One of America's leading authorities on technology and telecom policy, Motley is a writer, television and radio commentator, political and policy strategist, lecturer, debater, activist, and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.
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I have a bit of Economics 101 knowledge for the collectivist Left.
You know who I mean. The Bernie Sanders “‘Free’ Health Care and ‘Free’ College for All” types.
The people who think the United States’ $18 trillion economy magically came into being – totally devoid of the profit motive.
That our 300+ million people are willing to put in 40-60 hours a week (and often more) – with no thought at all of remuneration.
That our nation’s job providers will hire our job seekers – not thinking at all of making sure their businesses can pay for them…let alone make some coin above and beyond their wages and benefits.
That our nation’s investors will put at risk their coin – without any interest in trying to get a positive monetary return on said investments.
You know – the Delusional Ones.
In a U.S. Senate hearing, Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul very cordially, very adroitly schooled Senator Sanders on the “right” to “free” health care:
“I’m a physician. That means you have the ‘right’ to come to my house and conscript me. That means you believe in slavery. It means you’re going to enslave not only me but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants who work in my office, the nurses.
“If you have a ‘right’ to their services – basically, once you imply that you have a ‘right’ to someone’s services…do you have a ‘right’ to plumbing? Do you have a ‘right’ to water? Do you have a ‘right’ to food? You’re basically saying you believe in slavery. You’re saying you believe in taking and extracting from another person.
“Our founding documents were very clear about this….There is no guarantee of concrete items. In order to give someone something concrete or someone’s services – you’ve got to take it from someone. Where there is an implied threat of force.”
On what Senator Paul was so eloquently expounding – is the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment. Specifically its Takings Clause:
“A taking is when the government uses, regulates, and seizes private property. This action is governed by rules set by legislatures. In addition, the Fifth Amendment requires the government to pay ‘just compensation’ when taking property for public use. This requirement applies to the states as well as the federal government.”
Per Senator Paul, of course a person’s time and effort – are a part of his property.
As we’ve seen time and again from government medicine programs like Medicare and Medicaid – in which provider participation is at least somewhat voluntary – the compensation…is anything but just.
Doctors Refuse To Accept Medicare Patients: “As doctors become more frustrated with Medicare’s reimbursement rates…many are displaying their dissatisfaction by not treating Medicare patients.”
Fewer Doctors Willing to Treat Medicaid Patients: “Doctors say they can’t survive on state Medicaid payments that fail to cover basic costs of seeing patients. Ohio hasn’t increased payments to doctors in three years. Kentucky hasn’t raised rates since 1993.”
Great news for government-medicine-expanding Obamacare, is it not?
Not enough money – not enough medicine. Government not compensating justly – results in providers justly not providing. Human nature yet again rearing its head – much to the Collectivists’ collective chagrin.
This is bad for the providers. And even worse for the hundreds of millions of Joe and Joan Patients – looking to get medical care provided.
Then there’s the physical property someone pays to build. Which is of course also his property.
And after building it, it must be maintained and often expanded to meet the needs of those using it. That costs even more coin – on an ongoing, rolling basis.
But if the government starts mandating others access to said property – you will see the continued investment coin dry up faster than we’ve seen providers flee Medicare and Medicaid.
No matter what government calls that mandate. As we have seen – government is very good at naming things the exact opposite of what they actually are.
To wit: The aforementioned Obamacare’s official name is, bizarrely, “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” It has crushed patients – and rendered care astronomically unaffordable.
Sometimes they call greater regulation – “deregulation.” To wit: Electric service “deregulation.” Which is more government – a vast increase in regulations. Oh – and is a quintessential violation of the Takings Clause.
You have one electricity line into your house. Owned by one entity – either a government or a private company. That entity spent the money to connect your house – to the vast electrical grid for which it also paid.
That grid – is in constant need of maintenance, and often expansion. Which of course requires even more coin – on an ongoing, rolling basis.
That entity – rightly has exclusive use of that line and that grid. Because they paid for it – it’s theirs.
Just like you have a monopoly on the house you purchased that is getting said electricity. You paid for it – it’s yours.
Well, under the false flags of “deregulation “ and “competition,” Florida is considering mandating that the owners of said electricity lines – let competitors to their businesses use them too.
Get that? If there are five companies or fifty using the same line – that’s about the phoniest “competition” in the history of competition.
And that mandate – is a whole lot more government. Which is about the phoniest “deregulation” in the history of deregulation.
And all of this – is a massive Takings Clause violation.
Oh – and as we’ve seen time and again, government is absolutely awful at ensuring the “just compensation” thing.
As we’ve seen with Medicare and Medicaid, this phony “competition” – only makes matters worse for Joe and Joan Patients.
And as we’ve seen with electricity “deregulation” elsewhere – things only get worse for Joe and Joan Customers:
“In Texas’ deregulated retail market, consumers experienced brownouts in 2011, 2014 and 2015.
“In New York in December 2016, the PSC halted the sale of electricity and natural gas to low-income consumers, seeking to protect them from unscrupulous marketers.
“In 2014 in Connecticut, thousands of residents complained about their utility bills; deregulated suppliers were shown to charge nearly three times more than customers of the state’s two regulated suppliers.”
Am I a fan of monopolies – especially government ones? I am not.
I have for decades excoriated the government Post Office’s government-mandated monopoly on First Class mail.
But there is zero rationalization for it. UPS, FedEx and others – would not be using Post Office property were they too to get into the First Class mail delivery business.
But the electricity lines – were paid for by someone. They’re theirs.
They can lease space on them to competitors if they wish.
But the government is Constitutionally and rationally prohibited from mandating that they do so.
Because that isn’t “competition.” And it isn’t “deregulation.”
It’s a Takings Clause violation.
And it is really stupid policy – from the perspective of Joe and Joan Customers everywhere.
[Originally Published at RedState]