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June 03, 2008
A Brief Primer on the Perniciousness of Government

Yesterday my local NPR station (government-funded, I know, and thank goodness they exist) ran a brief piece on how my local energy company has been muscled into investing in windmills (those who've read Cervantes understand how fitting this is), in return for the hope that our state will eventually let them build something that actually generates power, like a coal-fired generator. The catch is that the energy company announced it will be seeking permission from the state to increase rates 15 percent, to pay for — can you see it coming? — the windmill farm.

This put me in mind of how many states require that health insurers who want to serve customers within their borders provide not just basic health coverage, but funding for things like hairpieces for cancer patients, and podiatry services. Now hairpieces for cancer patients are a good thing, and so are healthy feet, but the effect of such mandates is much the same as if your state forbids you from buying an old pickup with no AC or stereo. Yes, an old stinky truck without an AC is crummy in the summer, but it beats walking, which is what you'll be doing if you're only allowed to buy a Lexus.

We don't think about it that way, however, we simply think about how everyone ought to have everything they need, immediately. And then we drive up the price of health care, or energy, and when people can't afford it, we declare a "market failure." Then some officious Ivy Leaguer conveniently emerges with a blueprint for rational government provision of the service.

And then the next thing you know, we're France. And that, my friends, is just plain un-American.

Posted by Woodlief on June 03, 2008 at 08:56 AM



Posted by: David Andersen at June 3, 2008 11:20 AM

speaking as an insider, government lawyer (eeek!!!) pernicious(ness) ain't the half of it.

Posted by: karen at June 3, 2008 2:23 PM

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