the way?). The doctor urged her to get treatment immediately. Instead, she went the homeopathic route without any more traditional medicine. My dad begged her to follow her doctor’s advice to the point he got frustrated and gave up. Nine months later she was at home and her rib just cracked completely. The cancer had completely taken over her body and she died one week later. The problem is these treatments are playing with peoples lives on usually false claims. You can point out here or there where there are bad doctors or chemo doesn’t work, but they work much more often than “natural cures”. Jay, you need to tone down your rhetoric a lot, and not blame everything on some huge government conspiracy. Are you in the pocket of Kevin Trudeau?

  80. L. Brown
    December 7, 2007 at 3:44 pm #

    For Curits:
    Just cuz your a physician doesn’t mean you know didily skwat! Man, it really ticks me off when people with all this “knowledge” think that they already know “everything” because “modern” medicine hasn’t revealed it. I’m sorry man I can’t let you write things like that, especially to Jay. Is this emotional? No, that’s life braddah and you ticked off the wrong person. I’ve been through enough stuff in life to know if anything we can learn something new about everything, espeically if it’s something we’ve never heard about. Especially if your a “physician”. Don’t forget the words of Ammon: “Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and PRAYTH continually without ceasing-unto such it is given to KNOW the MYSTERIES of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance(/perfect health), even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance(/prefect health).” Alma 26:22 If God knows everything he will reveal to each person what he/she needs to know for the benefit of himself and mankind. The government doesn’t know everything, the FDA doesn’t know everything, the University you went to school at doesn’t know everything. Repent from putting your trust in the arm of the flesh and open up your mind. If we pray, have faith, do our due diligence (that means doing our own research and doing OUR part) then God will reveal to us the answer. Not data from the books. Good sources of information but they’re not the fullness of the knowledge of God.

    Many mahalos and have a great day!

  81. L. Brown
    December 7, 2007 at 3:47 pm #

    For Trent:
    Lay off Jay. He’s not blaming anyone. He is opening the eyes of people who are looking for the truth. People think we complain….you know what it’s a statement. It’s a cry of help. So if you’re not helping to find a solution then stand to the side and let someone else take care it.

    Thanks aloha oe

  82. Trent
    December 7, 2007 at 3:56 pm #

    Just cuz your a physician doesn’t mean you know didily skwat!

    Oh man…..see, this is where I can understand that doctors get frustrated. No one that doesn’t know programming thinks they are a php expert, but EVERYONE thinks they are a medical expert. In no other scientific expertise do you have people routinely question proven experiments. I don’t have anyone come up to me and tell me that a for loop in php won’t let me iterate through an array. However, doctors get people telling them a certain treatment won’t work for something even though it has happened a million times successfully. I am not saying people shouldn’t question their doctors, in fact I would say do your best to find the best doctor you can up front. If you are confident that he is honest and works hard, for the most part let him do his thing. He might not know everything, but he knows so much more than you it might as well be everything. The Internet has done a lot of bad for health in that people with a little bad information are much more dangerous than those with total ignorance.

    In any case, I am going off subject. Sorry Connor. As for healthcare, I agree, we have major problems but socializing it is not the answer. Government is tied way too much into it already and lines have been muddied with medicaid so much that we are in a big mess. I haven’t seen a good way to fix this other than to just blow the system up completely and start over.

  83. Trent
    December 7, 2007 at 3:59 pm #

    Lay off Jay. He’s not blaming anyone.

    Yes he did, several times. He blamed the FDA, government etc in all of his posts. Hey, I do agree with Jay in saying people should be able to do whatever the heck they want for treatment, the doctors performing such treatments shouldn’t be certified though. Like he said, let them put grape juice in their veins, go ahead and kill yourself.

  84. L. Brown
    December 7, 2007 at 4:13 pm #

    For Trent:
    The FDA doesn’t tell the truth. The government doesn’t tell the truth. Of all the people we are suppose to look for the truth from, should we not be able to trust them? Let people blame the people who lie becuase they make our lives a living hell. If people see that it’s not working for them, of course you tell everyone they know. I again, say, it’s not a complaint. Its a bloody statement. The problem first is who regulates information (the FDA, the shadow government, etc.), then it’s the doctors who think they know everything because the FDA, the government, or whatever hasn’t told them yet. Just because Jay is “blaming” whoever doesn’t mean that he wasn’t wronged.
    As for being a “medical” expert. My body is mine. I am the expert of my own body. No one else is. I know what it needs and how to get it. I don’t really understand your blog anyways, it doesn’t make any sense at the beginning. When you fix it maybe I can respond better.

  85. Jay
    December 7, 2007 at 4:57 pm #

    It’s cool, I don’t mind if any number of people want to join the dog pile. I’m up for it.

    There is no doubt going to be horror stories regarding people who go the alternative route. There are a number of reasons for that. The treatment has to match the illness. Laetrile works good for some types of cancer and not for others. Even chemotherapy is good for some types of cancer, but has no effect on about 98% of them. It’s mostly a scam. You need to get advice from someone who knows what they are doing. You can’t just start juicing or popping apricot seeds and expect positive results. You can’t just find a website that looks good with pretty pictures and testimonials, order their supplements and expect miracles. You need to do your homework. It’s unfortunate, but the alternative medicine world is riddled with charlatans, and I would dare say that the majority of supplements and treatments are phony. Not all supplements are created equal. Alternative medicine is often superior to conventional medicine, but you have to be careful and know what you’re doing.

    If I had cancer, I would very seriously consider all of the alternatives and make sure that whatever route I went, I had good, reliable sources. I would talk to survivors and find out what they did, who they worked with, etc. There is a wealth of information out there and many survivors who are happy to share their success stories and help others. For a modest price, you can get information from people like Dr. Ralph Moss who will tell you the best known treatments for whatever type of cancer you have. If the best known treatment is conventional, he will tell you. For the vast majority of cancers, the best known treatments with the best success rates are alternative. He doesn’t skew his data like the mainstream does. He tells it like it is.

  86. Jay
    December 7, 2007 at 5:04 pm #

    “Like he said, let them put grape juice in their veins, go ahead and kill yourself.”

    Amen!

  87. Jay
    December 7, 2007 at 5:25 pm #

    “As for being a “medical” expert. My body is mine. I am the expert of my own body. No one else is. I know what it needs and how to get it.”

    I couldn’t have said it better. That’s the attitude you should have when you go to any doctor or therapist.

    Jay

  88. Bill
    December 8, 2007 at 1:52 pm #

    Where to begin:

    Socialism vs. Individual responsibility.
    Morality, Economy, & the Constitution.
    Transportation as an argument for medicine.
    Health care vs. Medical treatment.
    Technology vs. Costs. — Yeah, I’ll start here.

    Ron Paul: Medicine is the only industry where technology has raised prices rather than reduced them. This is because of government intervention gone amok.

    Nuff said.

    Transportation

    I worked as an engineer in a local public works department on roads and public utilities. I also worked for a big engineering company on major intertstate transportation projects. There is a HUGE difference.

    When there is a federally funded job, contractors ALL bid really high because they know 1) There is more money available, and 2) Because they know the added levels of government beaurocracy will raise their costs accordingly.

    Local jobs do SO much planning to try to reduce construction and overhead costs that you’d think we were planning a war. A small city HAS TO remain within budget. They don’t have any more to pay their contractors if they go over.

    I’ve also designed private bridges and roads. When a homeowner or a developer hires me I know first off that he wants a stated standard as a minimum at the cheapest cost possible. I design accordingly. I guarantee that these economical designs will do the job just as well as government designs and will be about 1/5 the cost. Depending on the requirements, the designs I come up with sometimes don’t look pretty but often do. The real test, though, is that they satisfy all the engineering requirements for the project.

    The feds do have a Constitutional right to build roads at the people’s expense. They are supposed to be built for mail and military. It would be up to the elected officials to determine whether they would also allow other traffic to traverse this same network of roads or individual roads for that matter. But they would be fast and efficient. This is why transportation is not a valid analogy to justify socialised medicine. Roads are in the Constitution. Medicine is not.

    Health Care vs. Medical Treatment

    I once had a doctor friend tell me,”I think that health insurance and the medical industry in general would be better served if there were no health care insurance but just major medical.”

    I was amazed at a mother who thought she had to go to the doctor when her children had a cold. There is no cure for the common cold. What did she expect the doctor to do? I asked her. Her response: “Just in case it’s something worse.” She also took her children to the emergency room when they got a splinter from playing around wood.

    Commonly, she complained that she had so many co-pays and emergency room bills. (I wonder why she was broke.) People who don’t at least have a BASIC understanding of medicine (or at least first aid) really need to get a grip and realize what individual responsibility means.

    It is only when major things happen that you should require a doctor. They’ve got in depth knowledge. They’ve got the tools. They’ve got experience. If we simply used our own heads for the little stuff and called on experts where really necessary (in any industry) everyone would get on much better and more economically. Further, there wouldn’t be such a huge disparity of wealth.

    Socialism vs. Individual Responsibility

    I keep hearing people on the socialism side say how bad things are and say that there is no excuse. We need to have the government act now. Do you understand that the government dependency is what is CAUSING the problem?

    The next question I hear is “Who will take care of the ones who can’t afford it?” The answer is PEOPLE.

    Before government intervention into medicine, doctors’ fees were low. Medicines were cheap. Treatments were inexpensive. Charities, church groups, neigborhoods, and families could easily afford medical treatments. Many of the “treatments” of today’s medical establishment don’t cure anything. Or if they do, it is a low percentage (look at cancer treatments). The only reason why these things exist is because government paid for it. The free market would never put up with existing treatments for cancer. The market would insist on cheaper and more effective treatments.

    Morality, Economy, & the Constitution.

    Thomas Sowell stated in his book Basic Economics “It has become fashionable to state it is our moral obligation to take care of each other and provide health care for all. Although this may strike a chord with our hearts, it does not address the fact that the goods and services of medicine still require the economic forces to work. It still costs money to gather raw materials, manufacture items, transport products, and compensate workers at all levels for their work.” Forgive me if this isn’t a precise quote.

    We have to recognize that “free” health care is never “free”. We can compare our system to many other socialized medicine systems and say we’re lacking. But they don’t really work either. European systems seem very effective. But what do they do the country? All other countries don’t have the freedoms, the military, the technology, the conveniences of everyday life, nor the percentage of financially independent citizens.

    Great Britain had to harbor all its navy for a time because they ran out of money to run them. They passed it off by saying there was so much peace in the world that we didn’t need to patrol the seas. Do you really believe that?

    Most urban areas of Europe don’t drink fresh milk (or at least as fresh as ours). They have sterilized milk that is shipped in sealed containers which keeps almost indefinitely. It has the flavor and smell of dehydrated milk.

    No country has nearly as many cars per capita as ours. I haven’t checked the latest statistics. Ten years ago it was one car for every three Americans (this included children).

    So, don’t start comparing our system with others’ unless you are willing to take a look at the whole picture.

    People talk about the morality of having to take care of others. But they say nothing about the morality of stealing my property to provide that care. I will help all I can that I know and see in need to the best of my ability.

    But when the government decides to take my money to care for people who may or may not need it, people whom I don’t even know, I not only feel violated myself, but it hampers my ability to use those funds that I would have used to help those I see around me.

    By government turning it into a cumpulsory program for people I never see, they take the human element out of it. I am not edified by the process. I don’t know of a single person that looks at their paycheck stubs or tax returns and says,”I’m so glad that my money is going to help those in need.” But when I pay my fast offering voluntarily, I do feel that way somewhat. I feel even better when I am able to go myself and do some grocery shopping for a lady I know who cannot leave her house unassisted.

    The more the argument is about morality, the less government should be involved. The more the argument is about protecting one person’s life, liberty, & property from invasion by another person, the more government should be involved. Note that this is invasion by ANOTHER PERSON, not germs, not accidents, not acts of God.

  89. Jay
    December 8, 2007 at 3:29 pm #

    Bill,

    Good post. I only have one minor disagreement, and it’s really a separate subject, but since you brought it up here, I’m just going to make a brief comment:

    “The feds do have a Constitutional right to build roads at the people’s expense. They are supposed to be built for mail and military.”

    I may be wrong, but according to my understanding of the Constitution, the feds don’t have the right to build roads for mail. The Constitution only says that the feds have the right to establish post offices and post roads. “Establish” is not necessarily the same as “construct” although it could be. Post offices used to be contract post offices, such as a general store where the owner was paid per piece of mail handled. It was many years after the birth of our nation before the postal service was formed and the handling of mail became a project of the government. Likewise, I believe that the only constitutional authority the feds have is to establish the post routes, i.e., designate–not construct.

    I would be interested if anyone has better information on this, i.e., what was the original intent?

    Jay

  90. Carissa
    December 8, 2007 at 10:29 pm #

    “For many years it was held that the federal government could not construct post offices but could merely designate buildings to be used as such. In 1876 the Supreme Court held that the government had authority under the Constitution to purchase land and construct post offices upon it. Nevertheless, the government continues to “designate” rather than construct postal roads as such.” Making of America pg 429

  91. Bill
    December 8, 2007 at 11:25 pm #

    Jay and Carissa,

    Those were very good points. For now I’ll go ahead and accept your interpretations and that of the 1876 ruling. I’ll tie it back into the subject at hand with this. We could give the government some power to do these things that may be necessary. We just need to pass an amendment.
    Politicians know that many of the things they want to do are unconstitutional. It is after all archaic (as many in congress responded to Dr. Paul’s demand that we actually vote to declare war).
    I don’t think it would be difficult to pass an amendment granting the government the right to build some types of roads. But passing an amendment for socialized medicine would never pass. That is why they have to just pass a law in the face of the Constitution without the people’s approval.

  92. Sean
    December 13, 2007 at 2:03 pm #

    Allie,

    You say that “Few other services directly affect a persons life as much as health care. ” I agree with this statement.

    How about food? What is more basic to sustaining physical life than food? Almost nothing. So why do we not have a massive government food program?

    This discussion about health care is a long one. You seem to think that our current system is based purely on capitalism and liberty, and thus lay the blame for current problems there. What Connor and others are claiming here, and I agree with, is that too much government involvement has created the problems in health care we have today. This is not generally what you will hear from politicans and media today. However, if you are interested in learning more about why we believe this to be the case, I’m sure Connor can provide you good sources.

  93. Jay
    December 13, 2007 at 2:32 pm #

    So would that included not only farms, but government operated grocery stores, as well? Why stop there? Why not also include federal government owned and operated water treatment plants? I think we should also turn the failed auto industry over to the feds as well. And since they would like to take care of us, perhaps they should convert my local LA Fitness into an Uncle Sam’s Spa & Fitness Center. It would save me $30 a month. The possibilities are endless.

    I think I’m liking this.

    Sieg heil,

    Jay

  94. Allie
    December 13, 2007 at 4:07 pm #

    I certainly don’t know everything that is wrong with our current system. I think if someone knew, it would be simpler to fix.

    People who can’t afford food can get WIC, or go to a food bank. Where can someone who can’t afford health insurance go if they have a medical problem? The emergency room…which costs us all much more than it would if we made sure everyone had access to affordable medical care.

    I wish all of you good health.

    I think this is a case of agreeing to disagree.

  95. Sean
    December 14, 2007 at 5:57 pm #

    Agreed, Allie – WIC and food stamps help those in dire need. They are small programs that aren’t breaking the bank. Food banks are usually local, community volunteer-driven solutions that help many. But there isn’t a large nationalized food program.

    Government subsidies and programs usually make something less efficient and less innovative. Consider schools as a model.

    Reducing government involvement or at least federal involvement in health care/insurance would unload some of the deadweight that holds down efficiency and increases costs so quickly. The main problem with health care is that its costs have increased so quickly, making it less affordable. Costs are the main problem. Health care costs have only been rising in alarming amounts since the mid-20th century. During the 1940s-1970s, the following happened in health care: the federal government provided tax breaks to companies offering health insurance; Medicare was created; Medicaid was created; and the HMO bill was passed in Congress.

    I have worked in the health insurance and consulting fields for nearly 10 years. I want more people to have health care just like you do. I think most reasonable people share this desire. But I think the way to accomplish that is to decrease government involvement, not increase it.

  96. Curtis
    December 23, 2007 at 12:52 am #

    A question for the libertarians/constitutionalists/anti-socialism people out there. When King Limhi, in Mosiah 21 commanded every man to impart to the support of the many widows and orphans in the land, was he doing Satan’s work of forcing people to do good like a socialist or was he doing the work of the Lord in helping the poor and the weak? What say ye?

    Reference:

    17 Now there was a great number of women, more than there was of men; therefore king Limhi commanded that every man should impart to the support of the widows and their children, that they might not perish with hunger; and this they did because of the greatness of their number that had been slain.

  97. Jay
    December 23, 2007 at 5:38 pm #

    God also commands us to impart of our means to the poor and the needy, the widows and the fatherless. There’s nothing wrong with that. How do you know that Limhi used force? And if so, what kind of force did he use? Taxation? What? I don’t know if the scriptures say, but I don’t believe that he did. Commandments are one thing. Denying someone of their agency is another. Socialism denies people of their agency.

    I’d say that if it was done by force, then he was doing Satan’s work. But I tend to think that it wasn’t done by force.

    Jay

  98. Curtis
    December 23, 2007 at 8:02 pm #

    Hmmm. A king issuing a command is a pretty serious thing I’d think. When a king issues a command it is usually enforceable and not something to toy around with. It is different from a prophet issuing a commandment from the Lord I’d guess.

  99. Connor
    December 23, 2007 at 8:08 pm #

    When King Limhi, in Mosiah 21 commanded every man to impart to the support of the many widows and orphans in the land, was he doing Satan’s work of forcing people to do good like a socialist or was he doing the work of the Lord in helping the poor and the weak? What say ye?

    There are various unknown factors regarding this scripture. We know that Limhi was a just man, but he was not converted to the gospel until later, when Ammon & co. arrive to preach the gospel. Thus, the commandment wasn’t necessarily a righteous one.

    Regardless of divine approval, we also don’t know whether force was used in this commandment. Was the commandment simply a government-issued encouragement, much like a modern campaign to promote recycling? Was there punishment for failing to comply?

    Also, I find it interesting that the people were commanded to help each other. Nowhere do we read of Limhi’s kingly administration overseeing the wealth distribution. Removing government from central distribution is a large factor in determining whether or not this qualifies as socialism.

  100. Jay
    December 23, 2007 at 9:07 pm #

    God is King. God commands. God doesn’t force us to comply. I find in that scripture no reason to think that Limhi used force.

    Jay

  101. Curtis
    December 23, 2007 at 9:26 pm #

    I concede that we don’t know if force was used to enforce this command. Connor brings up a good point that Government wasn’t the middle-man as far as we know in this case. Then again, there is the possibility that it was a government mandated tax with the government as a middle man. We just don’t have enough information on the situation. So I guess that brings the question to a fizzled out ending.

    You are also correct in pointing out that Limhi was a just man, but I think it is a mistake to think that he wasn’t converted to the Gospel yet. A few verses earlier we read that the people cried to God for relief from their burdens. He hadn’t been baptized yet, but as you know, conversion and baptism don’t mean the same thing.

    As far as Jay’s arguement goes, I have no answer for such amazing logic. I suppose that Jay means that since God is a king, all kings issue commands without forcing the people to obey them. Forgive me if I’m interpreting you wrongly, but you don’t seem to be inclined to engage me with intellect, but with a zeal to believe that socialism isn’t condoned in the Book of Mormon which doesn’t allow you to consider the possibililties beyond spitting out the apparent knee-jerk responses we see here.

  102. Jay
    December 24, 2007 at 8:05 am #

    “I suppose that Jay means that since God is a king, all kings issue commands without forcing the people to obey them.”

    Not at all. I was pointing out as a rebuttal to your previous comment that a commandment doesn’t necessarily imply force. That’s all. That hardly means that kings don’t use force, and I believe that you knew that, but were just being a bit sarcastic.

    “Forgive me if I’m interpreting you wrongly, but you don’t seem to be inclined to engage me with intellect, but with a zeal to believe that socialism isn’t condoned in the Book of Mormon”

    I think it would be more correct to say that I don’t believe that the Book of Mormon makes a case for righteous socialism. That would be a correct assessment of my opinion. I’m willing to consider it if you have a good example.

    “which doesn’t allow you to consider the possibililties beyond spitting out the apparent knee-jerk responses we see here.”

    A knee-jerk response is one that is automatic, not well thought out, and emotional. Admittedly, I am emotional about socialism, but as I correctly pointed out, your implication that Limhi used force was apparently flawed. If anything, your reaction to verse 17 was knee-jerk, not my rebuttal to your post. I was diffusing a discussion that had no basis to begin with. If that’s knee-jerk, then I guess I’m guilty.

    Jay

  103. L. Brown
    December 25, 2007 at 4:17 am #

    “A question for the libertarians/constitutionalist/anti-socialism people out there.” (I apologize, this will get off the subject)

    If socialism is so great why did the Founding Fathers make the United States of America a bloody Republic? If our Founding Fathers are “supposedly” the greatest group of men to come to earth at one time and be in one country at one time, why would they pick a Republic? Why would the Lord say in Doctrine and Covenants 101:77 & 79 “According to the laws and CONSTITUTION of the people, which I have SUFFERED to be established, and should be maintained for the RIGHT and PROTECTION OF ALL FLESH, according to just and holy principles; And for this purpose have I ESTABLISHED THE CONSTITUTION of this land, by the hands of WISE MEN whom I RAISED UP unto this very PURPOSE, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.”

    The Lord answers it for us why this form (a Constitutional Republic) of government works. BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT HE ALLOWED TO HAVE HAPPEN. Not socialism, not democracy, not a monarchy.

    It’s simple really, all we need are the principles that have upheld righteousness. With those principles man cannot stray. But when we try to interpet those principles, we break ourselves against them. It’s not rocket sience. Freedom is not a study, it’s a way of life, only meant to be lived, only to be experienced by practise in daily life. Just like the gospel. It’s not rocket science. It’s simple, to fully understand it, it must be lived, not just studied.

    As Elder Oaks said in a recent conference talk, there are good things, then things that are better, and finally there are the BEST things. Yeah, maybe a socialist kind of government might be good. But maybe a democracy could be better. But the BEST is a Republic.

    When thoughts speak to your heart and mind, it doesn’t really matter what the rest of the world says. Because, like principles, no one can break them. They can only break themselves against them. Truth will either free us, or truth will condem us. We should be careful where we find ourselves when it comes to searching for answers. You might have a picture, but I can assure you that you do not have the full picture. Because if you did, you would not be saying the things you say now. And you would not be doing the things you are doing right now. Truth is more than knowledge. It is power to do the right thing. I challenge you to find more of the REAL truth. All you gotta do is ask.

  104. Curtis
    December 25, 2007 at 11:02 am #

    L. Brown,
    Thanks. I appreciate your opinion. I think you are a bit confused though. You seem to say that socialism and democracy are mutually exclusive. If a people democratically vote for socialistic policies are they no longer a democracy?

  105. Jay
    December 25, 2007 at 7:32 pm #

    Personally, I find it hard to imagine that people would democratically vote for socialism, but I suppose it’s possible. I’m not even sure if there are any true democracies in the world. And if there were, it seems like it would be so chaotic that it wouldn’t last very long. Do you know of any?

    Jay

  106. Curtis
    December 25, 2007 at 9:44 pm #

    Venezuela is about as close as I can imagine to being a democracy. Of course they have elected representatives too, but many of their major laws are voted up or down by the people, including the recent proposed changes in the constitution which were voted down by the people by a slim margin. I hear that their community and local governments are really run from the bottom up and the people have a lot of say in how things are done in their own neighborhoods. Of course nothing is perfect and where there is inequality in wealth, there is difficulty in democracy. The wealthy elite down there control most of the media against the voice of the poor in most instances.
    Venezuela is definitely an interesting study in experimental democracy and because of the vocal opposition to US imperial policy. I like to watch them closely.

  107. Jay
    December 26, 2007 at 9:14 am #

    Thanks for the education on Venezuela. I was not aware of their government, as I’m not particularly schooled in the politics and policies of other countries.

    Jay

  108. Mark N.
    December 26, 2007 at 5:17 pm #

    All other countries don’t have the freedoms, the military, the technology, the conveniences of everyday life, nor the percentage of financially independent citizens.

    You know, I think that part of the frustration for the average citizen is that, in light of the immense amounts of money being spent on maintaining our military forces in countless places around the world, in addition to waging major military campaigns in Irag and Afghanistan right now, people can’t help but imagine what all that money could purchase in the way of socialized medical care instead.

    Unfortunately, the amounts being spent in Afghanistan and Iraq right now are being put on the citizens’ credit card and are going to have to be paid for down the road.

    To put the government in charge of health care is to create a huge bureaucracy to regulate everything. The more people who are involved in the entire health care process, the more people there are who have to be paid for their participation in the process, and costs go up. If you think it’s bad now, just wait until the government really gets involved.

  109. Jay
    December 26, 2007 at 6:07 pm #

    The financial crisis that Massachusetts is now facing is largely due to Mitt Romney’s failed universal health care. It didn’t work in Massachusetts and it won’t work in the USA. Socialism is the blueprint of failure.

    Jay

  110. Curtis
    December 26, 2007 at 10:02 pm #

    Romney’s health care plan isn’t exactly socialsim though. It’s more like everyone has to enroll in health care with money out of their own pocket or else be in trouble with the law! Socialism would pay for the health care of those unable to afford it from tax dollars. Romney’s plan relies on forcing people to pay for their own health care whether or not they can afford it.
    For a look at more successful socialist health care systems, check Canada or England or France etc. Even Cuba has a decent health care system considering the poverty of their nation.

  111. L. Brown
    December 27, 2007 at 12:57 am #

    Brother Curtis (and to anyone else who reads this),

    I am not confused. I know what I said. And I say it again. A Republic is THE ONLY answer that has been given to man at this time of age. If anything else is brought to pass it it because of sin and complacency that such cannot be maintained.

    If a people democratically vote to make prostitution legal, does it make right? The “mob” will not always choose the right in a democracy. That is why a Republic will ALWAYS win. Becuase the standard having been set (the Constitution) and a person (the President of The United States of America) from the authority of the people has the DUTY to uphold the Constitution IN ALL FACETS OF THE LAW AND LIFE, not just what the “mob” or his personal desires are.

    The problem is, who is that person? Is she/he just? Righteous? A patriot? A statesmen/woman or a bloody politician? As for socialism what comes to mind is the Plan given by Lucifer in the premortal life, that ALL would be take care of…..just give him all the power and glory.

    I say again, these things aren’t bloody rocket science. The Lord established the government of this people in the United States. The reason it’s in the crap hole is because WE THE PEOPLE let it go this far.

    THIS IS NOT OPINION Brother. IT’S FACT. We The People are the ruler. Not the servant. We have ALWAYS had the power to make the wrong things right. We’ve just been too scared to use it. I dare you or anyone else to ask me how to return this responsibility back to it’s rightful owner. I am a patriot. I love this country. She was always meant to be the light for all to see. Not to be hated or seen as a bully. America is THE Beautiful. Let us show others it has always been that.

  112. L. Brown
    December 27, 2007 at 12:59 am #

    Long live the REPUBLIC!

  113. Curtis
    December 27, 2007 at 8:25 am #

    I dare you or anyone else to ask me how to return this responsibility back to it’s rightful owner.

    How do you do that?

  114. L. Brown
    January 9, 2008 at 3:28 pm #

    Bro. Curtis,

    I apoligize for not writing sooner. I am willing to tell you how I’ve come across some experts who have become good friends and helped me to understand the true meaning of freedom in America. If you are open to learning, my email address is lbrown0715@hotmail.com. I do not mean to be hardpressed, but I am passionate about this country. I hope you will be able to email me.

    Mahalo and Long Live the Republic!

  115. Kelly W.
    January 9, 2008 at 10:47 pm #

    Here is a very short article about where the health care system of the USA stands in relation to other countries:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19036.htm

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