Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"What, you want services for your taxes?"

Vantaa is having problems with its budget.

Juhani Paajanen, the mayor of Vantaa, promises to take care of the children, the sick and the elderly. In the same article he says "people are now richer than before and pay a thousand euros for a trip for Thailand, but at home they are not ready to pay for their own health, and demand services from the city".

Here in one sentence is what is very often the problem with socialized services: as soon as the people have decided to pay for some service together and the Powers That Be have collected that money in taxes, the Powers That Be start imagining that the money belongs to them, and that anything they give back to the citizenry is largesse for which the citizens should be properly grateful, and which the citizens are certainly not entitled to.

Explaining slowly for Juhani Paajanen and the other differently intelligent politicians: these people who you are talking about have already invested quite a lot of money in their health, before they have ever paid for that trip to Thailand. It's called taxes. It happens to be 18.5% on their income in Vantaa. It should be in your budget, ready to be used for providing health care to the people. If it's not in your budget, you need to explain some things, you need to be explained some things, and the city probably needs another mayor. Preferably one who owns a calculator.

In principle I don't mind a system where private insurance provides coverage to everyone who will pay, and public health care only picks up those who cannot afford buying insurance. The people of Finland, however, for better or for worse, have chosen the public coverage for everyone, and complaining about the fact that they would also like to get it is not gonna win you any votes.

No comments: