The Illusion of the Illusion

by Doug Magill


For decades the Democrat Party has thrived on the illusion that its policies would benefit those defined by liberals as most in need: the poor, minorities, the homeless, old people, Hispanics and women.  This illusion has been fostered by relentless attacks portraying Republicans and conservatives as being against these same groups.

Yet we know after all this time and trillions of dollars, that liberal Democrat policies do not in fact help, they exacerbate the problems of these groups, with accompanying additional unforeseen consequences such as the destruction of the family.

The illusion dates back to the very beginning of one of the touchstones of liberalism: Franklin D. Roosevelt’s progressive attempt to remake the country, with Social Security being the bedrock of the plan.

Walter Williams described the lie of Social Security from the very beginning:

The Social Security pamphlet of 1936 read, “Beginning November 24, 1936, the United States Government will set up a Social        Security account for you. … The checks will come to you as a right” ( Therefore, Americans have         been led to believe that Social Security is like a retirement account and money placed in it is their property. The fact of the matter belies that belief.

A year after the Social Security Act’s passage, it was challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court, in Helvering v. Davis. The court held that Social Security is not an insurance program, saying, “The proceeds of both employee and employer taxes are to be paid into the Treasury like any other internal revenue generally, and are not earmarked in any way.” In a 1960 case, Flemming v. Nestor, the Supreme Court held, “To engraft upon the Social Security system a concept of ‘accrued property rights’ would deprive it of the flexibility and boldness in adjustment to ever-changing conditions which it demands.”


Today, if you by some chance wander to the Social Security website you will find this clear caveat:  “Entitlement to Social Security benefits is not (a) contractual right.”

It was promised to be a right, and who is to blame people who bought into the myth if they thought they were paying money into an account that was theirs.  Surprise, it was the government’s money all along, to do with as the government sees fit.  Yet, this illusion has persisted for over 70 years.

Today many people still believe that somewhere is a social security account with their name on it with money that they have contributed that they are entitled to.  And once in a while some Democrat postulates this and then babbles about a lockbox or something, rather than the reality of  the sieve encrusted with thousands of grasping and sucking special interests and crony congressional friends that the federal budget really is.

The power of imagery and belief.

The latest illusion is Obamacare.  The intentions of the program were cast in the typical noble and passionate pleas to help those without health insurance, accompanied by the standard heart-rending stories of someone who went into financial trouble or became sicker because of those heartless insurance companies.  The usual religious admonitions and moral imperative claims wafted throughout the air.

And then there were the promises, lots of them.  You could keep your doctor, keep your policy, the costs would go down, the coverages would go up.  None of it was true and never was true.,  Any economist not trained in the Ivy Leagues could have told you that increased coverages would lead to increased costs.  Any physician not blinded by ideology could have told you that there would be a shortage of physicians and that doctors would opt out of the program.

The legislation was a hodgepodge of ill-conceived ideas pasted together and not even passed by both houses of Congress, yet deemed to have been passed by a reconciliation process not intended for major social legislation.  With plenty of payoffs to get votes, and lots of exemptions for the cronies of the President.

Ill-conceived, poorly-written, and an embarrassment to our Founding Fathers.

Yet people believed the illusion that improved insurance coverage could be had for less cost and for more people.

The President and members of his administration repeated the lies so often they forgot they were lies.  Now, slowly, the truth is beginning to come out and people are shocked.  Captain Renault delivered his lines better than these incompetents ever will.

Now we find the President changing his lines and claiming he never said what he said and that the problem is really lousy insurance companies and sub-standard policies.

An illusion on top of an illusion.  That what was promised wasn’t really, and that everyone but those involved are to blame.

Pretty soon we’ll be told that Obamacre wasn’t even really about health insurance but about creating job opportunities for bureaucrats from early childhood training programs developed for undocumented immigrants that are disabled and unable to find work because of homophobic laws in urban areas not properly represented because of illegal voter-ID laws.

Illusion is the first of all pleasures.  Oscar Wilde



Doug Magill is a cancer survivor who has been forced to navigate the treacherous terrain of health insurance and health care.  He is also a freelance writer, voice-over talent and consultant.  He can be reached at









  1. JF McKenna says:

    Bravo! Well-delivered wisdom–and that’s no illusion.

  2. Ed Oliveros says:

    Well said!!

  3. Steve Sweetnich says:

    Sadly, most of the American electorate believe as much in this President’s veracity as they do in bunnies puled from a hat…well done Mr. Magill.

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