Will Americans in 2020 Repudiate 1776?

Deane Waldman, MD MBA - 26/02/20

Before the Revolutionary War, residents of the North American colonies were subjects of the British crown. They were entitled to as much or as little as the aristocracy allowed. Their living conditions and daily activities were dictated by the government. They paid whatever taxes were arbitrarily imposed by the crown.

In 1776, the founding fathers rejected such centralized control and replaced it with a structure that gave primacy-freedom-to the individual. The new Americans were free to make their own choices. They were free to reap the benefits of their decisions and their work. They were entitled to nothing, except opportunity.

The policies advocated by current contenders for the Democrat presidential nomination, exemplified by Senator Bernie Sanders, repudiate what the founding fathers did in 1776. Is that really what Americans want?

Senator Sanders proclaims that Americans are entitled to free healthcare, free housing, free education, as well as government protection from grasping capitalist banks and corporate CEOs. He says that Americans are not entitled to energy derived from fossil fuels, nor to certain private properties, such as private health insurance or excessive income, by his definition of excessive.

As used by Democrats, the word "free" does not mean no cost. It refers to the lack of a charge to the individual at the point of service or activity. All entitlements are very expensive, costing trillions of federal funds. Washington has no money of its own. The money it has to spend comes from Americans, directly in tax revenue or indirectly by borrowing against our children's future.

Sanders' "free" healthcare plan, Medicare-for-All, will cost Americans $30-40 trillion over ten years. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) cost only $1.76 trillion. More ominous then the ridiculous cost, Medicare-for-All will fail to provide the care that Americans need.

The cost of Democrat free education is projected as $1.6 trillion. Free housing is estimated at $2.5 trillion, and at least $16 trillion for the "green new deal" to eliminate oil and gas. As a side effect, his energy plan would put an end to air travel. The combined cost of these free entitlements is more than $60 trillion, which represents 69 percent of the combined total annual production of all nations on planet earth!

A slogan of the rebelling Americans in 1776 was "taxation without representation is tyranny." In other words, 1776 Americans said they should decide how their tax monies are spent. If Americans in 2020 support "free" but insanely expensive entitlements, they will elect a government that will tax without restraint, will more than double Americans' tax burden, and will spend taxpayer dollars however the politicians choose, not how the people want.

There is a more fundamental issue at stake in the 2020 elections: freedom. The 1776 Revolutionary War is also called Americans' War of Independence. It made individuals independent from the federal government, rather than dependent on it or entitled to its handouts.

Americans in 1776 understood that if they accepted government entitlements they would cede their right to choose to the government. The U.S. Constitution has built-in checks and balances to restrain government encroachment on personal liberties such as the separation of powers and the Bill of Rights. The Constitution was written to protect individual freedom from central domination and tyranny, a word tyranny that appears four times in the Declaration of Independence.

Accepting government entitlements, what Chief Justice Roberts called "federal blandishments," repudiates the very foundation of our nation: the autonomy of the individual. Entitlements return Americans to a child-like state where a Father Knows Best totalitarian government decides for us. It chooses our food, housing, education, and healthcare. Government becomes the responsible adult taking care of irresponsible American children who are incapable of making the right choices for themselves.

Consider Father Washington's track record of "responsible" decisions in healthcare. Medicaid and Tricare fail to deliver timely care to their 84 million enrollees. As a result, children and veterans die waiting in line for care. Washington's medical program for seniors, Medicare, will go broke in less than six years. The Emergency Transport and Active Labor Act of 1986 created the unfunded mandate that is forcing rural hospitals to close. The Affordable Care Act more than doubled the price of health insurance and made care less available, not more. Federally promised entitlements are the height of irresponsibility. Federal decisions were and are the wrong choices for us.

If Americans vote to accept Democrats' entitlement promises, history tells us what will happen. Consider the examples of the now defunct U.S.S.R., today's Communist China, or Venezuela for that matter. Entitlement will restore government tyranny and totalitarianism.

Are Americans ready to give away our hard-won, infinitely precious freedom and personal responsibility for so-called free entitlements and government control? Americans can be entitled or free, they cannot be both.



Why Read This Article:

The policies advocated by current contenders for the Democrat presidential nomination, exemplified by Senator Bernie Sanders, repudiate what the founding fathers did in 1776. Is that really what Americans want?

By Deane Waldman, MD, MBA, author of "Curing the Cancer in U.S. Healthcare"

Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics, Pathology and Decision Science, and holds the "Consumer Advocate" position on the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange, and Adjunct Scholar (Healthcare) for the Rio Grande Foundation.

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