Thursday, February 15, 2007

From the Master of Economics, The Great Scot

"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages." Adam Smith

In other words - we count on the self interest of the business man to get us the best product at the best price, to do things for us or get things for us we could not do or get for ourselves (or not as well). He/she will do all of this for us, not out of respect for our needs or in appreciation for what great people we are, but simply because in so doing he/she makes their way in the world.

When I buy something from one such as this, it makes the world a better place because we each get what we want. I want what he's selling more than the money I give, and he wants the money more than he wants the good or service. This is almost magical and we take it for granted. This simple analysis is why freedom permits the more efficient organization of an economy - for who knows better than I what I want in place of the money/time I have at my disposal? Who knows more than the businessman what price to offer to make money and make it worth my while to purchase?

In comparison to this almost 'to good to be true' example, you can think of how government arranges things - they tell us what we're paying (sometimes not up front) then they provide a service and we're lucky if it is satisfactory. And if it isn't ... there's little to be done, for we certainly cannot choose another provider.

Businesses provide us more by profiting than governments do by wasting money we never wanted them to have in the first place. A business can never force you to give them your hard earned money - a government almost never offers a product you would pay for if you were not required by law to do so.

So when I hear people complain about profits, and ask for government intervention, I assume they must be ignorant of what they are doing; and if not, they have a perverse sense of justice and goodness and no appreciation for freedom. All of that I could forgive, except they conspire to give away my freedom with their own.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

An Intelligent Policy Idea from an Unlikely Source

As noted in this article by Michael Barone, President Bush proposed a solution that would accomplish much of what I wanted to address in my last post. Holy smokes, an intelligent policy proposal from a State of the Union address! Whatever will they think of next.

This will not on it's own turn off the flipping awful single payer (govt) "universal" health care proposal that's still the toast of the left. As much as I would like to, I don't have time to describe how costly, inefficient and ineffective this sort of govt directed health care would become, nor how it would increase our dependence on a growing population base (generally via importing labor since Americans no longer choose to make enough of our own. Our birth rate in the US is 2.1 or so, just barely the sustainment rate; all population growth is via immigration now).

All I can do is pray that intelligence will win out, that Americans will demand more than feel good legislation, that they will look at what these 'single payer' systems are doing to countries that have tried them already. Bottom line: there are so many emerging options for health care, many of which are nice but optional, that no system is going to be able to afford to pay for all of these choices for everyone. We can ration by individual choice - or by government rationing, as is done in Canada, UK, etc.

What is govt rationing? One example: in Canada, a man needed a knee replacement surgery. His knee was hurting quite a lot. He was put on a two year waiting list - in other words, knee replacements under the Canadian system are rationed. He decided he would like to just pay out of his own money to have the surgery done - eventually, he was allowed to do this, but only after winning a suit against the govt in the Canadian Supreme Court! He had to sue to be able to pay with his own cash for a knee replacement. This is the kind of 'care' we can expect from govt run health care.

Please, America, see through the facade of government supplied solutions, don't sell out, hold on to liberty, demand less govt intervention, demand fewer govt solutions, hold out for the excellent market based solutions out there. Don't let the socialist ________s get us down.