Designing A New Nation – Part 8 – Welfare and Health Care - Caleb Jones

This is the next installment in a series where I design, with your help, a small, hypothetical new nation called Ascendia, based on small government, personal liberty, and free markets. Please read parts one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven if you have not yet before reading this article so that you’re up to speed. Today, I will lay out how Ascendia would handle its poor, namely regarding welfare and health care.

The content of this article will be no surprise to anyone who has read past installments of this series, as well as my How To Handle The Poor Series, which is here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. I suggest you read those if you have not yet, since those will give you all the statistical background of what I’m about to propose.

As I talked about in those articles, step one in regards to handling the poor is to not do the things that create poor people in the first place. Thus, the first aspect of how to handle welfare or health care in Ascendia is that there would be very few poor people to begin with. Tax rates would be microscopic, meaning that poor people wouldn’t need to make a lot of money in order to pay their living expenses. There would be no money printing in Ascendia that would drive up living costs. There would be no wage or price controls that make it harder to purchase certain items or get a job. There would be near-zero business regulations so there would be an abundance of businesses that would need help in the form of either jobs or contract work. And so on.

Very similar to prosperous societies like Singapore and Hong Kong, there would be very, very few poor people that would require help from anyone as compared to what most normal, big-government countries are accustomed to.

Granted, there are poor people in every society and Ascendia would be no different. Just remember that the amount of poor people, as a percentage of the population, would be extremely small.

To take care of the welfare and health care of these poor, Ascendia would first look to cultural answers rather than governmental answers.

The culture of Ascendia, as promoted by the government in speeches and overall vibe, would be that the few poor people in Ascendia would be addressed by the following entities, in this order:

First Source of Help – Families: Similar to old-school Asian cultures, the culture would focus on families taking care of their own, rather than tossing your grandparents or loser siblings or children to government services.

For example, it would be assumed that you and your siblings would eventually have to financially take care of your elderly parents. Expecting your fellow citizens to pay for your parents would be an insulting idea.  (Because it is.) Instead, you would know, from the age of about 13 or so, that someday you and your siblings (if any) would likely need to take care of your elderly parents in some way. This includes financially, with health care, and with housing. Yes, if you had less siblings than others, that wouldn’t be fair to you, but as I’ve said before, fairness in real life does not exist. As Scott Adams said (before he lost his soul), “fairness” is a concept invented so stupid people could participate in arguments.

Since you’d always be aware of this, you would always be encouraging your parents to work hard, save lots of money, and take decent care of their health. Sure, your parents could be assholes and not listen to you, but in a free country, you have the right to be an asshole. The point is that this cultural expectation from both parents and children is, while very flawed, still far better than the “fuck off, not my problem, let government Social Security take care of you” system that has caused bankrupt social security programs all over the Western world.

Second Source of Help – Charities and Churches: If the family angle didn’t work for some people, the next level of protection would be charities and churches, both of which would be heavily encouraged by both the government and the culture.

In big-government countries/societies, the importance of charities and churches are downplayed because everyone expects “government to take care of it.” Prior to the 1940s, almost one-third of working men at all income levels regularly donated either money to a charity or church or donated their time to a volunteer organization like Rotary. Today, it’s a tiny fraction of this, since technically most people give to charity, but it usually involves taking some clothing down to Goodwill once or twice a year.

This is because A) they can’t afford to regularly donate to charity because taxes and inflation are killing their ability to earn, and B) they assume government will take care of it.

This would not be the case in Ascendia. Charity and churches, which would help that percentage of the poor whose families couldn’t or wouldn’t help, would be encouraged at all levels.

Source of Last Resort – Local governments, if they so choose. As explained in prior articles in this series, in Ascendia, the small, local, decentralized governments of the Free Cities would be able to do whatever they wanted. If one city wanted to be socialist and provide free welfare and free health care to everyone who lived in that city, paying for it by a strong income tax, that would be fine. If another city wanted to be libertarian with little or no taxes and zero welfare or government health care, also fine. That’s up to each city. It’s just the federal government that would not be allowed to give any person or company any welfare or health care money for any reason.

In a country of about six million people, it stands to reason that a few of these Free Cities would be a little left-leaning in their political tendencies (similar to how Gary Johnson was a left-leaning libertarian) and would possibly enact some kind of system to help those very few poor who, for some reason, could not be helped by families, charities, or churches. As always, these individual cities/towns could do this in any way they liked. If they screwed it up, people would either vote their local leaders out of office, or even better, leave those cities for more prosperous ones.

Hopefully, these cities would help the poor in a way where the Won’t Poor and Can’t Poor would be properly identified and the Won’t Poor not given any help whatsoever. But again, that would be up to each individual city.

I have my own opinions on how this would be done, but this series of articles is on how I would design an entire libertarianish nation, not how I would manage an individual city within such a nation. Perhaps someday I’ll write a city version of these articles.

That’s how welfare and health care would be handled in Ascendia. The federal government would do nothing and provide nothing. Poor people would be rare. People would take care of themselves. People would take care of their families. Charities and churches would pick up the slack, and perhaps a few towns/cities would too. Not a perfect system by any means (no system is) but far less bad than any big-government Western country handles this problem today.

17 Comments on “Designing A New Nation – Part 8 – Welfare and Health Care

  1. You had me at:  “The federal government would do nothing and provide nothing.”

     

    It hurts peoples feelings to hear something like that, but most of my reading about welfare, and even charity, jave convinced me that it makes things worse.

     

    Even my first hand experience of friends in Cleveland, where I grew up, showed me that government programs creat more poverty and crime by incentivizing young women to become single mothers on purpose.  Get rid of that shit, and the whole inner city subculture can turn around in a generation.

  2. 20% of HK people live in poverty

    Which is about the same for most developed countries. There will always be poor people.

  3. 20% of HK people live in poverty

    Yeah, compare that to the 1/3 to 1/2 of people in the US who are at or below the poverty line.

    “The federal government would do nothing and provide nothing.”

    Legit. In my dream country, there wouldn’t even be any federal laws, much less a federal government at all. It would be all local governments.

    The creation and existence of federal governments are what caused this mess in the first place. Even Karl fucking Marx knew this, as he also wanted anarchy (but as an Anarcho Communist not an Anarcho Capitalist).

     If one city wanted to be socialist and provide free welfare and free health care to everyone who lived in that city, paying for it by a strong income tax, that would be fine. If another city wanted to be libertarian with little or no taxes and zero welfare or government health care, also fine. That’s up to each city.

    Things would be amazing if it was like that now. Want to take some time off life/start a business from the ground up but need to be taken care of for awhile? Cool, move to the socialist city. Making tons of money but don’t want it to be taken away? Cool, move to the ancap city!

  4. poor people wouldn’t need to make a lot of money in order to pay their living expenses.

    I imagine their rent would be relatively high. Singapore and Hong Kong both run on relatively Georgist principles – Land Value Tax and property tax in Singapore, government owning all the land in Hong Kong and leasing it out to pay for government. Your landowners won’t have much incentive to build bigger buildings, especially when they can do no work, keep buildings small and charge larger and larger rents as the population grows and supply diminishes. It’s essentially a feudalist system, I hope I would get to Ascendia early, I would build a big fence around a large area and have private property and everyone else would pay for the protection of it and I could get nice and rich renting out the space – obviously I am a geolibertarian, everything else sounds relatively good to me.

  5. I imagine their rent would be relatively high.

    That really depends on how large the country would be in terms of landmass. I’m assuming Ascendia would not be nation on a tiny island like HK or Singapore. More like a small land-based nation like Portugal. But yes, if it was an island you’d be correct; rent would be higher than average; that’s unavoidable in those cases.

  6. Ascendia is basically the US of the 1800s with less slavery. The gilded age – huge economic growth and widespread poverty.

  7. Why on Earth would there be “widespread poverty?” Please be very specific and complete with your answer.

  8. Caleb would you willing to agree that as part of our minimal regulation and Free Cities approach (I love that GOT phrase you said lol).

    Would you be willing to agree that we must count that we must count Disabled Veterans and people with Pre-Existing Conditions (real disabilities) as part of the Can’t Poor that we must require assistance for.

    And as part of our Minimal Regulations we must require these people are protected. Free Healthcare, Benefits, ETC. The Can’t Poor being screwed to me is unacceptable.

  9. Would you be willing to agree that we must count that we must count Disabled Veterans

    Yes. Disabled veterans can and should be taken care of by the government, as part of the military budget. That is one of the few valid federal government expenditures.

    and people with Pre-Existing Conditions (real disabilities) as part of the Can’t Poor that we must require assistance for.

    There is a difference between people with pre-existing conditions and people who are actually physically disabled. The latter is always part of the Can’t Poor. The former is sometimes part of the Can’t Poor; it depends on the situation.

    And as part of our Minimal Regulations we must require these people are protected. Free Healthcare, Benefits, ETC. The Can’t Poor being screwed to me is unacceptable.

    No. Forcing people at gunpoint to buy health insurance, like what Obama did, is authoritarian and evil. Instead, don’t pay for anyone’s health care (individual Free Cities excepted) and then let them buy or not buy whatever the hell they want.

    Forcing people to buy health insurance only makes sense in quasi-socialist countries where the federal government pays for some or all of people’s health care. Just stop doing that, and then it’s not an issue whether or not your neighbor buys health insurance.

  10. No. Forcing people at gunpoint to buy health insurance, like what Obama did, is authoritarian and evil. Instead, don’t pay for anyone’s health care (individual Free Cities excepted) and then let them buy or not buy whatever the hell they want.

    Forcing people to buy health insurance only makes sense in quasi-socialist countries where the federal government pays for some or all of people’s health care. Just stop doing that, and then it’s not an issue whether or not your neighbor buys health insurance.

    There are also other types of insurance that are typically obligatory. For example if you drive a car there are often some obligatory insurances that come with that. Of course its not a completely obligatory insurance because you can chose to simply not drive a car. What is your view on these?

    Usually my approach to insurance is that I get covered for the things I would not be able to pay, such as house insurance, health insurance (at least the real expensive stuff part), liability insurance. If I am renting the first is covered by the owner of the house and the liability is usually very cheap, and the health insurance is not optional, but I can chose which package I take.

  11. There are also other types of insurance that are typically obligatory. For example if you drive a car there are often some obligatory insurances that come with that. Of course its not a completely obligatory insurance because you can chose to simply not drive a car. What is your view on these?

    My view is that we should not have government-mandatory car insurance. Instead, you would have the option of buying uninsured motorist insurance for your car if you weren’t stupid, so that you’d be covered in a car accident, and most people would do this without government forcing them. You could further encourage people to get insured by making it an actual crime to damage personal or government property with your car if you’re not insured and can’t pay for the damages; I think that’s fair.

    This is my opinion, not how I think Ascendia should be run. In that case, each city could decide the laws on this as they deemed fit.

  12. How do you intend to stop protesters who would say lack of anti poverty programs is “racist”. Eg. Like they do today right now .Rally enough poor people together and they will vote themselves for increasingly more expansive programs .  Some may resort to violent protests like the Left is doing right now in Trump’s America. Flood the country with enough 3rd worlders and they inevitably bring their cultures and mentalities with them. Look no further than California which used to be a Republican state ( Reagan was their governor!) And dominated by farmers, ranchers, and mining in the mid 20th century politically.

  13. How do you intend to stop protesters who would say lack of anti poverty programs is “racist”.

    You wouldn’t. Peaceful protesting would be legal.

    Eg. Like they do today right now

    They do “right now” in socialist Europe and quasi-socialist USA. Ascendia would not be socialist, so you’d have much less of this sentiment going on.

    Rally enough poor people together and they will vote themselves for increasingly more expansive programs

    Incorrect. Ascendia is not a democracy, so they can’t vote. Read this.

    Some may resort to violent protests like the Left is doing right now in Trump’s America.

    Again, Ascendia is not Trumps America. Not even close. Almost the opposite.

  14. I think the biggest struggle is determining who the Can’t Poor and Won’t Poor are..

    Because the Won’t Poor that take shit really fuck things up for the Can’t Poor.

  15. I think the biggest struggle is determining who the Can’t Poor and Won’t Poor are..
    Because the Won’t Poor that take shit really fuck things up for the Can’t Poor

    Let it be determined private charities and local governments, small organizations have better self-correcting mechanism, especially when they have skin in the game.

  16. Hi Caleb,

     

    I guess you have heard this before but what about the Scandinavian model. If you look at the systems in countries like Iceland, Norway and Denmark, they consistently rank top for education, poverty (lack of) and on the democracy index. They also have excellent life expectancies and a healthcare and public transportation system superior to that of the States. Surely, this means that government intervention, when planned effectively and rationally, can lead to better governance?

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