An old proverb says "If you take the king's gold, you do the king's bidding." For us today, this means that no government benefit comes without a loss of liberty.
Over at IMAO, the brilliant satirist Harvey takes a break from the brilliant comedic destruction of our political foes and brilliantly notices that the king is currently trying to sell a benefit as if it had no future cost:
If the government gives a big wad of cash to your business, they can tell you how much you can pay your employees, what mode of transportation you can take, and where you can travel to because you’re on the taxpayer’s dime.
If the government is spending big wads of cash on your health care, they promise not to interfere with any health-related choices you’d care to make, no matter how many taxpayer’s dimes it costs.
At work a few days ago, a customer was waiting for her pizza. Seeing a motorcyclist ride by, she asked why they can do that. "Do what?", I asked.
"Ride without a helmet or seatbelt. You have to wear your seatbelt when driving a car, which is much safer than riding a motorcycle. Why don't they have to wear a seatbelt? Especially if they have a child on the back. I don't see why they would even want to do that."
The customer always being right, I simply agreed that some people engage in risky behavior.
If the government is insuring health care costs, the argument will not just be that we regulate other behaviors, so why not these others. They will say:
Behavior X is risky, and leads to higher medical costs.
You must cease behavior X.
Further, they will try:
The taxpayers have to pay for behavior X.
It is therefor unpatriotic to continue with behavior X.
Motorcycle helmets? Check. Smoking? Check. Drinking while pregnant? Check.
No matter what you think about the risks involved in any of those behaviors, each is a behavior to be modified once the king's gold is at stake.
Under socialized medicine, the bandages may be free, but you are not.