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posted: 10/25/2012 4:30 AM

Don't sell our birthright: freedom

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Don't sell our birthright: freedom

The Oct. 16 presidential debate made clear what was already obvious. This election has devolved into a contest of who can promise to do the most "good" for the most people, or at least for the undecided people in the swing states.

Gone is the idea that the constitution was to guarantee our freedoms. It only gave the federal government expressed powers, meaning the federal government could only do what the constitution explicitly stated it could do. Today the federal government is only limited by what the constitution forbids it to do, which apparently is not very much.

In the debate, President Obama stated that government through Obamacare would provide contraception. That's pretty unlimited government, and from what reasonably can be called insurance. Insurance is typically for unforeseen needs that would create an undue financial burden, such as having to undergo expensive cancer treatments. Contraception expenses are foreseeable, meaning they can be planned for, and inexpensive.

Medical costs increase incessantly faster than inflation, in part because in our system many people spend other people's money for medical treatments. When people spend other people's money, they typically spend more of it than they would their own. Eventually, as Europe is finding out, and as Margaret Thatcher pointed out: "The problem with socialism (people spending other people's money) is that eventually you run out of other people's money."

Another problem with extensive government is that government can grant favors and coerce behavior. The larger the government, the more important it is to influence it to one's advantage. That breeds corruption, frustration, and the loss of freedom. There are many examples of this principle in the Third World.

Let's not sell our birthright of freedom as Americans for a pot of porridge or for "free" contraception.

Mark Bodett


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