Saturday, October 23, 2010

How "capitalism" works around here

The Freeman tipped me off to a story this week that has stirred in me an even deeper moral outrage against government interventionism. The headline reads:
McDonald's, 29 other firms get health care coverage waivers

Nearly a million workers won't get a consumer protection in the U.S. health reform law meant to cap insurance costs because the government exempted their employers.

Thirty companies and organizations, including McDonald's (MCD) and Jack in the Box (JACK), won't be required to raise the minimum annual benefit included in low-cost health plans, which are often used to cover part-time or low-wage employees.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which provided a list of exemptions, said it granted waivers in late September so workers with such plans wouldn't lose coverage from employers who might choose instead to drop health insurance altogether.

Without waivers, companies would have had to provide a minimum of $750,000 in coverage next year, increasing to $1.25 million in 2012, $2 million in 2013 and unlimited in 2014.

This is how it works in our political economy. If you're important enough, you get exceptions. You pull the right strings, you get what you want. And it's all so that politicians can keep their promises to their constituents. The corruption of this system is staggering.

Here is a principle which ought to be axiomatic: if a law does not apply to all individuals equally at all times, it ceases to be a law. The Obama health care plan is not a law. It is one more step in a long line of structural changes (beginning long before Obama) giving the government more discretionary power over our economic lives. It is a means of making the State not a source of justice, but of coercion; not a source of security, but of direct manipulation. It is another step in the direction of tyranny.

The more discretionary power the government has, the more necessary it will be for businesses to make friends in government. This will increase the power of major corporations, who have the means to hire lobbyists and secure good relations with politicians. This is not a free market. This is a state-led corporatist system, in which the important people are made more secure in their positions over the rest of us, while we make do with whatever is left to us.

When will Americans wake up and realize that this is the antithesis of freedom? When will we stop voting for this injustice?

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