Thursday, December 24, 2009

God Help Us

Health care passes the Senate on the same day I get my license from the Mississippi State Highway Patrol office. There are actual, sane people that have been to the latter and yet still want the same organization that runs the latter institution to now run our hospitals. God help us.

Joshua Cohen is on blogging heads arguing that conservatives who claim to follow Hayek are being hypocritical in opposing this bill. Glenn Loury adds that insurance companies' stock are going up as Obama care is passing.

It is true there is a lot of experimentation in the bill but it is all in the form of experts issuing different decisions about how people spend their own money. Hayek's argument against is that comprehensive reforms are made by people that are insulated from the consequences of those reforms. All of the experiments in this bill take choices away from the world of truth (as Harford puts it) from the world of consequences whether good or bad. That doesn't meant its a good idea, but it is hardly Hayekian. Notice how the argument is framed in terms of hypocrisy, not unnoticed implications of Hayek's thinking. You could always just say that there is an interesting aspect of Hayek's thinking: if you are going to have a government take over, it would be better to do it in the form of a lot of small experiments rather than one big program. I am not aware of Hayek ever making that argument but it is consistent with the broad sweep of his thinking I suppose. But no, it must be hypocrisy.

Then of course he follows with a lament for how nasty the Republicans have made politics.

And of course stocks are going up for insurance companies. The big insurers as with all big companies always do well when Government takes over. Big business loves being regulated. No more worries about innovative new competitors coming in. And you get 30 million new customers who had previously decided that their products were too expensive. Young healthy people forced to by your product as the expensive innovations in drugs get slowly strangled--what's not to like for big insurance? They have been declared public utilities. Let the long march of the undead begin!

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