Economic issues have been front and center for everyone since mid-2008 when the current slowdown started to be felt. In an effort to get the best of political opponents, people of every stripe have thrown a considerable amount of blame in every direction, but most versions of the story have been woefully incomplete and inadequate if not outright false.
In Minnesota, the situation has been no different as titanic battles of the same sort have been faced and fought by opinionmakers and politicians. Try as they might, their analyses are just as shortsighted and doomed to failure as nearly everyone else’s due to too narrow a focus, lack of awareness, or even willingness to pander to simplistic thinkers.
Take the issue of health care. Everyone wants to talk about it, complain about it, and legislate about it. To the detriment of all, this fighting never once questions the fundamental system presently in place, the third-party payer system, preferring to leave that system completely intact, an effective rearrangement of peripheral details. If everyone did question the third-party payer system, local policymakers would suddenly discover that no matter what’s done in Minnesota, the system itself remains untouched, the system drawing its existence from Washington, D.C. and the power wielded there.
The current health care system came into being back in the 1940’s under the Roosevelt Administration. As part of the war effort at the time, the administration imposed a wage freeze. To placate complaints that cropped up in the wake of the freeze, the administration made an offer to employers: pay for employees’ health care and employers could take a tax deduction for the expense. In this way, the federal government created the health care and benefits industries as we know them overnight. All of the abuses that have followed can be blamed on that initial act by the Roosevelt Administration because that act called into existence the entire system as we know it.
Worse yet, one must work at a job for someone else to participate in that artificially-created system, a system that has only seen more meddling from the federal and state levels.
Until the government-created, third-party payer system is questioned in its entirety, nothing will change. Challenge that system, and true health care reform can become a reality.