I’ve been noticing a trend among normally moderate liberal bloggers, that of support for socialized medicine. While I could understand when Matt Yglesias embraced it, due to the fact that he’s working at the Prospect, Kevin Drum’s endorsement is just plain mind-boggling. Look, I’m in favor of limited universal health care. I think if you make less than four times the poverty line, you should receive health care from the government, all expenses paid. That basically covers most of the middle class, eliminating most, if not all, of the involuntarily uninsured. But above that, I think it’s downright insulting to expect taxpayers to front the cost of Bill Gates’ health care. Moreover, it would be extremely harmful for us to do so. As I have noted time and time again, health insurance would cost $1.213 trillion a year. That’s more than half the current federal budget. Real tax increases would be needed, and many propose implementing a new payroll tax on employers. While most tax increases cost the nation at least some jobs, a payroll tax would be simply devastating. Another option that some support is a tax on stock and bond transactions. This would slow the stock market to a grinding halt, possibly triggering a slump bigger than those in 1929 and 1987. Needless to say, our economy doesn’t need that right now. But even if we found a way to fund the plan without significantly harming the economy, we can’t get around the fact that 1.25 million people work in the health insurance industry. The main reason I oppose single-payer health insurance is because of those people, because of those families. Getting rid of the health insurance industry would destroy these peoples’ lives, and the Democratic party, the “party of the people”, would be responsible. I can’t live with that, and I hope that the rest of my party can’t either.