Talking with my sister about the health care reform, we often come to the same split between our positions: I see it as an imperitive to take care of the least among us, a moral issue, while she, a very hard worker, is repelled by "all the people soaking the system" and hates to think of her tax dollars as helping such lazy bums. She works in the medical industry, as a front desk receptionist, so she says she sees a lot of this sort of fraud. I don't disagree that it happens.
Here's the thing. First, in America we have a very individualistic mindset, we idolize the frontiersman, the cowboy, the self made man. That was fine mindset when you were the only settlement for dozens of miles and had to do it on your own. But this is out of date: the frontier closed in 1890. We live in stable communities now, there are no Indian raids, we aren't battling to tame a wild land. And let's get one thing straight: no one is a self made man, that is a myth. Rags to riches, yes, but no one does it alone. If nothing else, such advancements are made possible by the society a person finds himself surrounded by. We use the public roads and bridges, the public schools, public libraries, the public police and fire departments, and of course legal frameworks, and a general culture that supports the entrepeneurial idea. One uses other people's capital, often, and/or the labor of others to do the work. Which isn't to discount the person's hard work, but let's have some perspective.
This is why I feel that the rich need to be taxed heavily, and provide for those whose labor actually provides their wealth. They (the rich) benefit most from this society, and thus owe the most. They can best afford it as well. Yes, they may have a much higher percentage of their income taxed away, but their living standard will still remain very high, they won't be lacking anything, will still live in great luxury. What is the difference between making 10 million and 20 million, as far as actual living standard goes? Nothing. You might buy a few less sports cars or a somewhat smaller mansion, or fewer mansions than before. Big fucking deal. Why are we expected to cry over this tragic loss? Get it together, people. You're still successful, and no one's "deincentivizing" it.
But some really do call this punishing success. I don't know. Only if money is your only measure of that, and only if you consider success being wealthy in a society that's rotting at the bottom. Do doctors go into medicine to make money, or because they want to help cure diseases and help others? Of course it's bound to be both. But then, the real problem isn't doctors who are reasonably wealthy, but the super rich, who just play financial games with inherited wealth. But either way, we must ask ourselves: at what point is enough enough? At what point does "success" turn into "theft" and "the rape of the lower classes"? This is a question that we as a society need to answer for ourselves. Or shall we just keep letting all the capital flow towards the few? I like what nationally syndicated talk show host Peter Werbe says: Eat the rich! (because they're eating the rest of us).
What I always end up getting around to is the question of morality. Chasing after the money dream has it's place, but it can't, in a compassionate society, be the end all. It is immoral for a tiny percentage of people suck all the wealth towards themselves, using the labor of the poor to benefit themselves, mangling the legal and financial system to their benefit, only to then leave everyone else out in the cold. If I break my arm or need an emergency apendectomy, I'm in debt up to my ass. Yet isn't the right to recieve medical care rather basic? Why should an accident or emergency turn me into a slave to some insurance company?
Yes people will take advantage, there's always going to be corruption and "soaking the system." But the sun shines on the just and the unjust alike, the rain falls on the fields of the industrious and the lazy. Is it right to not help the majority because a minority "ruin it for everyone"? I argue that it isn't. The rich can still be wealthy, they can still be comfortable. But not when it's at the expense of a basic standard of living for everyone. That is intolerable to a reasonable, compassionate person.