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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Conservatives and Health-Care Socialism

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For a good example of what a disaster conservatives are — and why they are just as responsible as liberals for America’s healthcare (and economic) woes — just look at an article that was published this week in the Washington Times by Thomas R. Saving and John C. Goodman. Saving is director of the Private Enterprise Research Center and Goodman is president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, both of which are conservative organizations devoted to developing “market-oriented” solutions to major public-policy issues.

The thrust of the article? You can tell it by reading the title: “Obama Murdered Medicare.” The case that Saving and Goodman are making against Obamacare is that it hurts Medicare! How about that? As a solution, Saving and Goodman offer a “market-oriented” reform of their own, convinced that their particular reform will help preserve Medicare and make it work more efficiently.

Meanwhile, conservatives continue to rail against President Obama for being a socialist!

Consider this sentence from the first paragraph from the Wikipedia entry on “Healthcare in Cuba”: “The Cuban government operates a national health system and assumes fiscal and administrative responsibility for the health care of all its citizens.”

Everyone concedes that Cuba is a socialist country, right? No one disputes that and especially not conservatives, who have long railed against Cuban socialism.

In fact, free government-provided health care, along with Social Security and public schooling, are the pride and joy of former Cuban president Fidel Castro, one of the most famous socialists in the world. Castro has long held these three government programs up to the world as models of socialist success.

In fact, socialism has been a disaster for Cubans. It’s not a coincidence that the Cuban people have long been on the verge of starvation. That’s what total socialism produces.

But partial socialism isn’t any winner either. It’s not a coincidence that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and public (i.e., government) schooling, all of which have their ideological roots in German socialism, are in chaos and crisis here in the United States. Socialistic programs produce the same adverse consequences as total socialism, albeit to a lesser degree.

The Saving-Goodman article goes to the heart of what is wrong with the conservative movement. Conservatives have come to accept the basic principles of the welfare state and have chosen to devote their lives, resources, and efforts to reforming it and improving it with what they call “market-oriented” reforms.

Suppose Saving and Goodman were in charge of Medicare and had the power to run the program any way they chose. The result would still be chaos and crisis, with people soon calling for new reforms. As Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek repeatedly emphasized, and as the Soviet and Cuban experiences demonstrated, socialism is inherently flawed. No one, not even conservatives, will ever make it work.

Moreover, let’s not forget the moral implications of socialism, including Medicare and Medicaid. It involves the forcible taking of money from those to whom it belongs and using it for the benefit of those to whom it does not belong. The resulting debacle confirms that God has created a consistent universe, one in which immoral means (socialism) produce bad results (chaos and crisis).

When a person is diagnosed with cancer, does the doctor tell the patient: “We’re going to do our best to reform your cancer”? Of course not! He says, “We’re going to do our best to eradicate your cancer because if we leave some of it there it will come back and kill you.” And sometimes radical surgery is required to remove the cancer.

It’s no different with socialism, which is a cancer on the body politic. There is one — and only one — solution to America’s healthcare woes. It lies not in conservative reforms of Medicare and Medicaid. It lies in the libertarian call to immediately repeal Medicare and Medicaid, occupational licensure, and regulation. The way to restore a healthy, vibrant, and prosperous society lies in economic liberty, free markets, and constitutionally limited government, not in warmed-over socialism.

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Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.