Saturday, March 31, 2012

Imperial Overreach and the Cost of Health Care in America

All empires peak when they no longer have the resources to sustain their mass. For most empires, it is a war that triggers this: it causes both spending on the battlefield as well as displacement of otherwise productive labor and a rapid consumption of capital. It's hard to reinvest something that just exploded.

If you win the war, great, you get the spoils, but if you lose - or win but aren't able to take the spoils - you just burned up most of your productive resources for no return.

Our empire will be different. We've learned some of the lessons of military overreach, and we live an era where it is not accepted for the winner to plunder the spoils of war so the incentive for conquest is much diminished.

Our empire will achieve overreach because of health care costs. When the age of American greatness ends we will look back on it and say that the trigger for decline was not our WWII (British Empire), nor our Afghanistan (USSR), but a decision the Supreme Court made in 2012.

I hope that our Justices are wise.

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