Democratic Congressman-elect Jared Polis of Boulder, Colorado, recently wrote a fairly good OpEd for the December 10, 2008 Wall Street Journal in which he warned that Congress should not bail out the auto industry, but instead let the private sector take care of the problem:
Our United States Congress... now finds itself poring over "business plans" submitted this week by Ford, GM and Chrysler. People who have never before in their lives seen -- no less implemented -- a business plan are now trying to decide if these companies will succeed by means of a "capital infusion" with... [taxpayer] money. Something is wrong with this picture.
Instead, if the private sector takes on this issue, then:
At the very least, my constituents in Colorado won't find themselves as limited partners in a private equity fund run by Congress making speculative investments in flagging automobile manufacturers and who knows what else with their taxpayer money.
Reading business plans and making investments is the job of equity funds and turnaround specialists, not members of Congress.
Polis is quite right on that point. The function of government is not to run businesses but to protect individual rights.
Medicare, a universal access, single-payer, government-administered, publicly financed and efficient program, has high patient satisfaction and only 3% administrative expenses – less than any private insurance plan. While there are many improvements we need to focus on within Medicare, it serves as a model of a single-payer healthcare system.
If we expanded this system to cover all Americans (not just the elderly), those problems would merely multiply.
Polis is right -- the US government is not capable of running the auto industry. If it attempted to do so, it would merely destroy those companies.
His argument applies just as well to health care. Health care is not a right, and any attempt to guarantee it with a single-payer system (or any other form of "universal coverage") would destroy American health care.
Polis-on-automakers is right. Polis-on-health-care is wrong.
Coloradans should urge Polis to apply his correct understanding on the issue of the auto bailout to the health care issue.