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    « Morning Joe 12/31/2012 -- If only women were negotiating | Main | Up with Chris Hayes 12/30/2012 -- Tea Party deflation »
    Sunday
    Dec302012

    The Young Intellectuals

    Chris Hayes has a public service spot on MSNBC promoting ACA type national healthcare coverage. I imagine Hayes wants a more comprehensive less cronyistic plan, but ACA is what's been offered and it's what Hayes is obviously defending. I'm not questioning Hayes' sincerity -- I'm sure he believes what he says, but I'm not sure he's thought this all the way through. Hayes says that the point of coverage is to make sure our fellow citizens, our human brothers and sisters, so to speak, get coverage and don't needlessly suffer. Most people will superficially agree with this -- if we can ensure that the poor receive heathcare access then we should do it, right?

    The problem I have with many of the Young Intellectuals, as I will call them here, is that they were apparently educated and trained to assume government has to provide social services like healthcare, and that government can provide this type of national coverage and access better than what would emerge in a true free market. The most popular Young Intellectuals on the Left, like Ezra Klein, Chris Hayes and Melissa Perry-Harris, are convinced that interventionist, Democratic government is vital to addressing the social problems we all agree should be ameliorated if possible -- hunger, healthcare access, clean water and air, gender and racial equality/justice, and so forth. Other Young Intellectuals, like Conor Friedersdorf and Julian Sanchez, have more of a libertarian understanding, although, regarding social services, they will agree, if I understand them correctly, that the Welfare State is vital even if they think it lacks in efficiency.

    I pick at some of these Young Intellectuals, but only because I admire their amazing intelligence and become frustrated when they make arguments like the one Hayes is making on MSNBC. I can feel the passion that Hayes emits, and it plays well, but it's misleading. I won't say that I absolutely know that government-run healthcare will fail, although, personally I have no doubt, but Hayes could at least show appropriate scepticism. Hayes might say he's promoting something much better than ACA and that ACA is only the beginning, but, if this is so, it should be made clear, because the ad piece leaves the unmistakable impression that Hayes is promoting ACA. There's no doubt that ACA can help some for a given amount of time, but there's no certainty that ACA is sustainable and that it won't wind up hurting the people it's ostensibly designed to help.

    The problem I have with assuming government has to provide healthcare is that it shuts the door on all private sector solutions. Most insurance companies are using their energy to strengthen government connections through lobbying in order to be in a favored position when government starts controlling the healthcare industry completely, so they aren't putting their brain-power into innovating and coming up with creative market solutions. Government has intervened in healthcare coverage and treatment for so long, and it's made such a mess, I hate to what will happen as technocrats attempt to fix what they broke, designing systems for 300 million plus people. Hayes and the Young Intellectuals don't have to be wild-eyed libertarians, but I do wish they would use their brilliant minds to think with appropriate scepticism beyond government policy to the potentially abundant, creative and innovative private realm for possible solutions. Many of these amazing brains are wasted in the service of defending an anti-social State that's concerned primarily with power, when they could freely search for greater, more sustainable, non-political social solutions.

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