I brought up alcohol as an example of a good with very inelastic demand, as the fact that prohibiting it merely caused demand to increase. The issue at hand has nothing to do with prohibition and everything to do with the fact that certain goods, such as alcohol or medicine, will always have very high and very inelastic demand due to biological reasons--so as a consumer with a family, simply opting out of the health care industry because the firms are all illegally fixing prices to exorbitantly high rates is really not an option, unless you have $12k lying around every time anyone in your family requires even a brief hospital visit. Good luck with that, and don't come crying to Uncle Sam if you can't pay for Timmy's operation--you should have thought of that and worked harder before Timmy got sick; it's yer own damn fault!
And so...you're now arguing to me that a capitalist economy is fundamentally better than a socialist one. Okay? What on earth makes you think you need to convince me of that? I take issue with Libertarians because their near 100% opposition to any and all socialist policy is childish and impractical, not because I think we need to turn this country into Cuba. Capitalism IS a superior system; its excesses just need to be kept in check by vigilant governmental bodies.
And yes obviously that's how you deal with poverty long term, but do you not realize the problem with simply ignoring the short term consequences? "Oh well people starve and die" is simply not an acceptable outcome!
By the way, note how I never said that I support a market that is "more regulated than free", just that the Libertarian fantasy of a totally unregulated market is just that--fantasy.
I also agree that our welfare system needs reform; Clinton did a number of good things on this front in the 90s. But the fact that we're executing it poorly right now doesn't mean that it's an inherently flawed concept--some semblance of social support net is just plain common sense.
And for the 45,876th time: NO, I do NOT support a single-payer health care system; I merely support increased governmental oversight of a fundamentally private sector-based health care system so that healthy competition can resume and the egregious price fixing that's going on now is put to a stop.
I also support McCain's idea of offering a $5k (give or take) income tax rebate credit to any family who chooses to purchase a private plan instead of going with an employer-provided HMO. Little tricks like this are a great way to stimulate the kind of natural competition that the private sector requires, but they're technically socialist because they redistribute wealth unnaturally--notice how reasonable conservatives have principles but also know where their realistic limits are? This is the problem with Libertarians. You think that "economic freedom is generally desirable" somehow translates into "I should automatically have all the economic freedom I want whenever I want it, on principle", and I'm really at a loss as to understanding why.
I don't want to socialize the whole industry either, but we do need to look at more options, and unfortunately no major political party is offering a complete and realistic plan on this topic at the moment.
I am not working from a framework in which the best system is one where every single person is covered, either--but mine includes every child and other person who cannot reasonably be expected to work for an income being guaranteed free health care, which, to me, seems only human.