Never mind that of those born in America, 86 percent have health care. Or that many of the so-called 44 million without health care insurance include the estimated 11 to 20 million illegal aliens -- only 57 percent of non-citizens have health care insurance. Or that 14 million of those households earning more than $50,000 lack health care insurance, over 7 million of them in households earning more than $75,000. Or that in the 20 years preceding Medicare, a one-day stay in a hospital increased threefold, versus the first 20 years post-Medicare when the same one-day stay in a hospital increased eight times.
What about government welfare? Most high school students read Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America," the Frenchman's famous examination of what makes America tick. Few read, however, the book he wrote a few years later, called "Memoir on Pauperism."
Tocqueville noticed in the 1830s that despite its wealth, England seemed to have the greatest number of street beggars. Why? England enacted one of the world's first welfare programs. "I am deeply convinced," wrote Tocqueville, "that any permanent, regular administrative system whose aim will be to provide for the needs of the poor will breed more miseries than it can cure, will deprave the population that it wants to help and comfort, will in time reduce the rich to being no more than the tenant-farmers of the poor, will dry up the sources of savings, will stop the accumulation of capital, will retard the development of trade, will benumb human industry and activity, and will culminate by bringing about a violent revolution in the State, when the number of those who receive alms will have become as large as those who give it, and the indigent, no longer being able to take from the impoverished rich the means of providing for his needs, will find it easier to plunder them of all their property at one stroke than to ask for their help."
"So by all means," I told my actor friend, "pursue your dreams. Just do so with your eyes open -- and on your own dime."
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