We are not a Socialist government. We are not France Lite.
At least, this is what I tell myself in the wake of historic government bailouts of noted private enterprises. As the Angry Czeck’s tax dollars are diverted from more traditional government investments, like roads and schools, and into riskier gambles like C-Grade home loans, I wonder what might be next.
Healthcare comes to mind.
And I wonder if that would be so bad.
The fact is, few Americans want the government involved in free enterprise. We view our public servants as generators of inefficiency, hinderers of profitability, and invaders of privacy. Ironically (to me at least), when somebody admits to working for the government, the only real benefit that springs to mind is, “I’ll bet the healthcare is decent.”
Today, with company’s like AIG becoming wards of the state, we’re hearing the capitalistic howls of our Nation’s conservatives bemoaning federal interference even as the world’s leading Republican champions its necessity from his oval-shaped office. Bailouts have become the eraser that is blurring Party lines.
Here we have the Republican Party, the defender of Big Business and personal accountability, caught in an uncomfortable philosophical dilemma: toss fantastic piles of tax dollars at the corporate giants they’ve sworn to protect? Or allow the natural (and sometimes messy) order of capitalism to run its course? It’s just business, baby.
Democrats face a similar crisis of conscious. Throwing liberal amounts of money at problems is nothing new to us. Yet instead of funneling tax dollars to vandalized churches and welfare programs, we’re being asked to rescue the business behemoths who swore that the world would be better if we ran government in the same manner we run the boardroom.
Today’s experiment into Socialism is not without its historical precedent. Many pointed the Franco-finger at Franklin Roosevelt when he introduced his Alphabet Soup Programs during the Great Depression. Providing private-sector jobs is not the roll of the government, blustered die-hard Capitalists. We risked making our citizens dependent on the federal tit, and not even Eva Braun herself sported a more un-American breast.
But Roosevelt’s programs did what government programs are supposed to do: serve the people. That is what government is for. We elect people into office to act – not to sit idly by as catastrophe unfolds. If Canada decides to launch an invasion, then I expect our government to dispatch troops to the border. If the survival of Frannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG ensures the survival of our economy, then this is the government’s appropriate action.
Should it fail, should it place us in a hole so deep that Venezuela is refusing us loans, then God help us.
Which leads us, awkwardly, back to healthcare.
As our population ages, and our Baby Boomers require new hips and chemotherapy, when will healthcare’s juggling act finally drop the bowling pins? When will too few productive workers pay premiums for far too many broken retirees? Who will pay for the expensive medications? The increased need for medical technologies? The subsequent malpractice lawsuits that will bury our court system and bankrupt our hospitals?
Why, hello there, Uncle Sam.