The War at Home While brave men and women fight overseas for our American way of life, we have a war raging at home that many Americans are just waking up to. Some try to label this war Right versus Left, or Republican versus Democrat, but those are smoke screens for the real battle – Statism versus Individual Liberty. It’s time we get down to the crux of the disagreement – do you believe you know best how to run your life or do you believe that the government knows best how to run your life?
Let’s look at a couple of battles in this war.
Our current system has never operated under free market capitalism. Statism won this battle from the start. Since the first health insurance program was conceived by Blue Cross in the 1920’s, government has been involved in subsidizing and controlling how health insurance is offered. Since that time, there has been increasing government intrusion in the health care industry to the point that in 2010, the government has effectively taken over the industry. The “Individual Liberty” option never had a chance, even though we have seen Statism tried and failed in Europe. Universal health care is bankrupting Europe while providing inferior service.
So, what would the “Individual Liberty” option look like as applied to health care? 1. Competition amongst insurance companies, including the ability to buy health insurance over state lines (the original intent of the Commerce Clause), which would be an incentive to lower the cost of coverage. 2. Owning your own insurance versus employer-paid insurance. Which means you don’t lose insurance if you lose your job. 3. Choice on scope of coverage just like in your auto or home insurance, you don’t pay for the coverage of expenses your lifestyle doesn’t require. Repealing the laws that prevent these 3 changes would deal with most of the problems in today’s health care chaos.
Here again, we have tried the Statism approach of the Federal government making the decision for all of us that certain business were “too big to fail”. The bailouts didn’t achieve their stated goals and arguably made the problems worse. GM claims they paid off their loan but, in reality, they just borrowed more money from you and me to pay off what they already owed you and me. TARP (for which Congressman Wamp and other Republicans voted yes) transferred billions of dollars from taxpayers to a select few bank executives to do with what they willed with essentially no strings attached. Has credit been freed up? Have you been able to get a better mortgage or business loan?
Now let’s look at the “Individual Liberty” approach. GM made a series of poor decisions that led them into bankruptcy. GM would argue that the government is to blame as there were so many regulations to comply with. They are right, in part, there are too many regulations that make doing business in the US very difficult, and that should be changed. However, other car companies are surviving even this economy. The Liberty approach would have let GM fail; we wouldn’t be out the billions of dollars we gave them, other companies would have bought up GM’s assets and put them back to use and employed the laid off workers. Same story for the failed banks. The bailouts have actually prolonged the recession by preventing this natural recovery process.
These are just two of the many examples of Statism making problems worse instead of solving them, so why this battle against Individual Liberty? It’s simple. Statism empowers those in government, typically by appealing to the busybodies that want to “help” others with taxpayer money. They convince voters of their concern for the “environment” or for “the children” or for “the less privileged” and that they know what to do about it.
The battle between Statism and Individual Liberty rages on now more than ever because the Statists aren’t willing to give up the power that they have accumulated, and because the busybodies aren’t willing to give up the baseless notion that they can solve all our problems for us. Americans are finally waking up to this war at home. The economic collapse in Europe and repeated failures of socialistic countries give us stark examples of how Statism turns out. The question for voters this 2010 election will be this: do you recognize what’s really going on? Will you pick Liberty or Statism?
Van Irion, Candidate for Congress, Tennessee District 3