Sunday’s San Jose Mercury News contains an anti-government op-ed by George Will, “Democrats want nation dependent on government“. (The online headline is different.)
This sounds scary, sinister, even somehow slightly evil. But if you look into the meaning of the words, the effect changes.
Here is what I mean. In America government is us. Our Constitution is the defining document of our government and it
couldn’t be clearer, declaring that We, the People formed this country “to promote
the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to
ourselves”… In other words, watch out for and take care of each other; “We, the People” have banded together to watch out for each other, take care of each other and build institutions to protect and empower each other.
So with them real meaning of the words in mind Will’s headline becomes “Democrats want nation to take care of each other.” Will is exactly right, and good for them.
Will’s column is about the national healthcare reform battle and proposals for a “public option,” which offers a Medicare-like health insurance plan to all of our citizens. Will opposes this, because,
“Competition from the public
option must be unfair because government does not need to make a profit
and has enormous pricing and negotiating powers.”
In other words, he is complaining that a public option health insurance plan will provide more benefits to more citizens at a lower cost. Will casts this as a bad thing, because it threatens the ability of a few wealthy business owners to profit from people’s need for health care.
Profits for a few instead of benefits to the public appears to be his idea of the purpose of government. But to the rest of us the point of health care reform is to take better care of each other while lowering the costs. This is why the “public option” is necessary — private, profit-driven companies are not designed to accomplish delivery of essential services to everyone. Profit-driven companies are designed to deliver only to those who are willing to pay the most, which when applied to essential human needs violates fundamental tenets of democracy. We are supposed to be a one-person-one-vote country, not a one-dollar-one-vote country.
Again, Will and other conservatives use lots of scary words. But if you look at the meanings of the words, their complaint is with Americans who want to enjoy the fruits of democracy and equality, and take care of each other.
And this is supposed to be a bad thing?