Thursday, January 3, 2008

My America, Yours, and John Edwards's

John Edwards, the far-left candidate for the Democrats' presidential nomination, once said there are "Two Americas", one for the powerful and the other for everyone else. Tonight, in his speech delivered after Obama won the Iowa caucus, it became clear that there are two: one in his head and the other in which the rest of us live.

In Edwards' America, the 47 million people without health insurance "beg" for treatment at the emergency room. The emergency room in Edwards' America is also apparently where people go to get anti-cancer chemotherapy, which sounds like much speedier treatment than we must deal with in real life. Apparently there's something called "health care coverage" one must buy to get such a speedy course of treatment. I don't have it, thus if I was diagnosed with cancer tomorrow I'd have to see a few specialists, including an oncologist, and suffer through several weeks of chemotherapy, none in the emergency room.

And in Edwards' America, wealthy personal injury lawyers with twenty-six million dollar homes can't open their wallets to pay for cleft palate surgery for downtrodden coal miners. The rest of us must be soaked.

Edwards has taken to being the sob-sister and poverty prostitute of the '08 campaign. (He's also possibly the cocktail-party socialist Lew Rockwell is looking for...) The matters he brings up: poverty, the flawed health-care system, relocation of manufacturers, could all be helped by careful examination of extant public policy. Health care, especially, has been broken by a flawed tax code coupled with government mandates that constitute for many people an effective ban on cheap insurance. Otherwise they're social issues, suited more for the church pulpit or the civic fraternity fundraiser than the campaign stump. That such matters get brought up in the context of a political campaign should have us afraid, and Edwards's manner of doing so should have us shaking in our boots. Edwards is such a simpleton he makes Tom Tancredo look nuanced and such a formulaic ideologue that Ron Paul is a casuist by comparison. He seems to believe that real life is described by same sort of victim/villain narratives he told in the courtroom. Who's a villain? Anyone who's not a victim. Work, save, be entrepreneurial, be responsible, take care of yourself and your own, and you become the target of Edwards's class warfare.

Under an Edwards presidency, if he had his way--and the bad ones always do, separation of powers be damned!--we can look forward to any of the following three scenaria:

  1. Companies like Maytag are forced to keep US plants open until bankruptcy, so as not to "send jobs overseas",
  2. A privileged class is created, of Maytag shareholders, who are paid a subsidy by the rest of us so as not to go bankrupt when forced to keep US plants open by the Federal government,
  3. A tariff, or even an embargo on imported washing machines, is put into place to wipe out other countries' comparative advantage, driving up the price and making something our grandmothers considered a luxury once again less affordable at the margin.

It's not just washing machines that are at stake. Automobiles, microwaves, food, clothing, and health care will all become luxury goods that many of us wouldn't be able to afford without government transfer payments were Edwards to become president. The pool of successful people to be shook-down, soaked, mugged, or otherwise robbed, will also diminish. Fighting poverty the Edwards way will only make us poor and increasingly dependent on men like himself for our basic necessities. Iowans ought be ashamed such a man even received thirty percent in their caucuses!

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