Health Care and Global Competitiveness

It’s those damn liberals, again, shouting about how access to medical care should be a right, about how no one should die because they don’t have insurance. We know the real problem in this country is JOBS! It’s just plain cheaper to move manufacturing to Asia.

Consider this: when unions in this country won health insurance from employers, it seemed like a great victory at first, but it was a disaster. It let our society off the hook. If you are worthwhile, if you are employed, then you will be taken care of. The rest of y’all are just freeloaders.

Now, imagine you are going to start a manufacturing facility somewhere. It’s well-documented that American workers are very productive. If you’re selling the end product in the United States, there are plenty of other cost savings, from transportation to tariffs, to reward making your widgets right here. No one wants to pay freight for the widget, all else being equal. (We will leave rational energy policy as a way to equalize world trade for another day.)

But to make your widgets you’re going to need workers. If you open your plant in the US, you will have to pay those workers a 1970’s-level wage, and you will also have to pay for their health insurance. If you open your plant almost anywhere else, the health insurance burden is lifted. The government of that country is covering that.

Universal health care in this country would make it a lot cheaper for companies to do work here.

“But!” you say, and I nod as you say it, “universal health care creates a tax burden and that will hurt those same companies!” And that is true. At that point, the companies have a choice: recognize that the tax burden is offset by their savings on payroll, and further understand that their taxes are going to support Americans no matter who they hire so they may as well get value out of those taxes by hiring Americans, or the companies can leave, and go somewhere else that also has universal health care.

Kids, any company that was going to leave over this issue already has. What remains are the companies that want to stay. Let’s make it easier for them. Nationalized health care means real jobs.

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