Thursday, October 29, 2020

Whoever pays has control

To paraphrase Ecclesiastes 4:4, everything man does is one man striving against another man. Not content to live their own lives, men seek to control others or wrestle off the control of others.

My second preference is to wrestle off the control of others; my first preference is to keep it off in the first place.

One of the most common forms of non-violent, non-coercive control is through money. It's one of the easiest ways to exchange value from one person to another. Anyone willing to part with their money can invariably bend the actions of the person willing to do something to receive it.

This is universally true. This is true of honorable transactions and dishonorable transactions. This is true of direct financial relationships and indirect financial relationships.

Indirect financial relationships have proliferated in our nation since World War II. When wages were controlled, employers turned to other means of attracting talent, and the rise of employer-provided “benefits” took off.

Benefits such as health insurance are sold and presented as providing for a person's needs. They are not, however, provided as a means of freedom for the “beneficiary” in terms of how they use the provided product or services. If the employee is not paying, he does not have the final say on controlling those benefits. Nor does the employer for that matter. If a third party is paying, the third party has control. If you don't think so, just ask anyone who has ever had to obtain a “prior authorization” who they think is in control. 

More recently, since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, other control mechanisms have been implemented to more overtly control people's behavior. Wellness programs are now common. They provide direct financial incentives to encourage behavior modification. Some people may largely agree with the intended behavior changes, but they have no direct recourse once they don't.

Reallocation of control to a third-party may be sold as a benefit, but the net result is a reduction in freedom. The easiest way to get free people to give up their freedom is to distract them from their loss of freedom and rename that loss.

Some politicians do the same thing. Since politicians are not paying the people they're trying to sell on their ideas, they instead turn to moral proclamations. They corrupt and co-opt the true concept of rights, and in the name of “affording rights,” use citizens' own tax dollars to buy them benefits by which they can control them. Follow the money loop far enough, back to its taxpaying origin, and it's a truly disgusting outcome. Those who are really pernicious about it will divide people over fault lines, and then pit one group's money against another for political benefit.

Selling health care as a right, with the government supposedly acting on behalf of the taxpayer, is a lie. That may make people feel entitled to a say in how tax dollars are spent, but entitlement and control are different. Those in government are in control, and that inherently makes for different decision-making than how individuals would make decisions when paying for their own care.

We don't pay taxes as a way to pay for health care. We pay taxes to enable the roles of government and nothing more.

Whoever pays has control.

Don't let anyone pay for what you don't want someone else to control.

Sometimes we can't pay. Our eternal debt is more than we could ever pay. We need to be saved from the consequences of that debt. The Good News is there is a Savior who has already paid that debt. The even better news is even though we would then owe Him everything, and He would have every right to control us, He instead sets us free.

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