We Are Better Than This
How Government Should Spend Our Money
Physicians for a National Health Program: McCanne Quote of the day
Posted on Thursday, December 3, 2015
by Edward D. Kleinbard
This book argues that the strand of contemporary American political thought that defines itself through its hatred of taxation is narcissistic self-pleading wrapped in a flimsy sheath of economic lingo. Personal economic liberty, of course, is one foundational principle of our country and our economy, but it is not the only principle that defines us; and the emaciated government that this philosophy demands is not the way to promote the happiness of society, if by that we actually mean the society composed of all of us who identify ourselves as Americans. Our fixation on taxation means that we have turned our thinking upside down: instead of focusing on what government might usefully do, and whether we can afford it, we obsess over the taxing side of things, and ignore the purposes to which those tax revenues are applied.
We do not pursue the path of of our society’s happiness, including our collective prosperity, by pursuing abstractions like the sanctity of markets if by doing so we waste $1 trillion or so every year in healthcare spending, and further leave tens of millions of Americans without adequate healthcare coverage, thereby condemning them to worse long-term health outcomes and to risks of bankruptcy. To the contrary, the markets here are telling us something quite clearly, which is that healthcare for all members of a society is a load that private markets cannot lift alone. And what is true of healthcare of course is even more apt for broader forms of insurance against the vicissitudes of life.