no third solution

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Attempt to Outlaw Scarcity Fails in Massachusetts

February 18th, 2008

If politicians were capable of eliminating scarcity, i.e., the single most fundamental problem to any people, at any time in history, and under any circumstances, we’d be swimming in lemonade rivers and sunning ourselves in cotton-candy fields. We are not swimming in lemonade rivers, or sunning ourselves in cotton-candy fields.  Therefore, politicians can’t simply legislate abundance.  Of course, this is a post hoc/propter hoc informal fallacy, but I think the point is clear enough.

As we’ve recently seen in Massachusetts, it’s impossible to effectively implement so-called “universal healthcare.” Well, today we return to Massachusetts, where the latest evidence confirms that universal healthcare doesn’t work. (Who knew?)  The human-interest angle of this story (almost certainly a statistical out-lier) is the mother of five in a single-income poverty-line family, stricken with various medical problems, who won’t be able to afford the $40/month Commonwealth Plan, if rates increase.  I found it interesting that the author buried this angle in the last paragraph, but at risk of digressing, I’ll leave the argument from pity for another time.

The solution, according to Universal Care proponents, is that if she can’t afford it, let’s just make other people pay for it. (This is sometimes called “welfare,” or euphemistically, “entitlements,” or in the pejorative, “communism”.) If others don’t want to pay for it, some proponents like Hillary Clinton suggest that we can just take it from them, at gunpoint if need be.  Apparently, it’s not theft if the government does it.  Or if a majority of idiots approve of it. The end result, of course, is a system that is destined to fail at providing the only thing it’s alleged to provide, while permitting the government to exercise even greater amount of control over our lives, as our freedoms and our dignity are surrendered or usurped.

I never cease to be amased by the paradox presented by government: it’s the only institution in the world, where the response to failure is nearly always more of whatever it was that initially wasn’t working.   When your car doesn’t start, you don’t keep trying; you’ll flood it.  When leeches don’t cure cancer, you don’t apply more leeches; you find a chemotherapist or a hospice.  If you don’t lose weight on the donuts & ice cream diet, you don’t start eating more ice cream, you get your fat ass on a treadmill.  But when government is involved… man, when government fails, all that reasoning and critical thinking goes straight out the fucking window, because people always want more government.



  • Anna Morgenstern says on: February 18, 2008 at 7:22 pm


    I see the current state of healthcare like a market in food where every kind of meat besides filet mignon was illegal.
    Soon the government starts proposing “universal meat plans”, to defray the outrageous cost of filet mignon…

  • David Z says on: February 18, 2008 at 10:54 pm


    I like to use the “cadillac” analogy. Friedman once posited that the license requirements for lawyers was like forcing manufacturers to only produce Cadillacs (or BMWs, etc.) The net result is that a lot of people simply can’t afford cadillacs, so they get nothing, even though they’d be happy with a used Honda Civic.

no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics