Sunday, September 29, 2013

Entitlements and Obligations

The deal on human society is that one exchanges certain obligations for some entitlements. Libertarians, at least the extreme ones, reject this notion. So do a lot of rich people who nonethesless feel entitled to the protections of armies, courts, laws, and special property rights. Some of those things benefit the non-wealthy, and a few even benefit the poor. The welfare state bargain is that society collects some of its surplus to provide for the non-wealthy.

That bargain is the core of the dispute between the House Republicans and the Democrats who currently control the White House and Senate. The Republicans pretend that the Affordable Care Act is wildly unpopular and that it will present great burdens for average Americans. This is pretty much a manufacturery of whole cloth - every other advanced country in the world has some form of universal or nearly universal healthcare and there is no case that I know of where those citizens have voted to eliminate it.

That's what Republicans fear - not that Americans will dislike the ACA, but that they will like it.