slav·ery (noun) \ˈslā-v(ə-)rē\
1: drudgery, toil
2: submission to a dominating influence
Individuals have a right to the fruits of their labor. When some entity uses force to expropriate the fruits for which an individual has toiled, when the individual is coerced under the threat or use of force to submit to a dominating influence of that other entity, then, by definition, the individual is being subjected to slavery.
Antonyms for “slavery”, of course, are “freedom” and “liberty”. Slavery being the opposite of Liberty, when some entity uses force to impose its will on an individual, the entity is violating the individual’s Liberty and, by definition, subjecting him to slavery.
Government effort to get an individual to participate in a market against their will, to expend the fruits of their labor not through voluntary exchange for mutual benefit, but under the threat of force, is ipso facto a violation of his Liberty and equivalent to subjecting him to slavery.
We have this system in which Congress passes laws, the president signs them, and then they go into effect. The Affordable Care Act went through this process, and there is no legitimate way … to stop it.
It is nonsense to say “there is no legitimate way” to stop Obamacare when there was no legitimate way to pass it in the first place, the so-called Affordable Care Act being patently unconstitutional.
Then Krugman explains the Act:
Start with the goal that almost everyone at least pretends to support: giving Americans with pre-existing medical conditions access to health insurance. Governments can, if they choose, require that insurance companies issue policies without regard to an individual’s medical history, “community rating,” and some states, including New York, have done just that. But we know what happens next: many healthy people don’t buy insurance, leaving a relatively bad risk pool, leading to high premiums that drive out even more healthy people.
To avoid this downward spiral, you need to induce healthy Americans to buy in; hence, the individual mandate, with a penalty for those who don’t purchase insurance. Finally, since buying insurance could be a hardship for lower-income Americans, you need subsidies to make insurance affordable for all.
So there you have it….
There you have it. Let’s reiterate that:
1) Government intervened in the market by subsidizing employ-provided insurance making it a dominant means of insuring people, thus greatly exacerbating the problem of Americans not being able to get insurance due to pre-existing conditions when they lose their job (if government hadn’t intervened in the market this way, more people would have individual instead of employer-provided insurance and thus wouldn’t need to obtain new insurance when switching jobs).
2) So, rather than repealing the stupid policies that so greatly contributed to this problem, the government’s “solution” is to just use force and forbid insurance providers from denying people for pre-existing conditions, thus defeating the whole purpose of insurance (imagine forbidding fire insurance providers from denying a homeowner a policy after his house has already burned down). This, of course, creates a strong disincentive to buy insurance unless and until one gets sick and requires a significant amount of health care, which in turn means higher premiums for those who do have insurance.
3) So, rather than repealing the stupid policies that caused this problem, the government’s “solution” is to just use force to make everybody buy insurance, whether they want to or not, whether it is in their own financial interests or not, thus creating such perverse incentives as punishing people who eat a healthful diet and exercise by forcing them to subsidize their neighbors whose high health care costs are a consequence of their unhealthy lifestyles. In other words, the government’s “solution” to all the problems it created by intervening in the market is to infringe on individual’s Liberty, to effectively subject them to slavery, to force them to toil only to have the fruits of their labor expropriated from them and given to someone else.
Krugman opines that this system that enslaves individuals “isn’t going to be the often-predicted ‘train wreck.’ On the contrary, it’s going to work.”
No, it isn’t.
Krugman has elsewhere opined that such wealth “redistribution”, that violating individuals’ Liberty in such a manner and subjecting some people to slavery for the supposed benefit of others, “makes almost everyone better off”.
No, it doesn’t.
Apart from those whose Liberty is infringed upon obviously not being better off, wealth redistribution also does not make those most needy better off. The reason for this is that government bureaucrats do not know better than the market, with its pricing system, how to efficiently direct scarce resources towards productive ends. The market incentive is for producers of a good or providers of a service to provide the highest quality for the lowest price, since it is by so satisfying consumer demand that they are able to make a profit. Prices are signal that direct entrepreneurs and investors where to direct capital such that scarce resources are put to efficient use to satisfy consumer demand. Absent the market’s pricing system, bureaucrats have no way of knowing how to efficiently direct resources, and must make decisions about how to do so at best arbitrarily, assuming good intentions. They have no way of knowing that resources they direct to one purpose would not have been more productively directed to another.
Moreover, whereas decisions about where to direct resources in the market are based on prices determined through voluntary exchange for mutual benefit, decisions about where to direct resources in government are invariably based on the threat or use of force to expropriate wealth for “redistribution”.
Not nearly so self-evident is how a system of slavery is supposed to make “everyone better off” than a system of Liberty. Both on practical and moral grounds, the latter would seem, on the face of it, a superior way to go.