In his ongoing campaign to be as intensely unlikable as his father, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky claimed in a FOX News interview that liberals in America just cannot understand capitalism.
In a discussion with the messianic Sean Hannity, Senator Paul said that the well-publicized glitches on the Obamacare website were the natural result of allowing the government a role in the distribution of healthcare. With no evidence, both Paul and Hannity went on to claim that the cost to individuals requiring health coverage would now go up.
I cannot believe that I have to keep on typing this, but I will give it one more try: the government is not “providing” healthcare. In the United States, the market is still the provider of healthcare through insurance companies (the United States remains the only major industrialized power that does not have a national healthcare system). The difference now is that the Affordable Healthcare Act mandates coverage for citizens, prevents insurance companies from ripping people off, allows coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, and allows young adults to remain on their parents’ plan until they are 26. But the fundamental principle of the market place being the provider of healthcare remains in place.
This is entirely consistent with the state-capitalist system in the United States where the government plays an active role in the economy. This brings us to Senator Paul’s high-handed and condescending claim that liberals “do not understand capitalism.” Without a shred of irony or sarcasm, Paul actually tried to use Walmart to extol the virtues of capitalism.
“[Liberals] have no idea why, when you go to Walmart, products are cheap, how they get from one point to the other, and how they’re distributed in such a cheap fashion,” he said. “They don’t understand the intricacies of how the profit motive and the efficiencies that go in with distribution and trade, and how you can get something, a t-shirt, now for $9 because of global trade, efficiencies in the marketplace.”
Leftists and left-liberals understand all too well how capitalism works. It is for that reason that we dislike it as much as we do. We know that T-shirts at WalMart are cheap because they are being made in third-world countries by children being paid a barely livable wage. We know that Walmart can keep prices down because it pays its workers a disgracefully low wage, has a history of discrimination against female employees, and just this week fired 20 workers at one store for going on strike.
We understand that the profit motive promotes greed, and urges people to compete against one another rather than work together. We understand that global trade is grossly unfair and benefits wealthy nations at the expense of poor ones. We understand that for over 200 years, capitalism has lurched from one crisis to another, and yet despite all the crashes, slumps, and horrific inequality, the rich are richer than ever. We understand the type of society Rand Paul advocates. That is why we will do our very best to prevent it from ever becoming a reality.
Watch the interview here: