Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Health Reform, Economic Prosperity, Social Justice

Social prosperity means man happy, the citizen free, the nation great.

Victor Hugo (180101185), Les Miserables

Without prosperity, there is no happiness, no social justice, and no national greatness. Lack of prosperity is the root cause of the Jefferson, Missouri riots, racial divide, unrest over ObamaCare, and America’s intense political partisanship.

That is why we have a hollowing out of America’s middle class, why American business resisting ObamaCare with its financial penalties for not offering unnecessarily expensive health plans for all employees, and why ObamaCare with its unaffordable premiums is perpetually unpopular.

There is no mystery to all of these things. After six years of the ObamaCare presidency, economic growth averages 2.5% instead of 3% to 4% required to recover from severe economic recessions, the track record for recovery from previous recessions since World War Two.
It is no longer sufficient politically to blame the Bush administration and Republicans and to absolve one’s self from personal responsibility from one’s failed policies. Something has to give. And that may be a new party with policies leading the nation out of the political wilderness with no hope for American successes, domestic and foreign.

Domestically, for health reform, this may entail abandoning the individual and employer mandates, embracing health savings accounts and consumer responsibilities for choices and health behavior, permitting health plan competition across state lines, allow private experts to run the flawed health exchanges, guaranteeing price and information transparency in the private and government sectors, and lowering corporate taxes averaging 35% or more, prompting American corporations to relocate their headquarters abroad and to hire foreign workers and sacrifice American workers.

It would also help to OK the Keystone pipeline, encourage fracking, and promote energy independence.

In foreign affairs it may involve a leadership based on the perception of strength rather than weakness, on leading from the front rather than the back, on strengthening rather than weakening the military, on decisive military actions rather than tentative passive decisions.

And it may take a rereading of classic books outlining the importance of prosperity in assuring social justice. In Benjamin Friedman’s 2005 book The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth, he says,

“The moral value of a rising standard of living lies not just in the concrete imporvments it brings to how individuals live but in how it shapes the scoical, political, and ultimately the moral character of a people…More often than not, it fosters greater opportunity, tolerance of diversity, social mobility, commitment to fairness, an dedications to democracy…When living standards stagnate or decline, most societies make little or no progress towards any of these goals.”

What we have now is partisanship and class hatred. This is why economic growth is the best formula for lifting economic boats of all classes of society and avoid the clashes that beleaguer us now.

In the words of William A. Galston of the WSJ (“Shared Prosperity Is A Moral Imperative, “ (Aug. 20),

“Broad prosperity is the the oil that lubricates the machinery of government and the glue that binds our society together. Economic stagnation mans gridlocked, zero-sum politics and a turn away from the spirit of generosity that only a people confident of its fture can sustain.”

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