Last night, I had an interesting debate with a friend on Twitter, focused around the need for entitlements in the country.
The trigger for the debate was my friend’s belief that if Obamacare is repealed, Republicans/Conservatives need to have a replacement for it. My point was that such an action would be self-defeating. The problem with the law is that it is a destructive leviathan that will only damage the country. Replacing it with a smaller law that creates new government systems like the old misses the point of repealing it.
Now, of course, there are things like TORT reform and eliminating sales barriers that can be passed by the legislature. However, any sort of legislation that tries to imitate the ACA is liable to give us the very situation we are in now.
I understand my friend’s concerns. She suffers from medical conditions worries how to pay for treatment. This is compounded by the fact that she’s fairly young (in her early 30s) and struggling to get/stay employed. However, despite the compassion I feel for her, that does not change my belief that trying to replace the healthcare law is wrong.
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The idea of “doing something” seems to be very much ingrained into our national psyche of late. It was the mentality that gave us Obamacare in the first place. This is the same mentality that drove the aborted drive for immigration reform, gun control, the stimulus, et al.
There is always an overriding need to “do something” to solve a problem. When “something” is finally done, the very act of acting is valued higher than the quality of the action.
Even when life is rough, however, this is no way to approach problem-solving. As we’ve seen with the ACA, there are dramatic short term consequences, from spiking insurance premiums to a crippled job market. Of course, all of this was predicted by the law’s architects (who seek a single-payer insurance system) and its critics.
And all of these consequences will affect for years into the future. Short term thinking can lead to very bad short and long term results. Even if someone immediately benefits from a particular action, the consequences can grow with time.
Demanding the government “do something” to help you or someone else is, essentially, an entitlement mentality. It’s the mindset that government is supposed to be there for you when you are in trouble. Ever since the first federal entitlements were created, this mentality has grown in the country.
And it grows every time a “do something” law is passed.
This entitlement mentality reinforces the belief that it is the government’s job to save us from bad things in our lives. Before, this was only applied to the unexpected in life — after all, what is the harm in helping those who truly cannot help themselves?
However, it has increasingly come to mean aiding those who have made bad life decisions, as well. Remember all the calls for college loan forgiveness? Those are 20 and 30-something adults who believe they don’t have to live the consequences of their poor decision-making regarding college.
The pervasive “it’s governments job to take care of me” mind-set has to change. It will neither be quick nor easy, but the people of this country must start thinking differently.