Friday, July 17, 2009
LegalCare: A Modest Proposal
Normally I'd suggest to Ed that he be careful what he asks for, but lawyers butter Obama's bread, so no worries.
I propose that the government impose a single-payer system on the legal profession. Instead of charging private fees, all attorneys would have to send their bills to LegalCare, a new agency in the federal government. Because the government can bargain collectively, they can impose rational fees for legal services instead of the exorbitant billing fees attorneys now charge. Three hundred dollars an hour? Thing of the past. Everyone knows that the government can control costs through price-setting; now we can see this process applied to the legal system, where the government has a large interest in seeing cost savings.
How will we pay for LegalCare? I take a page from the House surtax method here, which will disproportionately hit doctors in a wide variety of disciplines. In this case, I propose a 5.4% surtax on lawyers, judges, lobbyists, and political officeholders at the state and federal level. They’re the ones who have enriched themselves through this inequity in the legal system. After all, why should we all have to pay for the single-payer legal system when we can penalize lawyers instead?