Reading about the bankruptcy of Detroit, it occurs to me that there are some lessons that relate to TUCA (The Unaffordable Care Act). While Murray Rothbard would applaud the city of Detroit for their default on obligations (something he brilliantly recommended as a way for the U.S. to deal with its runaway debt) most see this move by the city of Detroit as an embarrassment. How could this have been avoided?
Once the fourth largest city in the U.S., Detroit now struggles to claim 700,000 as its population. Increases in taxes and fees in an attempt to restore the balance of expenses and revenues only drove more people and businesses away. Bond issues (I wish people would be more honest and use the full name, “bondage”) have been used for years to raise money to pay the city’s bills. I learned recently that having sold an asphalt company, a Detroit philanthropist offered the city 200 million dollars to build charter schools, the condition and quality of the schools being part of the reason for the flight from the city. Under the wise guidance of the teacher union in the city, this offer was refused. There was one thing they didn’t try though. Something that would have worked. Build a high electric, broken-bottle-topped fence so no one could leave.
Sure, there would have been a few unpatriotic skeptics that would have snuck out at night past the guard dogs while the fence was under construction, but most would have seen the fence as making them more secure, I think. Even if the city built the fence now, the increasing numbers of tax slaves over many years might bring the budget back into balance.
But they don’t need to build a fence, as in all likelihood they will receive a bailout courtesy of the folks who are long gone and all the rest of us. We are all in this together, aren’t we? We are all Detroiters, after all. Ich bin ein Detroiter!
Isn’t this the basis for TUCA? We are all in this together, right? Folks with drug problems, obesity and long smoking histories will now enter the “insurance” roles, driving the cost so high that everyone drowns under the weight of their insurance bills. Hardly anyone can afford health care or insurance so let’s adopt a program that makes it even more expensive! Government at its finest. Detroit’s plight is a snapshot of the larger picture of bankrupt government run amok. Giving Detroit a bailout will be like giving an alcoholic another drink.
There is little doubt in my mind that the debt burden of every American related to the national debt is grossly higher than the debt burden of a Detroiter as related to the city of Detroit’s debt. Yet what would everyone think, if now that Detroit has defaulted on their obligations, they announced a new program to provide free health care to all Detroiters? That a bankrupt national government is doing this very thing is no less absurd, their only advantage and difference being that they can bully foreigners into buying treasury bonds.
Forget building a fence to the south to keep illegal aliens out. Maybe to keep the expense and revenue ratios from deteriorating as people consider fleeing the U.S. (at least Detroiters were allowed to leave!), the U.S. “government”should “high-fence” the whole country to keep everyone in. No doubt someone is already drafting this plan and planning their speech for how such a fence benefits us all, making us all more secure.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.