How socialism will bring stagnation to the US 14

Hullo socialism, good-bye innovation. Socialism crushes inventiveness, as it purposefully does all private enterprise. Nothing new of any importance has come out of continental Europe since it turned socialist.

In Britain where the first Industrial Revolution took place, yes, there is still a remnant of the old inventive genius at work, though it’s slowly dying. Out of Britain has come one big new thing – the world-wide web, invented by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, blessings be upon him. (NOT by Al Gore, who claimed he invented it, but could not, we believe, invent a hand fan for a breeze.) 

To invent, men need not only their ideas but also a superfluity of time and money, even if they do it in their own garages as so many did in the Second Industrial Revolution in Silicone Valley. (I say men because women have invented sweet blow-all.) Free time and extra money, and the incentive of gaining great riches, are among the great benefits that only capitalism can bestow.  

Now that socialism is coming to the United States, incentive, opportunity and the urge to innovate will start to wither. Nationalized health care, for instance, will mean the stagnation of medical research. Will the billions needed to develop a new drug come from the state when the state is the only buyer?

The only sphere in which innovation has worked well under state control is the military. That was because American leaders have taken defense, the paramount responsibility of the state, very seriously. But now America has a president who believes that the nation is over armed – and should aim at totally giving up its nuclear defenses. Obama reckons, we are told, that if America castrates itself in this way, other nations will be so impressed by its ‘moral leadership’ that they too will give up the nuclear weapons they have, or the wish to obtain them. Either he really believes this sentimental hogwash or his motive is much darker and more sinister.

Michael Barone writes in Townhall:

Most people in the rest of the world are free riders on the productivity and ingenuity of the American military and American medicine. They get the benefits of American military protection and American medical innovation without paying, or without paying in full, for them. 

This has been the case all through the six decades after the Second World War. The American military has protected democracies from Communist expansion and today protects people all over the world from Islamist extremists. They get this service, if not free of charge, then at reduced rates. American taxpayers have been spending 4 percent of gross domestic product on our military and during the Cold War paid twice that share. NATO and most other allies spend significantly less.

American administrations of both parties have tried to get others to spend. But this is Sisyphus’s work. We are entitled to take pride in the fact that, in the spirit of “From those to whom much is given much is asked,” we are able to do so much for others.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration wants to do less. Defense has been scheduled for spending cuts. We are halting at lower than scheduled levels production of the F-22 fighter, whose brilliant advanced design is intended to assure American control of the skies for decades to come. The administration also seems to be scaling back missile defense, which could protect friends and allies from nuclear attack and over time might discourage nuclear proliferation…

We also may be at risk of squandering our high-tech advantage in medicine. As Scott Atlas of the Hoover Institution points out, the top five American hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in all other developed countries. America has outpointed all other countries combined in Nobel Prizes for medical and physiology since 1970.

American theoretical health research financed by the National Institutes of Health and by American market-oriented pharmaceutical companies outshines the rest of the world combined. And the rest of the world tends to get the benefits at cut rates… 

Pharmaceutical companies that produce benefits for patients and consumers get the profits that support their research disproportionately from Americans, because other countries refuse to spend much more than the cost of producing pills, which is trivial next to the huge cost of research and regulatory approval. Getting these free riders to pay more is, again, Sisyphus’s work.

The Democratic health care bills threaten to undermine innovation in pharmaceuticals and medical technologies by sending those with private insurance into a government insurance plan that would be in a position to ration treatment and delay or squelch innovation. The danger is that we will freeze medicine in place and no longer be the nation that produces innovations that do so much for us and the rest of the world.

Socialism – a destructive luxury 12

Jeff Durstewitz writes in the Wall Street Journal:

Europe has been riding on our economic coattails and sheltering under our defense umbrella since the end of World War II nearly 65 years ago. Our markets have been open to European goods, and our strong currency and relative affluence — the product of our much-maligned free-market economic model — have provided Europe with a ready buyer. (Question: How worried were French wine-makers about Americans boycotting French wines in 2003? Answer: très worried.)

While providing a huge market for Europe’s goods, we’ve also substantially relieved the European powers of the burden of defending themselves. Yes, France has an aircraft carrier and a nuclear force de frappe, but it’s not really capable of projecting significant force around the world anymore. Germany, the world’s third-largest economy, has a vestigial high-seas fleet and a modest air force. Even the Royal Navy is a shadow of its former self. “The U.S. last year spent about 44% more on defense than all other NATO members combined,” Robert Wall recently noted in Aviation Week.

By assuming Europe’s defense the U.S. has, in effect, allowed it the luxury of extremely expensive and ultimately unsustainable social-welfarism.

The great irony here is that the European model American leftists envy couldn’t survive without its despised cowboy counterparty. If the U.S. economy weakens because of increased regulation, heavy-handed unionization, and higher taxes and debt to support an expensive social agenda — all policies Mr. Obama and the Democrats in Congress are pushing hard — it will hurt Europe.

The market for Europe’s exports will shrink, and the U.S. will be less able to defend Europe. Europe is also facing a demographic cataclysm in the near future because of low birth rates (under 1.3 children per woman in the EU, well below the 2.1 necessary to maintain the population). Thus Europe will be increasingly unable to sustain its current welfare state, the very model that the left in the United States adores.

Posted under Commentary, Defense, Europe, Socialism, United Kingdom, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, July 11, 2009

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Help! 6

We draw our readers’ attention to the comment made by ‘roger in florida’ on our last posting immediately below, in which he gives a crystal-clear explanation of why a state-run health service must always necessarily be bad for the patient.

In our opinion there is no good argument for government control of health services.  

Further reinforcing our view, Investor’s Business Daily brings us this information and comment:

The Senate legislation is sponsored by the usual suspects, Democrats Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Chris Dodd of Connecticut. It’s modeled on Massachusetts’ plan, which also imposes a $1,000 fine [shared responsibility payment]… 

The CBO estimates the “shared responsibility payments will bring in about $36 billion over 10 years. This Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) bill also calls for a $750-per-worker “annual fee,” $375 for part-time workers on companies with more than 25 employees that do not offer coverage to employees.

So if you’re a small business seeking to expand beyond 25 workers, you have quite a bit to think about. That’s sure going to help job growth. In a statement released by the White House, Obama welcomed the revised legislation, saying it “reflects many of the principles I’ve laid out.”

The Kennedy-Dodd bill also provides for a government-run insurance option to compete with private plans. A competing Senate Finance Committee version does not.

According to the CBO, under its plan “the number of people who had coverage through an employer would decline by about 15 million, and coverage from other sources would fall by about 8 million.” The number of uninsured would decline by only a third.

This seems to fly in the face of the Obama promise that if you like your current coverage, nothing will change. Around 80% of Americans — 243 million of us — have indicated we like our current coverage and doctors. Too bad, for that will change.

Suppose health care reform passes and all are insured, by force or otherwise. The U.S. will be short 124,400 front-line physicians by 2025, according to the Association of Medical Colleges.

That does not include the 15,585 new primary-care providers the administration plan is estimated to require.

Put together fewer doctors, more patients and government insurance, and that spells less access to care, even rationing. HillaryCare died in 1994 when Americans realized it would force them to give up the coverage and health care providers they liked.

ObamaCare is no different.