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A fair field and no favor

March 24, 2012

Almost sixty years on from the McCarthy witch hunts, the terms “socialism” and “communism” are still dirty words in the American political vernacular.  That posturing, of course, belies the reality that Americans are quite comfortable with, used to, and even desirous of, a certain amount of socialism in their government.  However, they have no gift at all for its practical application.  Consider the furor going on in this year’s political campaigns over whose healthcare plan is the most fair and most feasible, for example.

The real source of the so-called healthcare crisis, which none of the preening peacocks who call themselves presidential candidates have bothered to notice, is that patients are absurdly overcharged by physicians for no reason at all.  Consequently, the logical solution to the problem would be, instead of trying to create expensive aid packages that would enable the average person to afford medical services, to forbid doctors from overcharging patients.  Such a law, in order to be effective, would contain two major provisions.  First, doctors would not be allowed to charge patients at an hourly rate greater than the patient’s own rate of income.  Unemployed patients could only be charged at the rate of minimum wage.  Second, the law would include a provision that if a doctor failed to cure a patient he treated, he would have no right to be paid.  Blatant socialism and interference with the free market, yes, but then what kind of government healthcare program isn’t?  And at least it would be genuinely benevolent socialism.  Which is more fair, ensuring that the general population of three hundred million and the national government become insolvent in order to line the pockets of a few puffed-up incompetents, or forcing the few puffed-up incompetents to live a less hypocritical lifestyle and actually work for a living while fulfilling the terms of their oaths?

In a previous post I addressed the issue of how the government, by virtue of being an impersonal body itself, discriminates financially in favor of corporations, which are also impersonal bodies.  This favoritism is another national issue that has come in for heavy criticism recently.  Again, the issue could be resolved with one simple law to level the playing field.  There is a key difference between how corporations and individuals are treated for taxation.  Humans are taxed on every penny they make, regardless of expenses, while corporations merely pay tax on profit after expenses.  Workers can’t deduct their food and lodging from their income in determining their tax liability, but corporations can deduct their workers from their income before they pay tax.  But this is a very easy fix.  Eliminate the disparity.  Either start taxing corporations on all their income, not just profit, or start taxing individuals only on surplus income.  Either choice would be more fair than the current system.  In this case the alternatives aren’t even socialist, merely logical.

Americans spent years screaming for a fair field and no favor abroad.  They need to learn that fairness begins at home and that it must actually be applied to everyone in order to work.


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