Stuff-Mitt-Romney-REALLY-wishes-he-hadn’t-said Dep’t

Someone has to pay for the health care that must, by law, be provided: Either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay. A free ride on the taxpayers is not libertarian.

This was, of course, a sane thing to say. That makes it a disqualification for the Republican Presidential nomination, no matter how crazy the Mittster is willing to act now.

With private insurance finally affordable, I proposed that everyone must either purchase a product of their choice or demonstrate that they can pay for their own health care. It’s a personal responsibility principle. Some of my libertarian friends balk at what looks like an individual mandate. But remember, someone has to pay for the health care that must, by law, be provided: Either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay. A free ride on the taxpayers is not libertarian.

The problem, of course, is that “a free ride on the taxpayers” is exactly what tea-partyism is about. They want a balanced budget that doesn’t cut their programs or raise their taxes. Personal responsibility is for other people.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

12 thoughts on “Stuff-Mitt-Romney-REALLY-wishes-he-hadn’t-said Dep’t”

  1. Yeah, and when Democrats were given a choice between a candidate who favored a mandate and one who didn't, we know which one Mark favored.

  2. I don't think this "free ride" argument is one that can, legitimately, be made by anybody who's supporting progressive taxation, and isn't wealthy. If you want the government's cost to be paid disproportionately by people who are not similarly situated as you, you're asking for a free ride. Ok, you threw a few cents on the dash, so it's just mostly free… The fact that a lot of the spending you want is nominally charity, and not direct benefits to yourself, does not change this. It's still a case of wanting somebody else to foot most of the cost of your own spending preferences.

  3. "If you want the government’s cost to be paid disproportionately by people who are not similarly situated as you, you’re asking for a free ride."

    I am so glad that Bellmore finally came clean and said that the funding of Medicare and Social Security through taxation is an unjust theft of his money. I agree! All old people who are not rich should explicitly rely on charity to fund their health care… even their very existence. If they couldn't bother to save… they should die in a ditch, penniless, as an example to the others.

  4. The trolls on this site seem to have great difficulty in distinguishing the words that were actually written from fantasies of their own creation. I believe Mark's point, as before with the comment about Eric Cantor, related to the hypocrisy of the Tea Party. Mark was not arguing his own point of view on the topic – in my reading, usually nuanced – but rather observing the extent to which the right wing loons are so deeply lacking in any kind of intellectual or moral coherence.

    BB's claim here seems to amount to "if you think [X], you're not allowed to notice that [right wing hero] said [Y] and then (when that turned out to be politically inconvenient) [not-Y]". I don't see how that follows. Thomas's comment on the Cantor post earlier had essentially the same form. Both incoherent comments are, of course, entirely consistent with the general right wing MO, which *is* Mark's point in the first place.

  5. The objection here, for what it's worth, isn't only to progressive taxation. A flat percentage income tax also puts a greater absolute burden on higher-income people. Why isn't the argument for a capitation tax?

  6. It seems that Brett cannot imagine a series of events in which he or those about whom he cares would be reduced to reliance on the government for subsistence.

    I've observed that many people with money stubbornly cling to a belief that those without money must somehow deserve their misfortune.

    One would think that every tornado, bank failure, hurricane, major illness, etc. would be enough to demonstrate the truth that "there but for the grace of God go I", but it's an insight that persistently escapes conservatives.

  7. @ joel hanes: It's traceable to two things, I think:

    (1) Calvinist predestinationism (your earthly welfare as a fair indicator of God's approval and your spiritual status) and its early influence on our national psychology, and

    (2) in an officially or nominally classless society, money becomes the de facto class distinguisher; ergo, one's financial worth is the measure of one's full worth (moral worth, social worth, etc.)

    And so the contempt for the less well off. They deserve their lot.

  8. and a coda to the above: It also explains why we're so willing to subsidize the elderly through SS and Medicare, while hating other safety net programs. To wit:

    If you made it that far (to age 65+), you are worthy, you have clearly earned God's favor in managing to live so long (under principle #1); plus, you are a survivor (literally), and therefore tough and worthy (under principle #2).

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