A good article by Grover Norquist on the upcoming socialized health care for middle class kids bill S-CHIP. Norquist drives home the obvious distinction between “complimentary” and “free”, a distinction lost on all tax-and-spend types like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Hillary Clinton.
“Complementary” means you pay for a service whether you use it or not. Because the charge isn’t explicit but rather rolled into a separate bill (the complementary breakfast at a hotel or seminar, for example, is calculated in your room bill), you are likely not to notice it. The cost of complimentary breakfast is negligible, but you start adding exercise rooms, wireless internet, and rock climbing walls, and your hotel bill starts expanding exponentially.
“Free” is when you pay the discount rate and still get all the other perks at no extra cost. On a microeconomic scale, hotels can bear the burden of giveaways if the profit margin on the other guests is sufficiently high. On a national scale, it simply isn’t rational to think in terms of “free” health care. It’s all complementary.
A good passage from Norquist:
According to the Congressional Budget Office, every man, woman, and child in the U.S. will owe $8,590 in taxes this year alone. Considering everyone’s share of the economy is only $45,737, that’s quite a tax bite. All told, nearly one out of every five dollars our economy produces each year gets sucked into federal tax coffers. Throw in state and local taxes, and it is one dollar out of every three. Going forward, the pressures that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will force on taxpayers will undoubtedly make that figure rise. Some estimate that half of national income will go toward paying taxes, and most of it for these entitlement programs. One would think that Congress wouldn’t create a brand new entitlement program to add to this burden. But such thinking would be wrong.