“Repeal Obamacare!” “Close Down the IRS!” “Protect My Privacy from Prying Eyes and Ears!” These are three contemporary rallying crys to be sure; but what if these dreams came true.
Repeal Obamacare – If Obamacare disappeared tomorrow, what would take its place?
- · Go back to what it was before: employer paid insurance? Employers didn’t like it then; they won’t want it now. Benefits like insurance are pacifiers to keep employees without running up payroll. Companies have never wanted to be in the insurance business.
- · Pay as you go? Coming up with $100 for a quick checkup might not ruin anyone’s budget, but a $65,000 bill for abdominal surgery is probably a budget killer.
- · Buy your own health insurance? Insurance from day one has never been fair and equal. It is based on risk. High risk people pay more; low risk people pay less. Group insurance is a way to spread risk out over a wide range of people and risk levels and everyone pays about the same.
Close Down the IRS – If the IRS closed tomorrow, will you still owe taxes?
- · Would you still owe taxes? Yes, you just wouldn’t have anyone to send them to. The IRS is the Accounts Receivable Department for the government. Any company would close down without a Receivables Department.
- · Clean up the IRS? This is a desirable goal. But clean up what and how?
- · Reform the Tax Laws and Code? This is another worthy goal. It will take Congress years to come to an agreement on what to do and then more years to put the successor to the IRS in place. A quick fix is not likely.
Protect My Privacy – Protect it from who and how?
- · What do they find? There are 300 million people in this country; it would take 200 million of them to listen to each and every phone call. What is new is the technology to scan millions of phone calls for key words and phrases. We demand public security but that is part of the process; no one is looking at your dinner options.
- · Who is looking? Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, and your cable or satellite company collect much more personal data on you than the government does. It is not a coincidence that two days after you look up a couple of movies on the web, there will be several ads on your homepage for new movies or sources to obtain old films. That is how they do business.
We all get caught up in the emotional resonance of a political slogan; but thinking the process through to the next level can open up a can of worms that tempers the issue with reality. New technologies change the world in ways we can’t predict. That doesn’t make them bad but we should be careful before we totally embrace them.