Mama wanted her boys to have a chance to go to college. We were both bright boys, but our academic records were sketchy. We were bored with school. Things came too easily to us and we often found ourselves with time to get into mischief while our classmates struggled with assignments that we had already completed or dismissed as dull and repetitive. Our father refused to waste his money sending poor students like us to college and we had to work to pay our own way. Ultimately, we both earned degrees and enjoyed a level of success in our careers. Fortunately, the cost of going to college was reasonable enough in those days for us to pay our own way.
Congress wants all children to have a college education whether they want it, appreciate it, need it, or not. It has legislated guaranteed loans to pay for those educations. That's only “fair,” isn't it? Unfortunately for my brother and myself, this program didn't begin until 1965, the year I graduated from law school. That's not fair! The system was reformed in 1993, when the government began making direct loans to students without making any provision for repaying my brother and I for our education expenses. Totally unfair!
Of course, I'm wasting my breath complaining. Mama's dead these forty years now, and she would have told me to hush. After all, life isn't fair.
Has it been fair for America? Take a look at this interesting statistical correlation. The rate of inflation in the cost of education, which had roughly coincided with the general rate of inflation, began to climb precipitously after the government began footing the bill!
How about health care? Isn't it only fair that every American have good health care? The truth is that I've never heard anyone argue against that proposition. The real problem we've been trying to solve is: How do we pay for the health care facilities, train the medical service providers, and maintain a system that gives all Americans all the health care they need? Unfortunately, no one has been able to solve it. Congress has succeeded only in reducing the availability of health care and increasing its costs? They took a system with a few broken parts and shot it in the head. Just look at the proof.
Medicare was passed by Congress in 1965 (they certainly were busy creating entitlement programs in that year, weren't they?) I was working as a Post Entitlement Adjudicator at Social Security at the time, and we all believed that the new entitlement was going to inflate the costs of medical care. Sadly, we were correct.
Furthermore, the Congressional Budget Office is already projecting that the costs of healthcare are going to spiral exponentially under the terms of the recently passed Affordable Health Care Act making it even more unaffordable for Americans, and no one is laughing at the irony of the act's title.
The reasons why government involvement has such disastrous effects are beyond the scope of this opinion piece. We only came together as reader and writer to consider the question: What is fair? All we have learned thus far is that any attempt to insure an “equality of outcome” erodes the equality of opportunity". Maybe we should limit our concern to insuring “equality of opportunity.” What do you think?