Economic Free Lunches And Tooth Fairies

The White House has made its pronouncement regarding the demand that religious institutions must provide contraceptive medicines and devices for all employees.  We all know that they have modified that version by now saying that the institution itself will not have to provide such coverage in its policies and pay for it but that the insurance carrier for the institution will provide such service and must do so without any charge, it will be free to the employee.  Even that modification is somewhat vague if you have seen the testimony of Sibelius regarding the issue.  She is still talking about how the institutions have 13 months to comply and that they are still seeking accommodations with them whatever that means.   It is amazing that they White House thinks that by merely stating that something will be free makes it so.

If it is legal and constitutional in the first place to require an insurance company to provide a service that is free to the insured that doesn’t mean it is free.  We still have the 5th amendment to the Constitution the last I checked.  Supposedly the money for the contraceptive service will come from the insurance company’s reserves.  That is part of their capital and thus belongs to the shareholders which is a very diverse group of folks.  Some insurance companies are still stock companies that means that every insured is also a shareholder and even those that are not have shareholders that are pension funds, hedge funds, mom and pop and other public groups of all stripes.  The government regrettably does have the power to tax but that is different that a straight up “taking” of private property without just compensation.  The government is taking that money for an alleged “public purpose” which is the standard for determing whether or not the 5th amendment applies.   It would seem the government would be required to either pass a new tax provision or else pay for the property taken.  The 5th amendment doesn’t only apply to real estate although that is the most common usage by government. 

But beyond that slight shortcoming there remains the question of how this is “free”.  If allowed by law then the insurance companies still have to pay for the covered medicines and devices.  It sure isn’t free to them and it will reduce their profits.   Does the government intend to also require the pharma and medical device makers to also provide this service free?  Like always when the government says something is free to the intended beneficiaries  like so many of the entitlements it is only shifting the cost to someone else.  Free means you are paying for it but someone else is footing the bill. 

Even the Soviets after decades of trying never could figure out how to have a cash and capital free society.   Even if you didn’t pay a dime for medical services from the Soviet regime then that only meant that the regime was making someone else pay with their labor to produce the good or service.   It still wasn’t free.   Just because something is free to you doesn’t mean it was free to those who provided you with that good or service.  Even if we adopted the Soviet style and had all medical care controlled by the State and you never had to pay a dime for insurance or any medical treatment doesn’t mean it would be free.  The cost would have been borne by other taxpayers in our society.  Of course in our modern US of A that means half of us since that is all that pay any income tax.

We can have an argument about socialized medicine and that is ok, part of our process.  But the hypocrisy and lies are intolerable.   Trust me the free lunch is an urban myth.  That free lunch at school for example isn’t free, someone is paying for it just not the recipient of that nutritious meal.   If you were a car mechanic would you like the government to mandate that in the future you had to do oil changes free of charge to the car owner?  The government could well take the position that a well running vehicle is vital the well-being of the owner and that regular changes are good for the eco-environment and thus a public good.   Ergo it is only right that you give them the oil change without charge.  Would you believe that that oil change was free?  

We need to eliminate that mind-set from our political discourse that anything is free.  We have to earn it one way or the other.  There is nothing immoral or evil about that attitude, indeed that idea is what got us out of the trees and moved us from the caves to the houses and villages.   Providing for yourself and being charitable are part of what makes us decent human beings.   Believing in a beggar thy neighbor approach to society will only fragment and rend the very fabric of our society because of its inherent unfairness, a concept much bandied about these days.

love thy neighbor as thyself,,,,no more, no less and expect the same of him.


1 Comment

Filed under business, Economics, government, Politics, religion, Socialized Medicine

One response to “Economic Free Lunches And Tooth Fairies

  1. Your last paragraph is dead on common sense that seems lost in society. The political class loves to declare everything is free. You have those of the current administration. The last administration did it too with putting the Iraq and Afghan wars off the balance sheet and declaring “deficits do not matter.” Both parties are guilty beyone a resonable doubt on your common sense.

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