When I was young (and we were still trying to shake off the reins of British rule), people used to make jokes about government doing things efficiently. There was common acceptance that, however poorly a business or charitable organization might operate something, you could always count on the government to do worse.
There are precisely zero major tasks that government in general does better than, well, anyone else. Government remains the province of $10,000 toilet seats, zombie-like bureaucrats, and billions of unaccounted for tax dollars. Yet, about half the nation seems to have somnambulated into America circa 2019 with a new paradigm that government is where you go to save money. It’s as sensible as if people suddenly decided to go to Kansas for surfing lessons, to Robert Byrd for lessons on black empowerment, or Rosie O’Donnell for weight loss tips.
Anyone who has stood in line for six weeks straight at the DMV shudders at the thought of government taking total charge of something like energy or health insurance. But that is where we are.
People who thought government was efficient used to be locked up, for their own good and that of society (sentient beings still feel that is what should be done with Bernie Sanders).
Many who are thusly disconnected from reality are running for president. They’re considered “progressive,” which, by connotating “progress,” makes both the term and the ideology nonsensical.
Education and health care have been top-of-mind issues in presidential campaigns since Julius Caesar first ran against, well, I think it was Strom Thurmond. Anyway, if there is near universal agreement that education and health care are problems, it is also undeniable that there are fewer areas in which more governmental control has been exerted.
What do we have to show for it? If you listen to the Democratic candidates for president, very little. They say it’s all been a disaster. Their prescription is… wait for it… more government.
The Democratic/Socialist agenda is to continue doing more of the same until we get a different result. In the early ‘60’s, federal spending on health care was near zero per cent of GDP. Today it’s about eight per cent of GDP. Even before Obamacare, government expenditures from all levels together had risen to about half of all U. S. health care spending. That is, for every dollar that is spent, half already comes from your taxes.
Education spending puts the U. S. at or near the top of all nations, no matter what metric you look at. Yet, educators and pols nearly universally deride our own system while fawning over those of our global brethren. The feds control student loans as well.
In addition to the explosion of spending on health care and education, there is the commensurate increase in control. As a rule of thumb in these areas, what government does not fund, it controls. Private insurance companies are not free to come into my home state of Nevada and offer custom policies. That’s why you find women who are two presidential administrations past fertility, married to men who wouldn’t know an erection from an insurrection, paying for policies that offer maternal benefits. They have no choice. If you could choose between maternal benefits and, say, unlimited reruns of Wheel of Fortune, it would be an easy decision.
To date, the Democratic candidates have a two-tiered message: they hate Trump and want to give you free stuff. That will appeal to everyone who has no income, pays no taxes, feels entitled, and has never been to the DMV. For many of the rest of us, Democrats are staking out positions that fly directly in the face of both our values and the practical lessons of our life experiences. How much farther into fantasyland they venture will do a lot to determine the outcome in November 2020.