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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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McGovern’s Socialism


Liberal George McGovern has a simple solution to the health-care crisis. In an op-ed in Sunday’s Washington Post, McGovern recommended that we simply extend Medicare, which currently is limited to people over 65, to everyone else.

Like most other people on the dole, McGovern loves his government-provided health care: “Those of us over 65 have been enjoying this program for years. I go to the doctor or hospital of my choice, and my taxes pay all the bills. It’s wonderful…. I want every American, from birth to death, to get the kind of health care I now receive.”

But hey, why limit McGovern’s simple idea to health care? Don’t people have a right to food as much as they have a right to health care? Isn’t food more important than health care? Why not extend the federal food-stamp program, which is currently limited to poor people, to everyone? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to walk into any grocery store you wanted and get all the groceries you needed without having to pay for them?

What about housing? Today, countless people are losing their houses through foreclosure. Millions more can’t even afford to buy their own homes. Don’t people have a right to a home? Why shouldn’t the government provide everyone with a home at no cost, just like Medicare would provide free health care for everyone?

What about the right to clothing? Isn’t it important too, especially in the winter season? Why should people have to worry about spending money on clothing any more than they should worry about purchasing health care? Why shouldn’t people be free to walk into any clothing store and walk out with the clothes they need, just as they would be able to do with health care if McGovern’s idea were to be adopted?

There’s also the right to a car. Automobile transportation is vital in most parts of the country. What good is free health care if you can’t get to the doctor’s office to receive it?

How about education? Don’t people have a right to an education? Why should it be free just for elementary, secondary, and high school? Why shouldn’t everyone get a free college and post-college education? Doesn’t society benefit when everyone is educated?

McGovern makes an insightful observation, one that most other statists block out of their minds — that taxes are what pay for all this.

Would taxes have to be raised to pay for free health care, food, clothing, auto, and education for everyone?

Undoubtedly, but what’s the big deal with that? All it will mean is that the younger generations will have a bigger portion of their income taken from them by the IRS. Why should we concern ourselves about that? Think about all those freebies they and everyone will be getting in return!

In fact, maybe we ought to take McGovern’s suggestion to its logical conclusion. Why don’t we have the federal government tax 100 percent of everyone’s income and then provide everything for free?

Better yet, wouldn’t it be easier if everyone simply went to work for the government? Wouldn’t that simultaneously guarantee everyone’s right to a job? In turn, the government could provide us with all the essentials of life, for free. That would obviously be a lot easier than filing annual income tax returns and sending in the 100 percent tax on our incomes.

The federal government has already gotten into the car business and the banking business and now wants to get into the health care business. Why not simply let the government take over all the businesses and industries in the country? Wouldn’t that save a lot of money by eliminating unnecessary profit and wasteful competition?

Is there a model for this paradigm? There sure is. Cuba and North Korea come to mind, societies that are a dream-come-true for statists. In those socialist societies, the state is the sole employer and everything, including health care, is provided for free.

Never mind that people in Cuba and North Korea are mired in near-starvation poverty and are under the total control of the state. Statists like McGovern would undoubtedly say that that’s just a coincidence.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.