U.S. Medicine Resembles a “Vampire Economy”
Dec 13, 2012
The United States is forfeiting a half century of leadership in medical care and medical research and development, writes orthopaedic surgeon Lee Hieb, M.D., in an article in the winter issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.
“We are rapidly throwing it all away as we spiral ever downward into a “vampire economy”—an economy so overtaxed and overregulated that it is sucking the lifeblood out of its productive citizens, she writes.
Hieb undertakes a diagnostic examination of the medical economy, and features the following findings:
- There are 140,000 pages of regulations pertaining to Medicare, compared with a “mere” 82,000 in an impossibly complex tax code.
- Today, 49 cents out of every dollar is spent by government. In 1920, only 10 cents was spent by government, and 90 cents privately. Even in 1947, after World War II and the Marshall Plan, only 20 cents of every dollar was spent by government.
- Businesses are organized into cartels. Some are favored by government, so that profits are retained privately, but losses are shared by taxpayers.
The diagnosis, Hieb writes, according to the Austrian school of economics, is that we have a classic fascist economy. According to Lwewellyn Rockwell, “Fascism is the system of government that cartelizes the private sector, centrally plans the economy to subsidize producers, exalts the police state as the source of order, denies fundamental rights and liberties to individuals, and makes the executive state the unlimited master of society.”
Hieb’s description of the economy comes from the title of Guenther Reimann’s 1938 book, The Vampire Economy: Doing Business Under Fascism.
“The frontispiece of Reimann’s book is a pictorial representation of what it took a car manufacturer to get 5,000 tires for his autos. After 6 months and numerous encounters with boards, chambers, secretaries, ministers, councils, and commissars, the company received 1,000 rubber tires and 4,000 ersatz tires, at a 200% increase in price.”
Hieb compares this with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), although the FDA takes 15 years to approve a drug, not just 6 months.
When F.A. Hayek wrote The Road to Serfdom in 1928, 55 percent of the German economy was controlled by the government, and their military expenditure was 10 percent of their budget. Today in America it is estimated that 45 percent of our economy is controlled by the government, and our military consumes 21 percent of the national budget.
Hieb explores the moral hazards of dependency on government money, and warns physicians: “We must never put ourselves in such financial dependency on the government that we are willing to compromise Hippocratic principles of ethical patient care.” Independence, she writes, is the “garlic necklace.”
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), a national organization representing physicians in all specialties, founded in 1943, publishes the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.