Wealth Redistribution? Yes we can! [UPDATED]

I suppose it shouldn’t be any surprise that the Obamas believe in wealth redistribution. It’s easy once you start making crazy money. I mean once you start clearing hundreds-upon-hundreds-of-thousands of dollars after taxes every year, would you really miss a few extra thousand every year? I’m sure the typical American tax payer would, especially if they’re running a business. Even in a rough economy with a weakened US Dollar, a few thousand can mean a lot to a business and its customers.

Clearly, the Obamas don’t care. As Michelle stated yesterday, during her Harrisburg, NC visit:

“The truth is, in order to get things like universal health care and a revamped education system, then someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more.”

Right. I seem to recall something similar that Hillary said about 4 years ago to some of her own, well-to-do supporters:

“Many of you are well enough off that tax cuts may have helped you. We’re saying that for America to get back on track, we’re probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We’re going to have to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.”

She was referring to President Bush’s tax cuts.

Back to Michelle Obama. Oh the horror of the two of them being “beset by loans” after finishing law school. Heck if it wasn’t for Barack’s prolific talents they never would have paid those darn things off. Never mind that millions before them and after them have soldiered on and managed to do so without a bestseller windfall.

Those debts early in their marriage, she said, equips her husband to better understand the problems many Americans face.

I think I would consider them better equipped if they had actually paid off those debts via their day-jobs like the rest of us have done.

Special thanks to Dirck The Noorman for the pic.

UPDATED (4/10): Holy crap! Thanks to Rachel Lucas for reading my mind and expressing it in her own, unique way!

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4 thoughts on “Wealth Redistribution? Yes we can! [UPDATED]

  1. Removing Bush’s tax cuts won’t have these dire affects on struggling people and small business. The tax cuts were for people making the “crazy money”.

    When it comes to things like health care, I think it’s important to realize that society will pay one way or another. Scrap universal health care? Fine, but don’t be surprised when hospital bills and insurance costs start to rise. Why not pay higher taxes upfront and reap the benefits of universal health care? It’ll be much cheaper for everyone in the long run.

  2. I wasn’t linking bush’s tax cuts specifically with “struggling people and small business,” though I can see where I might have caused that confusion. I was simply trying to demonstrate another form income redistribution.

    Actually, Universal Health Care will be *more expensive* in the long run.

    Think about it: what if you had grocery insurance? If you did would you be more likely to shop at PCC and Whole Foods instead of a regular chain stores. And even if you did choose a chain store, would you be more likely to buy generic store-brands or (more expensive) name-brands and uber-organic items. And even if *you* did choose the cheaper stuff, do you really think *everyone* will do what’s in everyone else’s best interest? Like it or not, it’s hardly human nature.

    The point is, because of our insurance schemes, people typically don’t pay attention, much less care, what their health care is costing them (just that it’s “expensive”). As a result, healthcare providers lack the incentive to offer competitive prices because their patients are just passing the bill on to insurance companies. It is because of this “someone else is paying for it” mentality that costs are spiraling out of control.

    And the problem with Universal Health Care is that it doesn’t address this cost issue; instead it would transfer the ever-increasing burden of these spiraling costs to all tax payers.

    What are some contributing factors to these costs? Unhealthy lifestyles contribute asymmetrically to the cost of premiums for all individual and business plans. Then there are medical malpractice lawsuits which are largely unregulated and contribute to increased premiums; these are extremely volatile, unpredictable, add increase overall costs via increased malpractice premiums on the part of the care provider. Further regulation is clearly required.

    So, what are some alternatives? How can we reduce costs in our current system?

    Federal or State-based Health Savings Accounts that follow a person no matter where they are (employed or unemployed). Combine that with a higher deductible on a personal or business plan and the over-all cost of insurance plans will be greatly reduced.

    This will also give the folks more reason to better understand what they are getting for their money. And when providers understand that they will lose business to discerning customers who are concerned not only about the quality of their care, but also the cost, they will start paying more attention to their own practices, as well, and finding ways to reduce costs and cut resource waste whilst maintaining the same quality of care.

    This also gives the folks more financial incentive to make healthier lifestyle choices. The healthier you are, the less money you will need to expend on doctor visits (apart from any preventative care/checkups).

    Does this seem unreasonable?

  3. I’d completely agree that our healthcare is expensive for the reasons you listed (an unhealthy-lawsuit-friendly society).

    I’d have to disagree that higher deductibles will lower costs altogether – in fact I think the opposite would occur. To paraphrase Paul Krugman, “the magic of the marketplace to produce cheap healthcare is a foolish claim”.

    And what about people who don’t receive coverage at all? Insurance companies screen out people who need health care the most.

    The US has the most privatized health care system in the developed world, but we also have the highest costs. An x-ray in France costs 75 bucks, but in the US it can be in the hundreds!

    I think its time we realized that pure capitalism and health care simply don’t mix.

    (A good article on health care: http://www.sacbee.com/110/story/838456.html)

  4. I didn’t say HSA + higher deductibles would solve it… it’s just one building block. And in France, you’ll wait a week or more for that important x-ray.

    Being turned down for coverage is one thing; some people (rightly or wrongly in your eyes) opt for no coverage. They’re typically young, take care of themselves, and would rather spend their money on other things. But for those that have truly fell on hard times, and not those who have made poor decisions and simply look to the government to make up for their idiocy, I don’t mind paying for that. I would prefer a nationwide network of charitable organizations, but short of that, *sigh*… there is government.

    Maybe pure capitalism isn’t that answer (not that it’s something we’re actually practicing), but neither is pure government! Frankly, I don’t know how you can claim what we’re practicing is pure capitalism. Surely, as a cradle-to-grave nanny-state advocate, you can see the difference.

    Actually, Krugman’s quote was, “….but the equally foolish claim, refuted by all available evidence, that the magic of the marketplace can produce cheap health care for everyone.

    And that evidence would be what? That we don’t (nor does any other country) have a sustainable universal health care system? This is equivalent to Al Gore saying the debate about Global Warming, “is over.” Krugman also says, “…the Veterans Health Administration is one of the few clear American success stories in the struggle to contain health care costs. Since it was reformed during the Clinton years, the V.A. has used the fact that it’s an integrated system — a system that takes long-term responsibility for its clients’ health — to deliver an impressive combination of high-quality care and low costs. It has also taken the lead in the use of information technology, which has both saved money and reduced medical errors.

    Few clear American success stories? Heh. It may contain costs but the care is sub-par compared to the private health care industry. Ask any veteran. Surely they’d rather be here than anywhere else, but the VA and Medicare are good examples of how Government will run a nationwide cradle-to-grave system… and I’m not paying for that. It’s sad, really; our men and women in uniform deserve better. And we all deserve a better return on those tax dollars.

    In the land of unicorns, talking rainbows, and Care Bears you would have: the best care, in unlimited supply, at a cheap[affordable] price. In real life (and non-communist countries): you get to pick two of three. And in a totalitarian/nanny-state: you’re told to shut up and thank your government benefactors for what you get, after all it’s “free” (btw, your tax rate ranges from 40-70%… isn’t that special?), and “the best”.

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