Deconstructing Ignorance

You have to shake your head in wonderment at the political messages you see on Facebook and other social media during an election year.

Take the above political messages…

Seems rational and straightforward, but like 99.99% of political messages, it is grounded more in emotion than fact. I thought I’d take the time to deconstruct this particular message by removing the emotional responses and replacing them with logical reasoning.

“I don’t want free healthcare; I want my taxes to pay for healthcare, not war or violence”.

Seems reasonable enough, right?

The reality is that every great society is built around its ability to wage war. Human nature being what it is, it takes military might to maintain peace at home and to defend the homeland, if necessary.

I won’t rehash my stance on healthcare except to say that the Affordable Care Act was a great step in the right direction and the controversial individual mandate was not nearly strong enough to make the law even more effective.

That said, the biggest problem with our healthcare system is not the cost as much as it is the two things that primarily drive healthcare costs:

-Americans’ poor diets and bad habits (smoking, drug and alcohol abuse)

-The lack of emphasis on preventive healthcare

Giving everyone Medicare coverage will not make the cost of healthcare cheaper or more effective. It will just shift the costs on to taxpayers.

“I don’t want money for nothing; I want the opportunity for a job that pays for at least my basic needs”.

This is not a problem that public policy (government) is going to fix. Getting and maintaining a good job that pays the bills is a function of personal responsibility.

Nothing worth having, such as a good job that pays well enough to meet basic needs, ever comes easily. The money you are able to make will always be in direct proportion to the level and type of service that you can provide.

If you are not making enough money to meet basic needs, then you must first look at the value you are providing. A minimum wage job was never meant to support a family.

“I don’t expect every election to bring the results I want; I just want my vote to count”

I can only assume that the person who authored this message is referring to the Electoral College. Perhaps the author might also be referring to election fraud.

Well, election fraud is not the problem, so much as it is people not bothering to vote at all. 50% to 60% of the electorate does not even bother to vote in presidential elections and up to 70% don’t bother to vote in midterm elections. Why don’t we fix that problem first? Why do we continue to hold elections in the middle of the work week?

Election fraud is the least of the problems with voting in this country.

As to the Electoral College, without it, the East and West Coasts would perpetually decide every presidential election. The system isn’t perfect, but it ensures that the people in Wyoming have a proportional voice to California and New York.

“I don’t want businesses to be unprofitable; I want them to stay out of the regulatory and political processes”.

Businesses should not be allowed to engage in practices that harm citizens for their own benefit, but business interests are allowed to have a say in the political process just like individual people do. Ours is a pluralistic democracy (groups with shared interests influence public policy). The problem is that far too many people in this country don’t participate in the political process at all.

“I don’t want the wealthy to pay for everything; I want them to pay their fair share”.

I’ve yet to hear anyone who says some variation of this statement clearly articulate what the wealthiest people’s “fair share” should be. The wealthiest Americans already pay the lion’s share of taxes in this country.

The wealthiest one percent of Americans pay 39.5% of the taxes. I’d say they are paying their fair share already.

“I don’t want open borders; I want a path to citizenship for Dreamers and realistic immigration laws that are dignified, humane, and fair”.

I have no quibble with this one. It’s the only part of the above message that is grounded in rationalism.

I’ve addressed immigration reform on this blog in the past, so I won’t rehash the issue here. My comments on immigration reform largely agree with the statement in the above message.

Well, that’s my take on the above subjects…

-The Rational Ram

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