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January 14th, 2012 12:42 pm
The High Hurdle of Romneycare

At the American Spectator, I recommend reading Andrew McCarthy’s explanation about why Romneycare makes Mitt Romney a weak candidate against Barack Obama. Here, let me add a few more thoughts on the subject. I think this is McCarthy’s best paragraph in a piece full of good paragraphs:

[S]ome things are wrong everywhere. One such thing is a massive government infiltration into the private economy, one that coerces the purchase of a commodity (health insurance) as a condition of living in the state. For one thing, such an exercise in steroid statism establishes a rationale in law for government intrusion into every aspect of private life: If health care is deemed a corporate asset, then “bad” behavioral choices must be regulated, lest someone get more than his share. Romney portrayed Romneycare as a model, at least for other states, if not for the nation. But no free-market, limited-government conservative thinks this officious onslaught is a model to be emulated anyplace.

Here at CFIF I made a similar argument back in June, although not as well as McCarthy has now made it:

It doesn’t matter one bit if Mitt Romney’s “individual mandate” was imposed by a state instead of by the feds; either way, a government forcing people to buy a product the person doesn’t want, just by virtue of living and breathing within the government’s jurisdiction, is a government without any real limits whatsoever.Tyranny is tyranny at any level.  By Romney’s logic, it would be better still if your local township, rather than the state, could send police to oversee you filling out your insurance application and writing the check. Next stop: SWAT teams to escort you to the hardware store to buy widgets. Federalism is, of course, an important principle. Using states as “laboratories of democracy” is a good and practical idea. But federalism should never be an excuse for despotism. What’s wrong is wrong. It’s not a matter of practicality but of morality writ large.

McCarthy goes on to note this:

There is no serious person who doubts that Romneycare was the building block for Obamacare: The experts who helped design the former were consulted in the creation of the latter. Yet Romney continues to insist that Romneycare is a smashing success, one he suggests he’d do again without hesitation.

It still baffles me that Romney’s opponents haven’t yet made this case successfully in the debates.

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