Thursday, January 3, 2013

Free Market Healthcare and Mutual Insurance

The economic results of government intervention are quite well observed and documented. When the government steps into a market through regulation, it's public "intentions" may be to help increase access to a service, or to drive down costs to make certain goods and services available at costs more affordable to a wider section of the consumers, but those goals often have unintended consequences for which those who study economics can see all too well. The deadweight loss created by intervening in the functions of natural market forces is blatant, difficult to refute or ignore, but when the problems are created by intervention by the state, how can further or expanded intervention reverse that course?

The Cato Institute asked and answered that very question a few years ago, back when the public was thinking that it would be better to plunder our fellow citizens to fund our own health care. Somehow, the idea that theft is bad was shelved for a while, and we were fed that line from the government. Plunder is still immoral, even when we allow someone with guns to do so with our consent. We are still accepting spoils of violence. 

It is increasingly obvious that government solutions to health care are not effective. People often find market outcomes appealing. Proponents of free markets in health care should work to make the most persuasive case for real reform and to achieve incremental reforms where possible. 

What we need is a true free market in health care and mutual fund insurance, which has historically shown a tendency to drive costs down and accessibility up, something that socialized services fail miserably to do on all counts. 

Or we could just stick our heads in the sand and believe that the state will come to our rescue and save us from the big bad capitalists. 

Today, we are constantly being told, the United States faces a health care crisis. Medical costs are too high, and health insurance is out of reach of the poor. The cause of this crisis is never made very clear, but the cure is obvious to nearly everybody: government must step in to solve the problem.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, one of the primary sources of health care and health insurance for the working poor in Britain, Australia, and the United States was the fraternal society. Fraternal societies (called "friendly societies" in Britain and Australia) were voluntary mutual-aid associations. Their descendants survive among us today in the form of the Shriners, Elks, Masons, and similar organizations, but these no longer play the central role in American life they formerly did. As recently as 1920, over one-quarter of all adult Americans were members of fraternal societies. (The figure was still higher in Britain and Australia.) Fraternal societies were particularly popular among blacks and immigrants. (Indeed, Teddy Roosevelt's famous attack on "hyphenated Americans" was motivated in part by hostility to the immigrants' fraternal societies; he and other Progressives sought to "Americanize" immigrants by making them dependent for support on the democratic state, rather than on their own independent ethnic communities.)

Or maybe government didn't help after all...

House Republicans Celebrate New Year By Allowing Violence Against Women Act To Die

It's all about hownthe media spin the story, not whether it has any merit:

Even after taking heavy losses in the 2012 Election, including a clear rejection by women voters, Republicans still refused to protect women and children.

Isn't it rather redundant that while we already have morality to cover issues of violence and coercion, and that violence general is prohibited (yet not prevented) by the state, further convolution through the law to prohibit specific types of violence already prohibited on the general level is ineffective, but does gain political capital with those intended to benefit from the Law. If the law benefits some disproportionately or at the expense of others (legal plunder), then the law must be abolished, in the words of Bastiat: 

But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.

Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals. If such a law — which may be an isolated case — is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system.

In the political theater, opposition tonal which protects or benefits some perceived minority or subset of society is seen through the lens of media as an affront to that subset. This perception of discrimination no less unsubstantiated it than belief in a deity makes it exist. And since "discrimination" is merely the act of making informed choices, we should choose to abandon bad laws in favor of morality and reason. A system of law lacking reason is none on which to base social justice.

As usual, the market will find a natural balance, and those who discriminate against women will find themselves losing the long run. If the law intends to protect women and children, rest assured that it will have the adverse effect of penalizing and oppressing that segment of society.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

More Fiscal Cliff BS

Krauthammer proves he does not fully understand the debt crisis, and says that the "fiscal cliff" is a "complete surrender on everything," but compromise on such an important economic issue isn't what we need to correct an economic downturn caused by intervention by the state. The disproportionate lack of spending cuts when compared to tax increases only shows the inherent lack of commitment by those in public office. As usual, career politicians have little concern to be accountable for their actions, especially when the tax eaters are living at the expense of the tax producers. 

How can anyone seriously thinking about overwhelming debt and spending believe that simply increasing the burden on taxpayers will address the underlying issue; increases in public spending. It's like taking Tylenol for cancer; it doesn't address anything other than a minor symptom. Want to get serious about the national debt and deficit spending? Cut spending by a third, and cut taxes as well. 

Texans Against Senator John Cornyn

Anyone else think it's time to see senator Cornyn removed as Texas representative? His recent support for the "fiscal cliff" compromise shows me that he enjoys spending other people's money and would rather see taxes increase so that he can continues to do without regard to that unsustainable path. Cornyn would rather ignore the realistic idea that cutting spending creases deficits, while raising taxes only increases the national debt. How can anyone so ignorant of economic principles be allowed to make fiscal choices on behalf of anyone else? There is nothing bipartisan about what politicians are doing today in regards to responsibility in government, and voting them out is one effective way to make a change in the state.


At least, with Cornyn and Pelosi holding hands-on this "compromise," we don't have to pass the billet see what's in it...