Liberals and conservatives agree: Obamacare may be just a dress rehearsal for full-on, government-run medicine. While that prospect gives the Right the shakes, the Left longingly dreams of a single-payer health system.
"ObamaCare is awful," Left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore recently wrote. Instead, he argued, "a single-payer, Medicare-for-all model was the true way to go."
"What we've done with Obamacare is have a step in the right direction," Senate Democrat leader Harry Reid said in an interview last August. Asked if he favored single payer, Reid told Nevada newsman Steve Sebelius: "Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes."
"I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program," Obama told the AFL-CIO in June 2003. "A single-payer health care plan, universal health care plan. That's what I'd like to see."
But why stop there? If single payer is good enough for health care, why not impose that model elsewhere? Imagine the possibilities!
Single grocer: Military PX stores could be expanded so that Washington could control the delivery of everything from slab bacon to Raisin Bran. This should end loss leaders, blue-light specials, two-for-one deals, and other sneaky promotional gimmicks on the part of A&P, Safeway, Trader Joe's, and other supermarket chains. When General Foods, Maxwell House, and average farmers can ship their food to one buyer, just visualize the efficiency. The savings, naturally, would be passed on to YOU!
• Single operator: Restore the Bell System. Narrow options, few services, and little confusion. Using mobile phones to identify songs in nightclubs? Who needs that?
• Single flyer: Also called Air Force for All, this would involve the nationalization of American, Southwest, United and other airlines. Instead of all that counterproductive competition, Air Force pilots would whisk business and leisure travelers to their destinations in Air Force jets. And just imagine the fun when JFK-era B-52s could stop carrying atomic bombs and start hauling passengers.
• Single builder: Americans occupy everything from studio apartments to beach houses to country estates. This housing inequality is dizzying and likely unjust. Why not let the Department of Housing and Urban Development construct equal homes for everyone? Just think: Once Americans inhabit indistinguishable housing units, the experts in Washington could standardize carpeting, wallpaper, and even countertops. Americans could have identical refrigerators, dishwashers, and stoves. Perhaps soaps, shampoos, and toothpastes could be harmonized to comply with brand-new federal standards from a new Department of Hygiene.
• Single player: Is it right that so many garage bands fail while Lady Gaga and Kanye West virtually print money every time either walks past a microphone? Of course not. So, why not let the Marine Band play all music? These highly skilled and potentially deadly tunesmiths can perform "Hail to the Chief" without sheet music. They surely know other songs and can learn others. And who knows? They might take requests.
• Single broadcaster: A&E, CBS, ESPN, FMC, FNC, NBC, USA. Who can swim through that alphabet soup? The solution is as easy as ABC: Scrap these pesky channels and replace them with these three letters: PBS. With just one channel on TV, Americans could stop looking beneath the sofa cushions for their misplaced remote controls. They would not need them anymore. The on/off switch would suffice.
• Single publisher: The Government Printing Office should produce all books henceforth. The hard-working employees at Encounter, Regnery Gateway, Simon & Schuster, and other such companies can go home and dive into the reading piles that each and every one of them has. The GPO can assume their duties and infuse in romance novels and spy thrillers all of the verve and flair that they now add to The Federal Register.
It is amazing that liberals ache to apply this command-and-control principle to health care but not these other sectors of the economy. Perhaps this illustrates the biggest problem with today's Left. They simply fail to see the magic of inserting Big Government in each and every crevice of American life.
Deroy Murdock is a Fox News contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.