According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, 55 percent of Americans prefer that government spend more on health coverage while only 36 percent favor cutting taxes. To the extent that the poll reflects the population, this shows how huge numbers of Americans lack both an understanding of economics and justice. They don’t grasp that money comes from the private sector; that without a flourishing private sector, there would be no money for government to forcibly redistribute into health care coverage. Instead, 55 percent of the population assumes that government can somehow just create the funds out of thin air — on the backs of an already heavily taxed private sector — to pay for health care.

The worse news is that huge numbers of Americans don’t understand justice. They evidently feel it’s unjust to have to pay for their own health care, but they  feel it is just to tax the population to forcibly pay for everyone else’s health care.

This serves as more evidence that while Americans reject socialism and statism in principle, they more than ever before embrace it in practice. This could mean good news for liberal Democrats such as Dick Gephardt, who favors spending on government health care over cutting taxes and plans to run on this plank in 2004.

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