Imagine for a moment visiting a business for the first time.
From the outside, it looks impressive. A beautifully painted sign invites you to buy the company’s product. The windows are clean and new paint glistens on the walls. But as you try to enter, the handle snaps off in your hand and the heavy door nearly takes off your big toe as it slams shut. You manage to work your fingers into the hole left by the errant handle and finagle the door open, demonstrating some impressive dexterity in the process. Once inside, you find paint peeling off the walls, dust coating the floor and no sign of life behind a dirty, dilapidated counter.
You tentatively call out, “Anybody here?”
Just as you turn to leave, a slovenly, unkempt clerk shuffles through a back door and saunters up to the counter.
“Yeah, what d’ya want?”
Now tell me: how much faith would you have in this company to deliver a quality product?
This is essentially what we got with the Obamacare rollout.
We’ve seen all kinds of attention focused on the dysfunctional website. Healthcare.gov looked nice. It featured a snazzy splash page. But it didn’t work. This website serves as the front door into the world of Obamacare, and the handle broke off in our hand.
What does that say about the product the feds will ultimately deliver?
This should not shock anybody. This is exactly what you get with centralized systems.
And there is more to come.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act essentially attempts to micromanage health insurance for more than 350 million people. Lawmakers stuffed the 900-plus page bill with mandates, regulations and fees. The law creates a massive bureaucracy to implement and manage the system. And it empowers unaccountable federal employees to interpret the law and create new rules to power its implementation.
What do you get with centralized systems?
Rising prices. Shortages. Inferior quality. A lack of customer service. Diminishing choices. And ultimately – guns.
Just look at the raging prosperity created by the centralizers in Venezuela.
And the guns.
The Christian Science Monitor reports, “Venezuelan businesses large and small were waiting nervously this week after the government took over a chain of electronics stores and declared ‘fair prices’ would be enforced around the country.”
The report goes on.
“As inflation and shortages of basic goods have spiraled, rhetoric about anti-Bolivarian conspiracies has escalated, culminating in President Maduro’s declaration of war against ‘hoarders and speculators’ last week and with the launch of the crackdown on retailers.”
From the USA Today
“National guardsmen, some of whom had assault rifles, were positioned around outlets of an electronics chain that Maduro has ordered to lower prices or face prosecution. Thousands of people lined up at the Daka stores hoping for a bargain after the government forced the companies to charge ‘fair’ prices.”
Here’s a hard truth: for all of its good intentions, governments cannot suspend basic laws of supply and demand. Just ask the Soviet central planners. Every intervention creates unanticipated consequences. That leads to more intervention in a vicious cycle that ultimately leads to chaos and guns. Maybe not as dramatically or overtly as we see in Venezuela today, but centralization always requires every increasing levels of coercive force to make it “work” and keep people in line.
The Obamacare website meltdown isn’t some anomaly. It isn’t a mistake that America can solve by replacing Kathleen Sebelius. It isn’t just a bump in the road on the way to a successful healthcare overhaul.
This is what you get.
Broken door handles. Dilapidated counters. Slovenly clerks.
Welcome to centralized planning.
Authors note: Thanks to retired Kentucky State Rep. Bill Farmer for inspiring the door analogy.