by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jonah Goldberg admits that it’s too much of a stretch to cast President Obama and neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson as modern-day versions of W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington, respectively. Still, Goldberg outlines some interesting parallels in his latest column.
Although much of Carson’s speech focused on personal responsibility, he offered two concrete policy ideas. The first is a flat tax. The Bible endorses the idea, Carson explained. Everyone should tithe — give 10 percent — in good times and bad. It doesn’t have to be 10 percent, he conceded. It’s the principles of proportionality and simplicity that matter.
Critics complain that the poor guy who puts in $1 will be hurt more than the rich guy who puts in $1 billion. But, Carson asks: “Where does it say you’ve got to hurt the [rich] guy? He just put a billion dollars in the pot. We don’t need to hurt him. It’s that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the Cayman Islands.”
Carson’s idea for health-care reform is even more Washingtonian. Instead of the technocratic behemoth of Obamacare, empower the individual. “When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record, and a health-savings account to which money can be contributed — pretax — from the time you’re born till the time you die. If you die, you can pass it on to your family members . . . and there’s nobody talking about death panels.”
The beauty of Carson’s argument exceeds its simplicity, particularly as even economist Paul Krugman now concedes that something like death panels are inevitable if we stay on our current path. Taxpayers, the rich, or charities can contribute extra money to the accounts of the poor (with everyone’s account seeded at birth), but at the same time, Carson says, the poor will “have some control over their own health care. And very quickly they’re going to learn how to be responsible.”