Henry Lamb
The problem with Obama is...
By Henry Lamb
August 2, 2009

It is accurate, but not enough, to say that Obama is transforming the United States of America into a socialist nation. The term "socialist" no longer carries the fear-and-trembling reaction it evoked during the cold war years. Since the "boomer" generation, the term has lost its meaning and when the eloquent Obama pitches his socialist snake-oil, the alleged cure sounds reasonable.

It sounds reasonable, for example, to take the profit out of the college loan program. The government subsidizes and guarantees student loans already. Why not just make government loans directly to the students, cut out the middle-man and the profits they make and save all that money now going to the greedy shareholders.

Think about it. In order to get the money needed to lend, private lenders ask ordinary citizens to invest in their company with a promise to the investor to pay a profitable return on his investment. On the other hand, government gets its money to lend by taking money from everyone in the form of taxes. A student may inquire among hundreds of lenders to find the best possible rate and repayment terms. If there is only one source for student loans, the lender may set the rate and the terms with no concern that a competing lender might provide a better deal.

Private lenders couldn't care less what subjects a student might pursue; timely repayment is the only concern. Not so when the government is the only lender. At any time, the government could decide that there are enough nuclear engineers in the world, and provide no loans to nuclear engineering applicants. The government could decide that there are not enough teachers, and choose to fund loans for teachers only. When the government controls the source of a commodity, the commodity users become little more than slaves.

Moreover, when government controls the source of a commodity, there is absolutely no incentive to make efficient use of the commodity, but there is a strong incentive for bureaucratic corruption. When bureaucrats, who have no skin in the game, can dispense goodies such as loans with no risk to their own well-being, fraud, waste, and abuse flourish. A private banker, whose paycheck literally depends upon making and collecting good loans, is sure to be much more vigilant in his decision-making.

Private lenders who make good loan decisions and earn a profit for their shareholders provide employment and incentive for more investment from their investors. Government lenders require tax dollars to pay employees, and to fund loans, and the inevitable fraud, waste, and abuse that accompanies every government program.

Obama's student loan takeover is only a drop in the bucket, compared to his takeover of the entire health care system. The principle is the same, however: take the profit out of health care and let government run the program.

Health care in the United States is currently the best in the world. It has become the best in the world precisely because it has been a private system. Entrepreneurs have attracted private investment to develop machines, procedures, and medicines unmatched by any socialist system run by any government.

If the truth could be fully known, it would reveal that the problems within the health care industry are mostly caused and exacerbated by government's increasing involvement.

The very thought of turning over the entire health care system to the government should cause fear and trembling in every person. Aside from saddling society with the incredible costs, the more frightening thought is the realization that government bureaucrats would be making the life or death decisions that affect every family.

Some people will recall the HMO rage of a few years back, where costs would be reduced by pooling services in what then was called "managed health care." No one will ever know how many people suffered or died because some corporate bureaucrat, sitting in a top-floor office somewhere, refused to allow a patient the critical service needed at the moment it was required.

Imagine, if you dare, a nation-wide HMO run by the government.

Recall, if you dare, what it takes to get a building permit that requires an environmental impact statement and approval by the EPA, the Corps of Engineers, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and on, and on.

Now imagine, if you dare, that you have a new, strange, pain on the left side of your head and you are 68 years old, and the MRI costs $2,000, and if it is a tumor, treatment could cost tens of thousands of dollars. Who will decide whether you get treatment or not? The decision will be made by a federal bureaucrat; not you, not your doctor, not your family.

This is how socialized, government-run health care works.

The problem with Obama is that he is a socialist, regardless of how much he denies it.

© Henry Lamb


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