Tuesday, February 16, 2010

You're not wrong Walter, your just an asshole

Listening to the Health Care Reform debate makes my head explode. Mostly this is because many of the anti-Health Care Reform arguments are so flawed that my explodes trying to figure out were to start.

In the interest of my own personal health, specifically keeping my head from exploding, let me get something off my chest: conservative economists* are not opposed to health care reform, specifically the House or Senate Bill, because it won't accomplish the progressive goals of "bending the cost curve", expanding coverage to millions of un- or under-insured, reduce the number of preventable deaths or make it easier for businesses to plan for costs.

They oppose it because they oppose those policy goals.

I think this gets lost in debates with Fresh Water types over technical analysis and flawed logic.

Conservative Economists generally believe that a properly functioning market is one in which there is a profit opportunity. The Great Recession isn't a problem because the financial system collapsed and people lost their jobs. It's a problem because government intervention prevents opportunistic individuals for capitalizing on arbitage opportunites. Likewise with Health Care: the problem isn't that our health care system discriminates against people and is expensive. Companies are making money so the market works.

So when you hear that Mankiw or Samuelson oppose HCR because it won't work they mean they oppose it because it fails to provide arbitage opportunities for ventrue capitilists.

I think that's a good thing.

A notable exception is Tyler Cowan who actually opposes HCR because he's a true conservative, i.e. he has a acknowledged Status Quo bias.

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