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L. Neil Smith's
Number 532, August 16, 2009

"Their real object is to control you and deny you joy."

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Why All The Lies?
by Rob Sandwell

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

When I was a young boy a friend of mine lied to me.

It was a simple, stupid lie. He knew he was lying, I knew he was lying, and we both knew that I could verify or disprove his claims in less than two minutes right then and there.

I didn't call him on it. I decided to let it slide so that he could save face. But I never forgot it. I've thought of that experience for years. Why would someone tell such a lie, knowing that everyone knew they were lying and could easily and quickly prove it to be a lie?

The recent "discussion" in this country over government funded health care reminded me of this experience just this morning. I was listening to a popular radio show host, who claims to be a libertarian, talking about a recent exchange on MSNBC.

You can find a partial transcript here, but the important part is when the opponent of health care, a woman named Katy Abrams, says that she doesn't believe the President when he says you can keep your health care if you like it because, "I heard him say on a quote, on television, that, you know, it may take 5 or 10 years but we will move to a single-payer health."

Then the interviewer replied by stating, repeatedly, that Barack Obama "has never said we will move to a single payer plan."

Now. Anyone who's followed this debate knows that's a lie. He did say it. In 2003. The video is here. And that's not all. Courtesy of

  • In February 2004, about a month before the primary election in the U.S. Senate race, the Associated Press reported the stance of all the candidates on universal health care. "Obama says he supports the idea of universal health care but does not think a single-payer government system is feasible. He says the government should be the health care provider of last resort for the uninsured." In a rundown of all the candidates' positions, the Associated Press summarized Obama's position as "Support, but 'probably not at this stage,' a single-payer government system."
  • In his book The Audacity of Hope, published in October 2006 when he was a U.S. senator, Obama described single-payer as the hope of the left, while those on the right wanted a market-based approach. "It's time we broke this impasse by acknowledging a few simple truths," Obama wrote, suggesting a system much like the one he supports today.
  • In April 2007, a few months after he declared his candidacy for presidency, the Chicago Tribune reported, "Obama has pledged that, if elected, all Americans would have health-care coverage by the end of his first term. He has said he is reluctant to switch to a 'single-payer' national health insurance system because of the difficulty in making a quick transition from the employer-based private system."
  • At his town halls as president, he routinely answers questions about single-payer by saying he would favor it if he were starting a system "from scratch." But he consistently adds that's not the goal of the current reform. "For us to transition completely from an employer-based system of private insurance to a single-payer system could be hugely disruptive, and my attitude has been that we should be able to find a way to create a uniquely American solution to this problem that controls costs but preserves the innovation that is introduced in part with a free-market system," Obama said in Annandale, Va., on July 1, 2009.

This isn't new. This isn't news. Yet this newsman seems unaware of it.

Of course, there's another possibility. It's possible he's lying. It's possible that he's lying, and he knows it. And she knows it too. And he knows that she could prove it easily and quickly. And he's choosing to lie about it anyway.

Which when my friend was trying to impress me with his little white lies was simply foolish. But when you're advocating for theft, violence, and predation against hundreds of millions of individuals, that lie is purely and unequivocally evil.

So, why do people do this? In this case, I believe it is because those advocating on behalf of the state know that you don't have any real influence over their decisions. They know that you don't get a say. They know you can't fight city hall.

During the ABC News Special "Prescription for America," Obama was asked if he would go outside the government plan if it was his family's health on the line and the government plan didn't provide for the necessary care. He began with what would quickly become the pattern for the evening.

First he went out of his way to tell the questioner how worthy he was. Then he related it to his own personal experience.

Then he failed to answer the question.

And that's the most important part. He failed to answer the question. He talked about it. He repeated it.

And then he dodged it and went on to his own talking points. The first of which was making the blanket statement that, "the status quo is untenable." He went on to tell us that the status quo is "bankrupting families...bankrupting businesses...and bankrupting our government." None of which of course addresses the question, but handily frames the debate as completely one sided. What he have must be changed. Without the challenge being raised, he had already completely defeated it.

Of course, he didn't bother to explain why the current system is bankrupting families, businesses, and our government, other than a vague reference to "skewed incentives." But apparently the viewer is supposed to accept that it is and then move on to his next point without asking that question.

He was then asked what he could do to convince the public that there are limits to what the medical industry can provide, and secondly, if there are limits, who designs and enforces the limitations?

Which according to Obama was "the right question." Again, stroking the questioner to obfuscate his digression. His next talking point was that "this isn't an easy problem, if it was easy, we'd have solved it by now." Then he went on to say we needed a uniquely "American" plan, by which he means, don't call it socialism. Next he went on about how we need enough doctors and enough coverage and, most importantly, that we need to drive down cost.

Now, why would we need to drive down cost? Well, according to Obama, if we don't drive down cost we can't achieve any of the other necessary goals of his health care reform, which I suppose is true considering that the cost of his proposed health care reforms would destroy any hope of resurrecting the American economy. But he went on to talk about "payment incentives" for doctors and identified them as one of the key problems with the current system.

And this is where you begin to see another pattern emerge. He mentioned "skewed incentives," he mentioned "payment incentives," he mentioned "incentive structures." Throughout the evening he would go on to mention doctor compensation several times as one of the major hurdles to overcome. Either by lowering it or "restructuring" it. In fact, he identified the fact that doctors are "paid fee for service" as a significant problem.

But why shouldn't doctors get paid to provide their services? Later in the evening he would go on at length about the cost of an education in medicine, and the problems doctors have in paying back their student loans. And yet he clearly argues that they should not be paid for providing their services.

Now, I'm sure he intends for them to be compensated in some way. But getting paid "fee for service" is simply unacceptable.

Then he used an example of the private industry providing high quality, low cost medical care, specifically the Mayo Clinic, as an example of what he wants to achieve. But when it is pointed out to him that his own example proves that the private marketplace can address health care, his response is that the private marketplace isn't doing the right thing overall, and so government has to step in in order to control costs.

So he wants it both ways. He can't point to a single example of state run health care as being successful, so he points to private examples and then argues that the state needs to take over the whole thing because the private sector can't do it right.

He then said, "government, whether you like it or not, is gonna already be involved."

And there you have it. Whether you like it or not, government is gonna be involved. Because they say so, and they have the guns.

They know they can do any damn thing they please, and if you don't like it, they can shoot you.

This is why those supporting nationalized health care feel free to hedge and obfuscate and, when pressed, outright lie in defense of their position. Because they don't really need your compliance.

They can simply compel it.


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