How to end the lure of Socialism

The fascination many young people have with socialism represents an understandable misunderstanding of injustice and its remedies. How can we stem the tide of socialism’s popularity with young people?

Not that long ago, young people cheered this era’s greatest champion of liberty, Dr. Ron Paul, and his ideas of no income tax and an end to foreign wars. Thousands of young people on college campuses found liberty, not collectivism, exhilarating, and they shouted “End the Fed.” But this political season, the complete socialization of medical care, “Medicare for All,” is perhaps the most effective tool used by demagogues to lure the support of the young. Is it possible to draw young people away from these chilling ideas, and lead them to embrace liberty?

Rather than speculate about why so many of today’s youth are enamored with collectivist ideology, why not inoculate them with a dose of freedom?

Socialist booth at Art Walk in downtown Tulsa.

One sure way to end the love affair so many young people have with socialism would be to stop making them pay for it; why not let them opt out of Medicare (and Social Security for that matter)? Paychecks would swell, and what politician would dare to advocate for reinstating these taxes? It is no wonder so many of today’s youth are confused when so many of their elders are supporters of “Medicare for Some,” but opponents of “Medicare for All.” After all, if a little socialism is a good thing, why not a full dose?

The most predictable objection to this plan should be: “But what if young people don’t save voluntarily for their old age and future medical requirements?” The most frequent objection, however, goes something like this: “How will that revenue be replaced?” This, of course, is an admission that current “contributions” to Medicare (and Social Security) by workers are consumed by current beneficiaries, the very definition of a Ponzi scheme. The forced contributions of those beneficiaries were spent the instant they were taken. There is no “lock box,” and no pension plan owned by individual “beneficiaries.”

Recognizing the fraud of Bernie Madoff saved countless individuals from his thievery. No such option or courtesy is currently presented to us by Uncle Sam.

“How will that revenue be replaced” is a consistent theme that permeates the state, as I’ve been told this same question is commonplace among district attorneys facing the relaxation of marijuana laws and penalties. Selfless “angels” with state power are as fictional as the “not for profit” status of hospitals in the U.S., after all.

It would be cruel, of course, to suddenly end or hamstring a government program upon which millions of individuals are hopelessly dependent. How to fund an opt out/phase out has been addressed in the past with recommendations, for instance, that the federal government sell the lakefront property over which it has control, the proceeds funding annuities to sustain for life those who depend on these federal entitlements. If Uncle Sam can’t stomach selling assets, perhaps the D.C. machine could consider the unthinkable and spend less, say on foreign aid or war.

I rarely find someone, regardless of age, who would not gladly forgo any future benefit from Medicare or Social Security, and just write off their past “contributions” (tax payments) in return for freedom from paycheck-destroying future “contributions.” It is not uncommon, after all, for the Medicare and Social Security paycheck deduction to exceed all other paycheck deductions combined, particularly when the undisclosed employer “contribution” (which is the employee’s earnings, after all) has been considered.

All Millennial-bashers who want to stop the surge of young people’s fascination with socialism should consider promoting an opt out of these programs for people of all ages, so they can see the effect a lack of socialism has on their take-home pay. Medicare for All will then be the last thing any beneficiaries of such an opt out will tolerate, much less want.

The least we can do is extend at least a portion of the tax-exempt status many giant U.S. hospitals enjoy to today’s and tomorrow’s young, about whom we claim to care so much, whose ideas will shape the future.

Dr. G. Keith Smith

About the author: Dr. G. Keith Smith is a board certified anesthesiologist in private practice since 1990. In 1997, he co-founded The Surgery Center of Oklahoma, an outpatient surgery center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, owned by over 90 of the top physicians and surgeons in central Oklahoma. Dr. Smith serves as the medical director, CEO and managing partner while maintaining an active anesthesia practice.

In 2009, Dr. Smith launched a website displaying all-inclusive pricing for various surgical procedures, a move that has gained him and the facility, national and even international attention. Many Canadians and uninsured Americans have been treated at his facility, taking advantage of the low and transparent pricing available. His most recent effort is the launch of the Free Market Medical Association which provides a platform where those seeking to obtain high quality and affordable health care can find free market-minded providers, both physicians and facilities.

Operation of this free market medical practice, the standard for all who have embraced this practice approach, has gained the endorsement of policymakers and legislators nationally. More and more self-funded insurance plans are taking advantage of Dr. Smith’s pricing model resulting in significant savings to their employee health plans. His hope is for as many facilities as possible to adopt a transparent pricing model, a move he believes will lower costs and improve quality of care for all.

He has made appearances on the John Stossel Show, CNBC, Huffington Post, The O’Reilly Factor, Capital Account, The Ron Paul Channel, NBC Nightly News and has been featured by Reason Magazine’s TV division. The New York Times, Time Magazine, ABC news, Forbes and many others have written articles featuring Dr. Smith’s revolutionary approach to the pricing of health care and uncompromising free market principles.

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