In Your Stocking, from the Democrats: The Worst Present Ever

Harry Reid and 59 other Democrat and independent senators and no Republican ones have donned their Santa hats (faux fur, naturally) and snuck down the chimneys of every citizen this Christmas Eve.

In the true spirit of one-party rule, they have gifted each of us with an IOU. Not one that says they owe us. But that we owe them.

It is the Worst Present Ever.

It's worse, even, than a lump of coal, which at least could have been used to heat our houses. Hmm. Maybe a new tax is a "green" alternative for the traditional naughty list stocking stuffer?

Anyway, each of us are on the Democrats' naughty list. Why? Because too many of us have been thinking for ourselves and acting in our own interests -- without considering the sensitive feelings of those who wish to rule us!

"Oh, Briggs, you Scrooge. You forget that X million Americans don't have health insurance -- where I conveniently let X vary according to what I think my audience will swallow. Our Christmas IOUs are meant to pay for their insurance."

No, I didn't forget. But you misremember that Scrooge turned out to be a good guy, using his personal fortune, garnered through capitalistic means, to bring goodwill and spread cheer at Christmastime. Scrooge didn't give his money over to the government after his awakening, but doled it out himself, as he thought best.

Scrooge was a numbers man (he ran a counting house, remember). He knew, as Thomas Sowell knew in his The Vision of the Anointed, that saying "X Americans don't have insurance" is a statistical trick.

The number X -- even if not heartily exaggerated -- is calculated from a snapshot in time. Many people who do not have insurance now, because of temporary unemployment, say, or because they simply don't want or need it, will have it in the future.

Harping on X doesn't reflect, as Sowell says, the transient nature of American life. People do not tend to stay in one economic or social strata their entire lives -- they move, usually upwards as they age, and especially if given the incentive to do so. Those who do not have health insurance and view a lack of it as an ill have a natural motivation to secure it.

Giving away insurance to those who do not have it, and paying for it by confiscating money from those who have that, removes a large proportion of the incentive for the giftees to find ways of paying for their insurance themselves (a decreasing fraction of incentive due to personal pride is left).