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October 28, 2013

Jonah Goldberg: GOP Should Begin Sending Individual Market Health Care Policy Holders Electioneering Materials

Via Dave at Garfield Ridge, yes, with one big proviso, which I'll mention later.

We now know that millions of people will lose their existing health-insurance policies thanks to Obamacare. Already hundreds of thousands of people have gotten letters from their insurance companies letting them know they’ll lose their coverage. Millions more are bound to get similar letters, particularly when the small-business mandate kicks in. They should also get another letter, however. And that letter should come from the GOP, either from Reince Priebus or, better, from their local GOP representative, senator, governor or whichever local politician makes the most sense. And that letter should, without stridency, hyperbole or annoying appeals for money, explain to them that this is exactly what Obamacare was designed to do and precisely what Republicans predicted would happen. If I was writing it, I would say something like, “The president vowed to you on numerous occasions (see attached document) that you could keep your insurance and that you would save money under the Affordable Care Act. This was untrue. Whether it was a well-intentioned mistake or a more deliberate deception, what the president and his party told you was flatly untrue, and we said so at the time.”

Of course.

My one caveat is that getting this kind of a letter on the heels of having your insurance cancelled would be creepy and alarming.

The letters would have to be transparent upfront about how the GOP came to learn they were likely individual policy-holders. Perhaps it's just as simple as sending out letters to all of Kaiser Permanente's customers (if that information is public).

If ObamaCare itself makes this public, so much the better: then introduce the letter by saying ObamaCare makes your personal health insurance information public, and we think that's a bad thing, but that said, here's our pitch as to the rest of it.

Government is an organized system for shifting the wealth of tribes not in the majority coalition to tribes in the majority coalition. The only thing I can say in defense of this aspect of government is that it is slightly better than outright brigandry and tribal warfare.

Obama is shifting a lot of wealth from less-favored tribes to more-favored tribes. If he is permitted to only gain the benefit of this exchange (that is, the gratitude of the tribes getting someone else's loot) he wins completely.

This sort of thing can only be checked (as a political matter) by enlisting those who are being looted from into a political opposition.

I can only say this so many times: The conservative party must find a way to better discuss these things, a more appealing way. They cannot just talk about taxes, abstractly; they have to talk about what taxes actually are.

They have to talk about what money really is: Money is a barter-chit of convenience which represents a certain number of minutes or hours of your labor. Every unit of money actually represents the duration of time -- time you could have spent lying around an doing nothing -- that you used in order to earn that money.

Saying "It's just money" is the practical equivalent of saying "it's just time, time I might spend with my family, or pursuing a hobby, or relaxing." Each dollar represents a quantum of such time.

And each exertion of government to tax a citizen for the benefit of another steals a quantum of time from one citizen to deliver it to another.

Money is not "just money." Money is your daughter's braces. Or it's the difference between metal braces that your daughter will hate and invisible-line ones she won't mind quite so much.

Money is that personal workshop you've wanted to build your whole life but never could.

Money is two weeks on vacation with your family, not just at home -- not just a staycation -- but a genuine real vacation.

Money is also charity -- charity that you decide to bequeath to.

The GOP needs to find a way to discuss "money" and "taxes" in more concrete ways, in ways which are more tangible and vital, and not let the progressive party keep on saying "it's only money" as they take more and more of one man's labor -- more and more years of one man's life -- to aid another.

BTW: I keep discussing this in the podcast. I think twice in the last three weeks I've said this sort of thing. I discussed it longer in the last one, with Ben Domenech.

I don't want to endorse Rand's idea that selfishness is virtue so much as I want to push back against this childish idea that forcibly extracting money from one man to give to another is virtuous.

There are costs involved here. Politics used to be all about costs -- real world adult stuff like "Who's paying?" and "Who Loses?"

We are now living in a Sesame Street world in which it has been decided that it is too ugly, uncomfortable, and uncouth to even discuss such things. All we talk about about now the Cash and Prizes being won by some government clients in the Great Government Game Show.

But we, as a culture, do not seriously discuss the things that serious adults have talked about for the previous 200 years of this countries' existence -- that there are costs to all of these things.

People like to conceive of themselves as generous to a fault, practically heroic in their desire to sacrifice for others. In fact they are not, and only wish to gesture towards sacrifice. They want the actual sacrifice borne by others. They just want the moral credit of having spoken up in favor of the proposition that somebody somewhere should sacrifice.

We have a very infantilized, retarded political discourse at the moment. We discuss serious matters of math -- boring, sterile, unforgiving math -- as children might, where all that matters is intention and good feeling.

How we go about changing society to the point where it once again begins discussing adult matters as adults, I don't know. But we must think about this, and attempt to re-educate an increasingly uneducated (or deliberately mis-educated) population about Simple Matters, like the basic idea that Stuff Costs Money and Money Isn't Free.



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posted by Ace at 03:47 PM

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