Our libertarian princess Megan McArdle is back at work, analyzing economic events so you don't have to. We are graced with another post on health care costs and how Medicare is doooooooomed!!, although it's a little difficult to determine her point since she tries to imply it, not say it. That's not exactly a winning strategy in journalism, which purports to find out what is happening and pass it on to the rest of the world, but when you say things like "Medicare will be bankrupt soon and health care reform will kill your granny," people respond with facts and statistics that make you look silly. Much better to link to someone who quotes someone who says something that you want to pour into your audience's ear like poison.
Yes, money is wasted in the current health care system, McArdle admits, but cuts will mean people will die due to rationing. Cutting unessential medical treatments will lead to millions of deaths. Finding cheaper ways to handle paperwork will kill your Granny. Using government power to lower prices will mean you'll spend your last year in agony and then die a hideous death. In the back of our minds, of course, we all realize that rising insurance rates will kill us, no insurance will kill us, rescission will kill us, pre-existing conditions will kill us, and not fighting for national health will kill us, but come on people, it's profit for corporations we're talking about here, not survival of the middle class.
Perhaps Medicare will go bankrupt if we don't do anything about it. Maybe we will have to end all public welfare because we are just treading water until the country realizes that all that money in the financial system went poof! and won't come back, and that the outsourced jobs aren't coming back either. But make no mistake, the end of "entitlements" is a goal, not an unfortunate side effect. If you can make millions off financial trickery, get the taxpayer to hand you billions more, and then tell them that you can't afford to pay for their health care any more, the end of social security and medicare is merely another step towards achieving your goal of amassing as much personal wealth as humanly possible.
Much like the intellectual right, the American consumer is no longer as important as he thinks he is. Corporate CEOs routinely go on CNBC and inform their acolytes that they expect more and more of their profits to come from abroad. When they can no longer wring any more money from us they'll have no use for us at all, except as cannon fodder to fight for their access to oil.