Elizabeth Warren has many plans. Chief among them is her plan to nationalize one-seventh of America’s economy, by eliminating private health insurance in favor of what she calls “Medicare for All.” According to her, she’ll manage this by taxing the snot out of a few billionaires, and not raising taxes on the rest of us. She figures to commandeer the premiums currently being paid to insurers by employers, but at a 2% discount, and to be more “efficient,” both because there’ll be one agency running everything and because there’ll be no profits ‘bleeding’ care away from beneficiaries.

There’s much to criticize about her proposal, and such criticisms can be found all over the news and all across the political spectrum. The aspect that made me snort my coffee this morning was the assertion that efficiencies can make up the giant gap between costs and funding projections.

Let’s consider government “efficiency.”

The feds burn $60B a year in Medicare/Medicaid fraud and waste. That’s triple the entire health insurance industry’s profit margin – a profit margin she qualitatively exaggerates by asserting that eliminating it will drive substantial care improvements.

The feds burn over $300B a year on “zombie programs,” whose authorizations have expired (often more than a decade ago).

No one knows how much waste, duplication, pork, and fraud is folded into defense spending, not even the DoD. The DoD spent twenty years and $400M trying to sort its books out, and failed. Everyone has heard tales of $600 hammers and $1100 ashtrays. Most people who’ve worked in Corporate America are familiar with the “use it or lose it” culture that infects big organizations at the end of fiscal years, and the DoD is notorious for it. It would not be in the least surprising, given nearly $700B in defense spending, if waste, fraud, duplication, and other abuses totaled north of $100B.

That’s ten percent of total government spending, and half the entire budget deficit, and that’s before we even get into BS programs, pork barrel spending, and DoD waste/fraud.

Our government is so large, convoluted, and cumbersome, no one can even tell us how many federal agencies exist.

Despite all this, politicians and pundits scream bloody murder the moment anyone dares suggest cutting spending, or trying to do better with the money they already have. The few politicians that point out all this waste are ignored as quixotic oddities.

Given this stark, irrefutable reality, what sane person can look at our government, today and in decades past, and actually believe that giving it more to do, putting more money in its hands, granting it total monopoly power over a huge chunk of our economy and our health care, will produce net-positive results?

People fear and decry monopolies, and demand that government intervene when a big organization gets too big. But, when it comes to government, those same people don’t believe there’s such a thing as too big. They ignore the colossal waste, the massive fraud, the duplication, the apathy, the selfishness and self-protection, and the staggering losses.

Is this remotely rational? Can anyone justify handing such an enormous amount of power and money to a government that has demonstrated so clearly that it cannot effectively handle what it already does and the money it already has? Even if Warren had the wisdom Solomon and the combined intellect of Newton, Archimedes, and Leonardo, which she doesn’t, she couldn’t pull this off. No one can. To think otherwise is to engage in a breathtaking degree of self-delusion.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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