Obamacare Not Enough, Now Progressives Want Your Retirement

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Now that Progressives have control over our healthcare, they want our retirement accounts as well.  Using what Linda Gorman calls the “health care playbook,” progressives are aiming their snare guns at one of the final untouched frontiers in American individualism, the retirement account.

“Progressive activists are in the early stages of attempting to create a retirement security crisis. Using the health care playbook, they claim that people lack access to ‘adequate retirement security’.  The lack of access is said to impose large costs on everyone else because people without ‘retirement security’ consume more public assistance payments. Government must ‘solve’ the problem because only government can provide secure retirement investment options for all by mandating that people purchase them.”

Under the guise of “security” and led by the false identification of a “public good,” the Left will tout any retirement reform much the same way Obama and the Left sold Obamacare to the public.  The “public good” is in danger because a lack of coverage by too many will drive up costs.  Meanwhile, this ignores the economic reality that universal access destroys market access, which drives up costs while greatly diminishing quality.  More importantly is that the notion of a “public good” is not definable.  Rather, it is merely clever jargon to disguise the coercive nature of wealth redistribution schemes.  In the words of Ayn Rand, “since the public is merely a number of individuals, the idea that ‘the public interest’ supersedes private interests and rights, can have but one meaning: that the interests and rights of some individuals take precedence over the interests and rights of others.” (my emphasis)  The Left has used this jargon as their rallying cry since before LBJ’s Great Society experiment began, and whether accepted or rejected, the “public good” provided the largest of Obama’s soap boxes when campaigning his healthcare reform.  They will assuredly use it here if such legislation makes its way out of Colorado onto the national political scene.

Before you write this off as a close call and go about your day, keep a couple of things in mind.  First, passage of House Bill 1377 in Colorado failed by only 1 Senate vote.  And second, Colorado was also the staging ground for many aspects included in Obamacare.  Ari Armstrong over at The Objective Standard Blog says this:

“Three years before the 2010 passage of the national ObamaCare law, a “blue ribbon” commission in Colorado explored—at the behest of the state legislature—ways to expand government involvement in health care. Among other proposals, the commission recommended forcing ‘all legal residents of Colorado to have minimum insurance coverage’, ‘providing sliding-scale subsidies for low-income workers to purchase private coverage’, and creating a government ‘Connector’ to assist individuals and small employers to understand and choose among insurance options.”

In true statist fashion, the government claims the rights of some to fix problems itself creates.  From the Great Recession to the entitlement crisis, government solutions for government-created problems are becoming the hallmark of U.S government.

 

Should Obesity be a Government-Protected Disability?

Dan Mitchell from the Cato Institute shows yet another example of over-reaching government intervention.  According to a BBC report, European leaders are debating the merits of classifying obesity as a protected disability.

“The EU’s top court is considering a test case which could oblige employers to treat obesity as a disability.  Denmark has asked the European Court of Justice to rule on the case of a male childminder who says he was sacked for being too fat….The court’s final ruling will be binding across the EU….Audrey Williams, an employment discrimination expert at Eversheds law firm, said the judges would have to decide ‘whether obesity itself should trigger preferential rights, or should only impact where an individual, due to obesity, has other recognised medical issues’.  If the judges decide it is a disability then employers could face new obligations, she told the BBC.  Employers might in future have a duty to create reserved car parking spaces for obese staff, or adjust the office furniture for them, she said.

The issue at hand here is choice. Do I have the choice to eat anything I want and as much as I want?  Sure, but does my choice place an obligation on employers to treat me as a part of a “preferential” class?  Absolutely not!  If the EU rules in favor of this approach to obesity, many employers will incur greater costs.  This is yet another step away from freedom toward the bureaucratization of our generation.

The obesity issue is not confined to Europe.  Rates in the U.S. have never been higher than they are today.  According to a nice graphic published by the Wall Street Journal, Americans are leading the way with 1 out of 3 classified as obese.  Consequently, Americans are familiar with politicians legislating lifestyle choices.  President Obama campaigned his health care reform partly on rising obesity rates contributing to higher health costs.  New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s attempted ban on giant size sodas is another example.  

What should one take from this?  According to those in Washington and some municipal governments, rising obesity rates justify the use of prescriptive behavioral controls.  Broken down a bit further, lifestyle choices made by free individuals, if deemed undesirable by some, justify the use of force.  Once our government classifies a condition as a “disability,” it will likely grant itself de facto powers to legislate.