This Version of “Personal Responsibility” Leaves Much to Be Desired
On January 11, 2010, Senator Mary Landrieu was confronted by protestors outside the Vermilion Parish Library as she spoke about coastal protection. The protestors were there to discuss the Senator’s vote on health care reform. As she responded to criticism, she noted:
“The idea is to require personal responsibility. People have to have insurance but we’ll help you pay for it.”
This is a strange kind of personal responsibility. Real personal responsibility requires individual people to take ownership of their actions. If the government mandates behavior, it can hardly be thought of as people taking the responsibility to accomplish something on their own.
To make matters worse, Landrieu follows up with a promise that the government will help pay for this required behavior. It seems that she views personal responsibility as something that ought be legislated and subsidized rather than left to the individual where it belongs.
If legislators focused on addressing the unnecessary rules and regulations that drive up the cost of insurance and health care, more individuals could afford to act responsibly. That would be better for the individual and less expensive for the government.