Bill Murchison

2. There would be a menu of options, all right -- one designed by the government, rather than the marketplace; inevitably slower to recognize and respond to consumer needs, inasmuch as "expert" planners never need to ask what people want. The planners' mission is to save people the trouble of figuring out what they want.

3. What should be the overall cost of a health care system? That's something else the government would figure out, thanks. Though of course voters could depend on the paternalists of Washington, D.C., to let them know the answer eventually.

4. Along with the cost of answering, as expressed in tax collections. Never mind that bumping up tax rates crimps economic growth (not to mention the rights of producers).

5. Another good thing not to mind is the certainty of expanding programs and costs as the planners and paternalists encounter new opportunities and challenges. No government undertaking ever stays its original size.

A certain kind of mentality puts a higher premium on the plans of experts than on the decision-making capacity of citizens, which is why we can't escape completely the calculations of the health care gurus. You see, a guru knows . The Democratic presidential candidates are gurus. If we dumb members of mass society don't entirely understand our best interests, we may count on the likes of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards to wise us up.

With growing titillation, Big Brother -- or Sister -- casts a watchful eye our way.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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