Following up on what motivates us to work and create, I want to point out a few cases of “Galtism” in current events.
(As background, John Galt is a character in Atlas Shrugged who leaves society when it stops rewarding his ingenuity and hard work.)
First, a letter from Jake DeSantis, an executive vice president at A.I.G. who resigned after the company reneged on its bonus contracts after it became politically unpopular:
As most of us have done nothing wrong, guilt is not a motivation to surrender our earnings. We have worked 12 long months under these contracts and now deserve to be paid as promised. None of us should be cheated of our payments any more than a plumber should be cheated after he has fixed the pipes but a careless electrician causes a fire that burns down the house. (Jake DeSantis, “Dear A.I.G., I Quit”, Ny Times, March 24, 2009.)
Second, some musings on “what happens when government regulation makes it more expensive to bill for medical services than providers receive”:
More and more of my fellow doctors are turning away Medicare patients because of the diminished reimbursements and the growing delay in payments. I’ve had several new Medicare patients come to my office in the last few months with multiple diseases and long lists of medications simply because their longtime provider — who they liked — abruptly stopped taking Medicare.
This scenario is not academic. The health systems in Canada and the UK have shortages of doctors, especially specialists…which is why it takes months to get testing and diagnosis even for serious illnesses.
Among P.J. O’Rourke’s well-known lines is “If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.” The full speech is worth reading:
Freedom is not empowerment…. Anybody can grab a gun and be empowered. It’s not entitlement. An entitlement is what people on welfare get, and how free are they? It’s not an endlessly expanding list of rights — the “right” to education, the “right” to health care, the “right” to food and housing. That’s not freedom, that’s dependency. Those aren’t rights, those are the rations of slavery — hay and a barn for human cattle.
There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you…please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences. (P.J. O’Rourke, “The Liberty Manifesto”, May 6, 1993.)