The Single-Payer / Public-Option Lie
The old joke goes something like this: How can you tell a politician is lying? Easy. His lips are moving.
While elected officials have contributed mightily to our perception of their honesty they are not entirely responsible for their reputation. Having been an athlete for many years on all three sides of the ball - playing, coaching, and referring - I've come to understand one very important fact: emotions influence perception. If someone has a bias towards an ideology or solution the mind is very good at justifying a choice of that particular ideology or soultion. Even to the exclusion of otherwise obvious facts to the contrary. We've all seen this and is something of which most are guilty.
But there is one point in the single-payer approach to healthcare that is a clear cut lie being pandered by the left. It goes something like this. Healthcare is too expensive so we need a "public option." This public option, it is said by many long time supporters of a single payer system, will foster competition between insurance companies and result in lower rates. That is what is being said.
The reality is much different though, and here is how. Elected officials in favor of the public option are almost unanimously in favor of single payer. Single payer, however, means the legislative elimination of all competition. So on the one hand they are saying that the public option is good because it will increase competition and thereby reduce costs, while on the other hand they are on record as favoring a plan that will eliminate all competition. And no-competition always means only one thing, higher prices. In point of fact, they are supporting opposite solutions with opposite outcomes for the healthcare problem. Since it is unlikely they are unaware of this cognitive dissonance the question becomes, for the rest of us, "Why?"
One thing that can be said about Barney Frank and his ilk is that he is a consumate politician. He wants single payer. He also knows he can't get single payer in a single step. So what does a career bureaucrat do when he wants something he can't get? He introduces step legislation. Step legislation can come in two forms. It can be written badly so that interpretation by judges can give the bill's supporters what they want. Or, it can begin the process, increase people's dependency, hamstringing the competition, so that bills introduced later will face less and less resistance. Current versions of the healthcare bill in the house and senate take both approaches.
In some cases it is difficult to know exactly what someone's motives are. If you'd asked a German citizen on the street in 1934 what Germany was going to be like in 1944, I doubt any of them would have predicted a police state with institutionalized death camps. Unless they'd read Mein Kampf. Hitler wrote Mein Kampf while he was imprisoned for having attempted to stage a coup. It spelled out his intentions in detail. But his party was swept into power anyway and he was ultimated appointed Chancellor. The part about the Third Reich being utterly defeated and Germany destroyed and split in the process wasn't in Mein Kampf, however. No doubt an oversight by the Fuhrer.
Do I think Obama is Hitler and the US Germany? Of couse he isn't and no we're not (though Hitler was actually Austrian and the Nazis swept into power amid the tumult of a Global economic meltdown.) But history tells us only too well what happens when mere men are granted power over their brothers. Hitler lost control of the machine he built. While he is responsible for the Holocaust through his association with passing laws that allowed it to take place, he is neither solely responsible nor directly or indirectly guilty of each and every atrocity. In fact, once certain legislative doors had been opened, the fate of Nazi Germany was inevitable. The first laws against Jews didn't order them to death camps, they merely curtailed their economic rights. When that weakened them, and strengthened others, more laws followed. The door only needed to be cracked.
So, how do you tell when a politician is lying? Well, it is when he's lying.
Futbol Guru, http://mises.org/community/blogs/not-a-lemming