If you have read the preceding posts on health care coverage, you are aware that we have a huge tangle of a system that is for many prohibitively expensive to buy into and for all very expensive to operate. The response to the issue has been framed as single-payer vs. private coverage. This is yet another one of those terrible dichotomies we have allowed ourselves to fall into, a dichotomy again framed by the Right. When I say The Right, I mean quite specifically the Administration, many of the appointed heads of government departments, most current Republican congressmen, certain major corporations including some media corporations, and the network of think tanks that churn out disinformation in support of The Right's positions and the foundations funding them. This fairly well defined and overwhelmingly powerful bloc has created the current mythology which mixes into one unholy ideology patriotism, democracy, freedom, liberty and the free enterprise system, the latter meaning really, themselves. This dominant group demonizes the concept of government and seeks by talking about "ownership" to make us think we can, without government, look after our needs best. No mention that the "free enterprise" system of today, the one they tout, is a far cry from anything that Adam Smith would have supported. In fact, capitalist theoreticians over the centuries have feared what has happened today: the increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, increasing concentration of power outside the hands of "we the people."
There are a lot of economic theorists today who work within the framework of capitalism. Generally, they attempt objective analyses of specific situations. As has been true since Adam Smith published Wealth of Nations they also examine how and whether aspects of capitalist economics are working to take care of the needs of our society. The difference between legitimate economists and those of The Right is that the basis of investigation of the former is ethical. That is, they try to use tools that are as objective as possible and to have their conclusions reflect findings obtained from the use of those tools. They may not be right, but they are careful not to deliberately distort or deceive. They may have certain basic values such as a belief that economics should serve the welfare of the larger body of citizens, but they don't try to shape their findings to support an ideology. The driving goal of the economists on the Right is to protect the interests of those wealthy people and groups who support them. One way to tell if you are looking at a Right Wing think thank is that you will see phrases such as, "Seeking innovative private solutions to today's policy challenges." Or free enterprise will be right in the title. As if you couldn't possibly think of any solution outside the walls of "private" or "free enterprise."
To look after the welfare of the nation is in fact one of the basic responsibilities of our government as expressed in the preamble to the Constitution: "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
The Right wants us to think this is what they are doing, but in fact what they are doing is protecting corporate wealth at our expense, dismantling the very structure, which is supposed to be, if you remember, "of the people, by the people, for the people" that the Constitution put in place to bind us as a nation, to protect us and to "promote the general welfare." They want us to believe that the unimpeded growth of corporate wealth is necessary to our well-being, but it is not. They are "my ideology right or wrong" and "my ideology: love it or leave it" demagogues.
Someone said if a lie is repeated often enough, it becomes the truth. This is what our corporate-government complex does best. In fact, its members repeat lies so much so that I think they themselves believe them.