Monday, May 17, 2010

"Compassionate" Politicians - Exactly Not

(HT) Just in case you were worried politicians might actually care about their constituents, someone ran the numbers.

Using investment rather than the welfare state bureaucracy, you can purchase an annuity of more than your annual income for the price of the social security tax you were paying anyway. Combining Murray's numbers with La Wik's, you can have private doctors for about the cost of public doctors, if that's what you are actually after. In other words, drop wait times, lose the bad attitude, and provide an incentive for smart students to become doctors, and in return get doctors for everyone.

We all know politicians are liars. But do you really get what that means? "Our new initiative will help the poor and the sick by...." Whatever the initiative will do, you can be sure it is not helping the poor or the sick.

I have no idea if the authors actually connected, but I first read a version of this idea on Unqualified Reservations; MM noted that simply giving every American a financial instrument equivalent to their legislative due would be vastly more effective at the stated goals than what's actually going on.

This is how you can tell that the stated goals are just noise. The solutions are generally practised elsewhere, simpler to design, not difficult to understand, and if ignorance is a barrier, then simply showing your representative Murray's article should sweep it away. Despite this, what's actually created are byzantine networks that both intentionally obfuscate and always seem to put lots of money in the pockets of politician's friends...

What's even more interesting to me is that it works. The golden goose never seriously questions the story that its egg is being sold to provide bread for poor children. It's even more remarkable if you consider how easy it is to draw a person into outrage at their governments, as long as you limit the discussion to concrete particulars.
(Just in case you're worried that the person does have good things to say about their government as well, check to see if they're using vague happy-speak or whether they can talk specifically of actual uncompromised benefits, without ignoring their downsides.)

Murray also touches on the real issue. "The welfare state is pernicious ultimately because it drains too much of the life from life." If socialism simply taxed the wallet, it would just be annoying. The real problem is that socialism taxes the soul. I was tempted to think this is a side effect, but I found out that the degradation of family and community greatly benefits the perpetrators of the welfare state, although I hesitate to say it is 'intentional.' For example, did Alfred Kinsey want to promote violent, jealous rages, or was he just out to prove his own impulses were morally sound? To the democratic state, however, all those warped children are sources of power. So, Kinsey's friends get funding and exposure, while his enemies, the opponents of human misery, perhaps equally oblivious of their sociological role, become persecuted.

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