Wednesday, July 08, 2009

What will a Congress that couldn't run a cafeteria do with Nationalized Health Care? 

Hey, in all the complex debate about national health care reform, let's all remember a simple, clear fact:

The US Congress could not run a cafeteria, literally!

The great mental short-circuit suffered repeatedly by those on the left takes the form of looking at something (say medical care), thinking "market failure", and then jumping to the conclusion: "Government will make it all better!" ... which of course means "politicians will make it all better".

While they never say, or think of, "government failure".

Here's a very, very simple intellectual challenge for Paul Krugman or whomever else wants to argue that of course after politicians take further control of the health care system we will all receive more and better for less.

Look at that real-life example of Congress's inability to run its own cafeteria. List for us all the specific examples of "government failure" that contributed to and caused this inability -- you know, as one would in an answer to an exam question.

Then tell us how and why these very examples of "government failure" won't apply to the government's future, greatly expanded management of nationalized health care to create the exact same screw-ups on a trillion-dollar, rather than cafeteria, scale. Be specific.

For extra points one might refer to ways that Congress has already screwed up the US medical care system -- such as by tying medical benefits to employment; reversing any coherent insurance model for Medicare by providing first-dollar coverage for routine, predictible services (thus destroying the market for them) while leaving calamatous, lose-your-home-and-life-savings nursing home and disability care uncovered; enabling the staggering fraud rates of Medicaid, etc. -- and explain exactly why Congress will never, ever commit such screw-ups ever again!

Well ... while we are waiting for that blue book to be filled out, we might drift a bit philosophical and consider how the battle between those who see market failure but are blind to government failure, versus those who have eyes open to both kinds of failure, is endless and joined even at the level of battling Nobelists ... such as Coase versus Samuelson. Coase:

"My approach is to compare the alternatives.

"People like Samuelson like to set up a perfect world and say that the market does not bring us to this point and imply that the government should do something.

"They stop their analysis at that point."

So many do.

But it is a battle the forces of light who can see clearly in all directions must never give up.