From President Obama to the editorial pages of The New York Times the message on the left is the same: low taxes (especially on the wealthy) and deregulation are making the rich richer and the poor poorer. Their solution: more big government.

Here’s the problem: nothing about this message is true. The George W. Bush tax cuts made after-tax incomes in the United States more equal, not less equal. Furthermore, all over the world low taxes, less regulation and limited government are associated with more income equality, not less. In addition, the greatest beneficiaries of economic freedom tend to be those at the bottom of the income ladder, not those at the top.

Because a lot of the work debunking left-wing myths about income inequality has been done by my colleagues at the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), I have had a special interest in these questions over the years. What I am about to summarize is the result of careful study and analysis by some of the nation’s top economists. These are studies that are routinely ignored by those who parrot the standard liberal line about how unfair capitalism is.

Money, it’s a crime. Share it fairly
but don’t take a slice of my pie.

Let’s start with the Bush tax cuts. Stephen F. Austin State University economist Michael Stroup has analyzed their impact based on statistics gathered by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). As reported in an NCPA study and herein updated with the latest IRS data, Stroup compares 2002 federal income tax data with 2008 data to find that:

  • The 2003 Bush tax cuts led to a more progressive tax system. While the top 1% of the income distribution paid 34% of all income taxes collected in 2002, this figure rose to over 38% in 2008, the last year before the recent recession. During this same period, those in the bottom half saw their share of the tax burden cut from 3.5% of all income taxes to 2.7%.
  • Pre-tax income in the United States has become more unequal during this period, yet the Bush tax cuts benefitted the lower half of U.S. taxpayers more than the rich: While the income share earned by this richest 1% increased by 5% more than their rise in tax share, the bottom half saw their tax share decline exceed their income share decline by 12.5%.

Incidentally, Stroup found that the tax system became more progressive throughout the 1990s as well — after the Bush (1990) tax increase, the Clinton (1993) tax increase and the Clinton (1990) decrease in the capital gains tax rate. But here is the message most voters never hear: Virtually every Republican tax cut — going all the way back to the early rate reductions under Ronald Reagan — left the tax system more progressive. One reason for that is that the Republican tax reform measures took millions of low-income families off the tax rolls. Even though high income taxpayers face lower rates than they once did, they are still shouldering a greater share of the overall tax burden.

As for the international evidence, the Frasier Institute of Canada has gathered an international team of economists to study and measure economic freedom in countries around the world and report annually. (Milton Friedman was an early participant in this project, as was yours truly.) Here are some recent findings:

  • There is almost no relationship between the degree of economic freedom and the share of national income going to the poorest 10% of the population. (It’s 2.4% in the one-fifth of least free countries and 2.6% in the one-fifth of most free countries.)
  • There is a huge difference in absolute income, however: Per capita income for the bottom 10% was only $1,061 in 2009 in the least free countries, but reached $8,735 in the most free.

By the way, economic freedom is also very important for the average person. In 2009, per capita income was $4,545 in the one fifth of least free countries and a whopping $31,501 in the one-fifth of most free countries. In other words, the difference between living in a country with low taxes, low regulation and limited government versus living in a big government country is a nine-fold increase in income!

A final study of interest was produced by Gerald Scully, one of the finest economists of my generation who passed away a few years ago. Like Stroup, Scully used a general measure of overall inequality. In a seminal NCPA study he found that other things being equal:

  • Freer economies enjoy higher rates of economic growth than less free ones.
  • Economic growth increases income inequality, but the effect is small.
  • Overall, the increase in inequality from economic growth is outweighed by the reduction in inequality caused by greater economic freedom — creating a net benefit to lower income groups.

Here is the bottom line: economies with the greatest degree of economic freedom not only produce higher incomes for the average family, they also produce a more equal distribution of income than would otherwise have been the case.

Comments (36)

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  1. Alex says:

    Excellent post!

    It is freedom that provides the tools and incentives to succeed. Take that away through regulation or other means and the likelyhood of individual success goes down, and everyone suffers as a result.

  2. Ambrose Lee says:

    I’m uncomfortable with the argument that economic freedom => higher incomes for the poor => the poor are better off. It’s equivalent to stating that the ten poorest cities in the U.S. have Democratic mayors, and therefore Democrats institute bad policies.

    Rather, I would argue that democratic countries that are widely impovershed attempt (unsuccessfully) to constrain the economic power (abuses) of the wealthy. I say “unsuccessfully” because attempting to saddle the wealthy with rules and regulations is like trying to catch a squid with your bare hands.

    Nevertheless, the point still stands that low incomes can lead people to restrict economic freedom (see coal-mining regulations in turn-of-the-century Wales) rather than restricted economic freedom leading to low incomes.

  3. Alexis says:

    It’s so nice to see someone “debunking left-wing myths about income inequality” and then actually backing up the claims with studies. Great post and very informative!

  4. Ken says:

    Good thoughts.

  5. Lucius Junius Brutus says:

    Two things are perenially true about people: they are completely unpredicatble, and will rebuff most infringments of their liberty when done overtly.

    Governments which try to controll people often have to resort to the byline of “security” or “ensuring equality” to get people to surrender their rights. The people who give away their rights in the economic sector do not understand the damage they are doing to themselves in the long term, as many act out of vindictivness towards the rich and well-off without any understanding that they have the potential to be that same group.

    The fact that people are unpredictable means that no matter what rules government tries to make, there will always be ways to get around the system.

  6. brian says:

    Economic freedom is also highly beneficial to economic development. We know from numerous case studies that too many economic restraints and controls will interfere with the efficient production and distribution of goods and services. Government regulations slow growth by discouraging consumption.

  7. david says:

    On top of the causation/correlation problem Ambrose cited, I also have the problem that every time I see articles and posts like this, it only makes me want to see the raw data and not the data as presented by people with a clear agenda. I’m not saying this data isn’t factually correct, but as a student of Orwell’s, I think there’s something to be said for getting past what people would like you to think is true and finding what is actually true.

    The richest 1% paying a bigger portion of the tax revenue doesn’t mean there is tax equality and certainly doesn’t mean there is income equality. The rich don’t pay a huge portion of tax revenue because they are charged higher rates; they pay a bigger portion because their income is also a huge chunk of America’s income. These tax statistics are only unequal in favor of the poor because income is unequal in favor of the rich.

    Also, economic freedom does not equate to economic opportunity, which is the normative value that Democrats are seeking. You would also be hard-pressed to show that economic freedom as defined by the Frasier Institute is really “freedom.” A common trait of the developed world is that businesses succeed in eliminating regulations and taxes (which is good for them and falls down the pecking tree to help the poor) but also that business succeed in acquiring government subsidies and effective monopolies for their business. Those things, which aren’t included in Frasier’s methodology, aid development as well, but we wouldn’t call that “freedom” or “small government.”

  8. Devon Herrick says:

    Many academics in the public policy arena subscribe to the argument that relative equity makes residents happier with their station in life — regardless of the societal wealth in which they live. The theory posits that equity results in a more stable form of democracy. Supposedly, when there is a high degree of inequity, (for lack of a more technical explanation, the poor are restless and want to revolt; and the rich have too much political power).

    Yet, this argument has several flaws. For one thing, poor people are risking their lives to enter the U.S. illegally. America is the only country where poor people from elsewhere come even though they will still be poor (just poor in a wealthier society). The wealthy do have access to the political machine. But, it’s the rent-seeking behavior of politicians in the that allows the wealthy to have political access. If lobbying did not result in a return on investment, no corporation would hire lobbyists.

    One factor that is destabilizing is the mere fact that politicians pander to voters and use the power to redistribute resources as a means to generate votes. People are not apt to revolt when the economy is vibrant and they believe and each successive year will be better than the year before. It’s not inequity that is unstable; it’s a stagnant economy. Economies can stagnet when government intervenes in the economy similar to what has happened in Greece.

  9. Charlie Bond says:

    Hi John,

    I trust you sense the great respect I have for your posts and your positions. However, I am constrained to make a gentle observation about the ongoing bleed between political ideologies and health policy:

    Left, right or center–politics and our health care should not mix. Politics divide people. Now is the time to come together. Injury and disease strike regardless of party affiliation. Continued linkage of health care to a political solution and thereby to partisan politics will only ensure continued gridlock in addressing the most important question of our generation.

    Yes, free market economics must be applied in addressing health care financing, but the real reforms must come in the day-to-day delivery of our care. We must first ask what care are we going to get and how. These are questions of compassion and not of political ideology. Ironically, these are the questions that will address the costs as well.

    While I am as game as any American for a good, rip-snorting political row (which is why Congress is fast becoming a spectator sport akin to extreme wrestling), it is now time to set aside conservative and liberal labels and speak among us only in human terms about these questions of life, death, suffering and well-being. More importantly, it is time to listen to each other with the ear of statesmen and come together in community. The next accident or catastrophic diagnosis could befall any of us or someone we love at any time, and in that moment, economic philosophies and political leanings will mean little.

    It is time to unite rather than divide. It is for that reason that the Patient-Physician Alliance has been created as a non-profit, non-political membership organization open to all. It seeks to build a grass-roots movement, community-by-community. Only by attaining a critical mass can we achieve real health care reform from the bottom up, not from the top down. You and your readers are invited to join.

    Charlie Bond

  10. Tom H. says:


  11. Don Levit says:

    David wrote:
    The rich don’t pay a huge portion of tax revenue because they are charged higher rates; they pay a bigger portion because their income is also a huge chunk of America’s income. These statistics are only unequal in favor of the poor because income is unequal in favor of the rich.
    Bingo, David!
    When the analysis of income doesn’t support your theory, people turn to taxes, and say how much the rich pay in taxes and how little the poor pay.
    And, when the tax schtick doesn’t work, they turn to the freedom schtick. Look at all the freedom we have here – people are dying to come to America.
    When incomes were more equitable in the 1950s-1970s, those arguments made more sense.
    The skew in incomes for the last 40 years makes their analysis out of date, inaccurate, and irrelevant.
    Don Levit

  12. david says:

    @Devon, there are I think a few flaws in your arguments as well, the first being that immigration numbers are down. Even if people are immigrating illegally, that only shows that the US is better than their home other countries, which is a good thing, but isn’t necessarily saying much. Progress of a society is not about competition–I certainly don’t judge my country by how we’re doing relative to Mexico, but by how well reality matches up to our ideals.

    Also, lobbyists are little more than salesmen who happen to sell to the biggest pocketbook in the world–that of the American taxpayer. To get rid of lobbyists, you would have to take away the funding source, which is to say you would have to get rid of the government. The corruption problem in Washington occurs necessarily, but is a version of the principal-agent problem. Corruption doesn’t occur because government spends money; corruption occurs because the interests of the people spending the money are not perfectly aligned with those of the people whose money they are spending.

    Also, the mortgage-backed security crisis in the US was not a result of government intervention. Even if you cite the low federal funds rate as the cause of the recent recession, that would only be the case because lower federal rates increased the fervency of competition among banks, which lead to unsustainable (fraudulent, really) lending practices. Is there any reason, when the federal funds rate doesn’t change the motivation to earn a profit, to believe that unsustainable lending practices would not have been developed even if the federal funds rate was 20%? I don’t think so. Debt is only a problem when it is held by people without the ability to repay it. Lower interest rates mean debt is cheaper, but that doesn’t mean responsible lenders will give it to just anyone. More people, certainly, which is a good thing, but responsible lending practices don’t change with the federal funds rate. It seems to be unbridled greed and competition on the part of banks that causes more and more debt to be held by people who can’t pay it.

  13. Frank Timmins says:

    Ambrose and David, methinks you are flying at too high an altitude and have swooshed right over the point of John Goodman’s post. The idea is that when an economy “grows” all boats are raised. The economy is not a zero-sum game, and that fact is apparently something that liberals seem to be unable to get their heads around. Do you really want “income equality”, or is a better standard of living for all the optimum goal? I would truly like an answer to that question.

    By the way Ambrose, the thing about the Democrat mayors and poor cities – makes one want to go hmmmmmm.

    Charlie Bond, along the same lines a superior healthcare system debate is not about one side wanting more or less of life, death, suffering, etc. It is about how to create a system that enables the best healthcare for Americans. That seems to be the “political” argument, and ultimately an ideological “approach” to dealing with it is going to be won or lost. “Compromise”, at least in the basic approach, is not a logical goal.

  14. Ambrose Lee says:


    “makes one want to go hmmmmmm.” Chop it up to my being a member of another generation, but I have no idea what in the hell that means.

    More to the point, I don’t think David or I have missed the point of the post at all. You’re stated reasons for arriving at this ill-informed conclusion are nonsensical and irrelevant: methinks David and I are both well-aware that economic wellbeing is not a zero-sum game. We are simply pointing out the opportunities for statistical manipulation and/or causal assumptions that play a part in this blog post.

    Further, “Do you really want “income equality”, or is a better standard of living for all the optimum goal?”

    Firstly, it would be an *optimal goal. Secondly, I’m not actively advocating a policy end here. I am constructively criticizing Dr. Goodman’s presented means to attaining his ideal policy end. Therefore, no such decision is warranted or constructive in this forum.

  15. Frank Timmins says:

    Ambrose, your point is taken. However, the “income equality” was in reference to David’s comment rather than yours, and the very term gives me a chill (not to be confused with a Chris Matthews tingle).

    By the way, for explanation of the “hmmmm” thing go to

  16. david says:


    The post is titled ‘Inequality.’ Income inequality seems to be what Dr. Goodman thinks is the left’s argument for more government, so I think it’s relevant to mention it. I don’t think income equality should be a goal of public policy, but the very simple fact is that income is increasingly less equal, and Dr. Goodman’s stats don’t change that, though they seem to be rather obscurantly trying to make it seem as if that is the case. I am only saying that, indeed, the rich have gotten richer while the poor have not ( and the rich paying a greater percentage of the tax revenue than poor people does not mean they are paying exorbitant effective tax rates. When income is not distributed evenly and rich people control most of the country’s income, even a flat tax rate will result in rich people paying an unequal share of the tax revenue because they have an unequal share of the income.

    I’m not suggesting we play Robin Hood, but I would remind you of a Robert Kennedy quote: “There are those in every land who would label as ‘communist’ every threat to their privilege. But may I say to you , as I have seen on my travels in all sections of the world, reform is not communism. And the denial of freedom, in whatever name, only strengthens the very communism it claims to oppose.”

    In other words, don’t get a chill every time you hear the words income equality–it won’t get us anywhere.

  17. wanda j. jones says:

    John and Colleagues:

    Your information about the effect of tax rates is very valuable. I noted, however, that there is a streak of paranoia in come of the commenters –the numbers might be manipulated by an ideological agenda. That streak runs throughout our political life. Economics as a topic turns a lot of people off. Hardly anyone on the left will acknowledge out loud that half of people pay no tax at all, so it is weird to hear them rant about “equal sacrifice” and “fair share” when they don’t pay anything.
    What they really want is to have some of the income earned by those who do pay taxes. And they get it as they play the “need” card.

    While I appreciate the immediacy and scope of the Internet, these blogs and the comment sections, I’d like to see charts that are easily understood, and can be down-loaded by any teacher or student or executive or politician. We are literally not all on the same page when it comes to understanding what the hell all this is about. All you have to do is read Paul Krugman and you can see a scrambled brain at work.

    Oh, I forgot to mention, make a set of the charts for the New York Times.


    Wanda J. Jones
    New Century Healthcare Institute
    San Francisco.

  18. Don Levit says:

    Let me make it simple for you.
    The top 10% own 80% of the financial wealth.
    Now, one can say “It is what it is. Some people work hard and smart. Some people are lazy and stupid.”
    Any civilized society cannot withstand such income disparity, whatever the reason.
    The Great Depression is one exemple.
    Why, you may ask?
    Because we are human beings, not computers which simply calculate.
    And, like Clink Eastwood says “A man has to know his limits.”
    More and more people are coming to their wit’s end.
    One reason that is so would be your remark that half of the people don’t pay income tax.
    They don’t pay the income tax, because their income doesn’t meet the first tax threshold.
    Do you think millions of people are voluntarily slacking off, just so they won’t pay income tax?
    If so, there is a second definition for insanity.
    Don Levit

  19. david says:


    I don’t think there’s any “might” to it. Don Levit pretty well summed up that argument, so I won’t repeat it here. Economics turns people off because it is a very complicated science, making it easy for politicians to use falsely in order to justify their ideology. In that sense, there is little democratic about economics.

    Also, might the concept of opportunity cost be a justification for the lack of “fair taxation” among poor people? A 15% tax on someone making 20,000 a year is the difference between 3 meals a day and 2. The same tax on someone making 20M a year is the difference between 3 vacation homes and 2. There may be a moral argument for taxing everyone something, but I don’t think that would include a flat tax rate. There are also more sources of tax revenue than the income tax, and I seriously doubt half of the country avoids every single tax that exists in this country.

    I also disagree that people want a share of the income of the rich. What people want is a piece of the American dream. They want to have opportunities. They want to feel that there is justice in the world. And they, like everyone else, want to feel secure that the well-being of their families is secure–particularly from the macro effects of institutions with no regard for right and wrong.

  20. Kelley says:

    I love the Pink Floyd video. I especially agree with the statement that the studies that economists do are oftentimes ignored, especially by politicians. The health care industry has lately been more a topic of economic realm than that of quality of care. I disagree with this economic focus on a federal level. Recently in the Senate, there has been a focus on dividing health physicians into interstate groups in order to “increase quality of care” and therefore increase the percentages of revenue that physicians receive within these groups. Is this not a scam? Congress has the right to regulate INTERSTATE commerce (Article 1, Section 8). Legislators are attempting to create an interwoven, interstate health care market that was not as prominent before the ACA in order to justify regulating a “commodity” that should be left up to the individual to choose to purchase.

    I like that you argue against the side of federal regulation of health care as a commodity. Free market economics=productive growth. Federal regulation=slowing of the market.

    Great read, as always.

  21. david says:

    I don’t know, Kelley. Some people would say Free market economics=corporate tyranny and Federal regulation=growth in the right direction.

    Exhibit A in my case would be child labor laws. Exhibit B would be OSHA. I imagine, however, that if this were an actual case you would have settled out of court, knowing you didn’t stand a chance against reason and evidence.

  22. david says:

    Or a jury, for that matter, unless the jury consisted of 12 Fortune 500 CEOs.

  23. Kelley says:

    Do you propose we uphold the Individual mandate?

    If so: should we be forced to purchase an automobile if the automobile market is failing? Or should we be forced to purchase a house if the housing market is failing?

    These simple questions raise the hair on my arms. This is not the only regulation that limits individual freedom, but it is an example of unconstitutional regulatory practices that will expand the power of federal government farther than you nor I would like to see.

  24. david says:

    I think our goal should be a nation where no one is denied health care they need because they can’t afford it, and I don’t think it’s acceptable (particularly for economists) to say that someone who was able to buy insurance but didn’t should be left to die and ‘reap what they sowed,’ as Ron Paul would suggest.

    Achieving that goal, then, requires either an individual mandate or single payer (at least, I have not heard of any other idea that would meet those ends). That being said, I have no problem with the individual mandate.

    I don’t think the argument being made is that we should make everyone buy health insurance to save a failing market, so I don’t see your point there. However, since I will assume you are asking for a limiting principle, I will admit that I can think of none. Nor can I think of a limiting principle behind requiring emergency rooms to provide care or requiring drivers to buy insurance or, for that matter, requiring safety standards for vehicles or occupational hazard standards for businesses or the kind of information that public companies are required to publish.

  25. Frank Timmins says:

    David writes,

    “I think our goal should be a nation where no one is denied health care they need because they can’t afford it..”

    David, do you know of anyone who has been “denied healthcare” (for any serious ailment). If you don’t (and I have no knowledge of anyone in that category), why is it necessary to formally socialize the healthcare system? Surely you understand the magnitude of what you are suggesting has no relevance to requiring safety standards for vehicles or advertising regulations.

    Hence, if making sure “everyone has access to healthcare” is not a valid reason for socializing healthcare, what would you suggest a valid reason to do so?

  26. david says:

    I don’t accept your qualification, Frank. If someone can’t walk without back pain, will it kill them? No, but that doesn’t mean they should be condemned to walk forever in pain.

    You also seem to have forgotten that I said because they can’t afford it. I know many people who have been financially wrecked because they received and pay for care that they can’t afford. Federal law only requires that hospitals stabilize you before they can release you. That means they have to save you from dying of a heart attack, but if you have heart attacks because you need a valve or a transplant but you can’t pay it, you’re not getting on the list, which means there will eventually be a heart attack from which you won’t awake, and you will have died (or at least not been given every opportunity to survive) because you could not afford it.

    Also, the healthcare system has not been “formally socialized” by the ACA. If you think it has, I suggest you read Das Kapital and compare. Right-wingers criticized the Democrats foreign policy after WWII by implying they were communists, Left-wingers criticized Bush’s foreign policy in Iraq by implying is was capitalistic imperialism, and here we are again with the right-wingers criticizing a bill they don’t like by saying the president is a socialist. It’s utterly worthless garbage of an argument and shows very little concern for linguistic honesty and transparency.

    I cited safety standards because I can’t think of a limiting principle for those things either–I’m only trying to be consistent. If we can require an emergency room to provide care to the dying, can we require hotels to provide beds for the homeless? Can we require restaurants to feed the hungry? From a constitutional standpoint, I don’t see the limiting principle.

    I don’t really follow the last paragraph, but I’ll do you the ill-advised favor of speaking hypothetically(since the ACA doesn’t socialize health care) that if I were to argue for the socialization of health care (which I’m not), I would probably go more along the lines of exploitation of the proletariat, class division, etc. etc. etc.

  27. Ambrose Lee says:


    People are denied access to care all the time. You’re confusing “care” with “emergency care.” Sure, people can get emergency care pretty much anywhere regardless of ability to pay. But the subsequent care, such as treatment and recovery, is restricted. You have cancer and are going to die without surgery? Unless you can pay for it, you’re not getting it. This is the lack of access to care that David is talking about.

    Telling people to go home and die is not enough. And make no mistake: that happens every day (though probably not in those excat words).

  28. david says:

    Correction: you only said the bill was socialistic, not the president who pushed for it, so my own linguistic honesty and transparency compels me to apologize for putting words in your mouth.

    The argument, however, remains unchanged and unequivocally unapologetic.

  29. david says:

    Thank you, Ambrose. Cancer is an even better example than back pain (it’s been a long day and my back hurts, so that’s why I could only think of back pain).

  30. Ambrose Lee says:


    As far as a limiting principle, I would propose government intervention to solve only those social ills that are largely not a function of individuals’ choices. People bring problems upon themselves, and I would not be in the business of fixing all of them. That, by amost appropriate classification, would be the classic Nanny State. Rather, government actions should be confined to the mitigation of natural inequalities (i.e. we are not all born with the same health opportunities, and government should therefore seek to level the playing field).

    I say “level the playing field” knowing full well the alarms this phrase sets off for conservatives, but before you jump on the defensive, keep in mind the crucial qualification that only playing fields made unlevel by nature should, in my opinion, be subsequently leveled. This does not say that the working man should pay taxes to subsidize the gluttony of a free rider. The prior’s wealth and the latter’s poverty, after all, are largely a function of their personal choices. In the arena of healthcare, however, the greatest ills (no pun intended) are typically a function of our genes and less of our lifestyle (save innane references to obesity and smoking for another time, please).

  31. Frank Timmins says:

    David, let me see if I understand your position. I will use your example. I have a chronic bad back as a result of my obession with motorcycle street racing, and I don’t have enough money to go to a chiropractor. Being your next door neighbor, I noticed that you are driving a new car and apparently have a lot of discretionary income. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could call up the authorities and get them to visit you (with guns), and have them relieve you of some money that I could use to go to the chiropractor? Well you might say that had I been born with this ailment you would be happy to help me out, but because of my obvious stupidity you choose not to do so. Unfortunately David, in your vision of healthcare equality you won’t have that option.

    By the way, I don’t know of anyone who has been “financially wrecked” because of medical bills, so I guess you have one up on me. I am sure I could find a few out of 300,000,000 Americans that might claim that misfortune, but I dare say that could be remedied without socializing the entire healthcare system (and effectively reducing the quality of care of the other 299,999,000 citizens).

    With regard to the ACA “socializing” healthcare, I assure you that it is the only possible ultimate outcome. I don’t have the space here or time to explain exactly how this will happen other than to encourage you to consider the inevitable historical results of any economic activity that has been subjected to government price controls.

  32. Dr Bob Kramer says:

    How about Jeb Bush saying that his father and Reagan would be appalled at the posture of the GOP, and their unwillingness to try and find a workable solution. This is the most admirable words I have heard from the GOP, maybe someone should listen, or groom him for a presidential run himself, or maybe as Obama’s running mate.

    Dr Bob Kramer.

  33. david says:

    Well Frank, I’m not sure how you hurt your back street racing or why there are cops coming to my door to take my money, but I’ll roll with it…

    Yes. That is exactly the policy I am supporting, except I’m supporting taxing people because the whole cops thing is a little over-the-top.

    I am well aware that it means I will likely be paying for the stupidity of many people who either do dangerous things or don’t buy health insurance because they don’t think they’ll need it, etc.

    I am well aware that when my taxes go to unemployment programs, there will be many a free loader. You and I could come to this blog every day for the rest of our lives and think of some new way that people are milking the rest of us, but you know what? That’s a price I’m willing to bear. I’ve met a few free loaders in my day, and I’m pretty sure that they’re just the type of people who will always find a way to live on someone else’s dime.

    There are, however, many people with a legitimate need. There are people who will die without this bill or something very very similar. And if preventing that occurrence means we have to deal with free loaders, that is fine by me. I will have to rest my hope that the people who benefit from this program will raise their children believing that there is hope in this country, that the American dream is still alive for them, and that they ought to look out for one another because that is the only way there will be hope in this country, and that is the only way the American dream will stay alive.

    What you seem to want is group punishment–denying people a program that will meet their needs because others may benefit from that program without the need for it. To be honest, your argument is despicable.

    And Dr. Kramer, I completely agree with you. Since Obama was elected, the Tea Party has completely taken over the Republican Party, moving it to the John Birch right… and apparently causing more people to think that the problem in America isn’t a failing healthcare system, it’s the socialists who are using the failing healthcare system to promote their atheist agenda so the commie hippies can end all wars by making the US subjugate to Russia. And I wish that were sarcasm…

  34. Frank Timmins says:

    Well David, I think we have arrived at the point. You write “…That’s a price I’m willing to bear…”. I can certainly respect and even admire that personal commitment. By the same token I am sure that you would respect my decision to not bear that price…er,… wouldn’t you? You see I might want to give some help to another person that I feel needs the help more.

    That certainly seems like a fair approach. We both get to feel good about ourselves. You have your charity and I have mine, and neither of us has to worry about enforcement officers at our front door. I’m sure that you will agree.

  35. david says:

    A) I have said the goal should be that no one is denied health care because they can’t afford it. We have charity in this country and it isn’t meeting those ends so, your solution does not achieve that goal. That is why it is not acceptable foreign policy.

    B) I do not have time to explain to you the philosophy behind why it is necessary that government do this and not private charity, but I will summarize it by saying this: under your ideal system, people who need health care but can’t afford it are dependent upon people like you and I who have the money to give to them for that cause. Certainly, the ACA only replaces dependency on you and I with dependency on the government, but poor people at least have a vote in how government is operated (that is, if the Republicans don’t succeed in robbing them of that right). As I said to Kelley, your plan means people’s lives depend on the rich, making them stupid robot sheep-people and that is absolutely out of line with American ideals. It is not the ideals of our founders or even Adam Smith. It is the ideal of Hayek and Mises and Rand–none of them born in America and none of them with ANY real concern for the ideas of the enlightenment upon which this nation was founded.

  36. david says:

    I don’t know why I said that’s bad foreign policy (I mean, it might as well be right!?) It is, however, terrible public policy. My mind is in about 20 different places, though there are some parallels here to our policy regarding foreign aid… not worth getting into though.