commented on Bernie Sanders and taxing our way to social medicine...
2016-02-26 05:50:36 -0500
I think it is good to turn to the evidence rather than the ideological debates regarding incentives and work, or the ‘road to serfdom’ that Hayek coined and the post here rebrands as ‘a great step towards the socialist feudal paradise.’. Not only in America have we seen higher tax rates, but across western Europe we see these too, which some of those countries seeing higher worker productivity than the United States. This presents at best, mixed evidence that eliminates any certainty to the claim ‘X disincentivizes work’.
As to Universal Medical Coverage and the road to serfdom, I would point out that, again, the rest of the ‘free world’ has universal healthcare and has not only not been sliding towards authoritarian egalitarian serfdom, but if anything a liberalizing of economic activity while bolstering and tinkering with the Universal health care scheme. The Netherlands and Belgium for instance have hybrid schemes, with universal health care but competition in the insurance sector. They both also experience far lower health care costs, with the Netherlands seeing the best health outcomes in Europe.
Finally, I think we Whigs more than most, should take seriously the evidence and analysis that suggests that big changes are coming and not get locked into ideological talking points of traditional political movements. Most manufacturing and unskilled tasks will be automated within 30 years. We have no way of knowing if there will even be enough work to do to make that system of “the Capitalist American Dream” socially sustainable! One of the dreams of progress is that we will have more leisure, but this goes directly against the notion that “One of the principles of the American system is capitalism. Capitalism encourages people to work harder and make more money. After all, that’s how you move up. That’s how you realize the American Dream.” Universal basic income, Universal medical care, etc. may end up being the only way to maintain the material living standards and healthy community life.