Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 26, 2010 / 11 Nissan 5770

Inevitable Decline?

By Mona Charen




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Throughout the past year of debate on health care reform, the conservative fear and the liberal hope were identical — that passage of a huge new entitlement program would prove irreversible. "No one now dares touch Social Security or Medicare" crow the Democrats, and it will be the same with Obamacare. Once the hammock has been strung, they reason, a lazy and comfortable electorate will bestir itself only to defend its place at the trough (forgive a mixed metaphor). At election time, a "kept" electorate will obediently choose the party of entitlements.


Conservatives have imagined the same result, though with bitter apprehension rather than fond anticipation. Further haunting conservative imaginations have been two concomitant fears: 1) that a nation with nationalized health care will become resistant to all arguments for smaller government and 2) that health entitlements will so raid the Treasury that a global military posture will become unsustainable.


As has been noted in this space before, the fate of Catastrophic Health Insurance in the late 1980s proves that entitlements do not always achieve immortality. Sixteen months after passage, the bill was repealed. Furious senior citizens were outraged at the premiums, which ranged from $58 per year for those earning $25,000 or less, to $800 per year for those in the highest income brackets.


Cynics might say that the fate of the Catastrophic law only reinforces the case that people like giveaways. Ask them to chip in for a benefit like long-term care and they'll rock the car of Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, forcing him to run for cover literally and figuratively. Maybe. But another way to look at it is that many older people had already taken the step of purchasing private long-term care insurance and were now being hit twice. Nor were the costs of the program clearly spelled out at the time of passage, leaving the nasty surprise for later.


Obamacare's costs, too, have been misrepresented by the Democrats. Only by stripping the $208 billion "doc fix" from the legislation could they claim that the bill would not increase the deficit. But the doc fix will happen, and health spending, even taking the rest of the bill's ridiculously rosy assumptions as true, would exceed $1.1 trillion. By the Cato Institute's reckoning, the actual 10-year cost will exceed $3 trillion.


Some of these costs will be borne immediately. Couples who earn more than $250,000 will pay an additional Medicare tax and a 3.8 tax on investment income; patrons of tanning salons will pay a 10 percent sales tax; makers of medical devices like defibrillators and insulin pumps will pay a 2.3 percent new tax; and large employers like Caterpillar and John Deere will have to pay taxes on federal subsidies they receive to provide retiree benefits.


As the Wall Street Journal reported, medical device manufacturer Medtronic has announced that it may have to fire 1,000 employees, Caterpillar estimates that the new law will cost it up to $100 million, and Verizon has warned employees to expect unwelcome changes in health coverage.

Letter from JWR publisher


The health bill was passed (barely) despite popular opposition but cannot succeed without eventual public approval. The initial returns are not encouraging for the dependency crowd.


And then there is this cautionary note: Even in a country that embraced socialism with open arms, disillusion eventually set in. Post-war Great Britain chose by majority vote to socialize medicine, and Labour governments followed up by swallowing the "commanding heights" of the economy — transportation, mining, communications, and more. Yet by 1979, the nation was sufficiently beaten down that it turned to a full-throated capitalist for salvation.


When Margaret Thatcher took office in 1979, Britain was sclerotic and ailing. Sir William Armstrong, head of the civil service, saw his duty as the "orderly management of decline." Repeatedly victim to debilitating strikes by dockworkers, miners, and others, the British economy sank to such depths that the nation had to turn to the International Monetary Fund for relief.


With verve, conviction, and indomitability, Mrs. Thatcher set about privatizing government-owned industries, selling public housing to its tenants, cutting taxes (the highest marginal rate had been 98 percent), and reviving Britain's international role. It's not too much to say that she transformed Britain, dramatically improving living standards, productivity, and social mobility. She did for Great Britain what Rudy Giuliani did for New York City.


As the Iron Lady said, "Decline is not inevitable." Not with the right leadership.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


Comment on JWR contributor Mona Charen's column by clicking here.

Mona Charen Archives

© 2006, Creators Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles