The confluence of events over the last few days begs for commentary. Let me see if I have this straight. The government shuts down Oct. 1. This is the same day they open the biggest welfare program on the planet. Am I the only one who sees the irony in this? Is the Silliness Factor off the charts and I am the only one who notices?
At precisely the same instant, half the country officially admits we can’t pay for the current menu of giveaways; the other half wants to give away even more. To top this, everyone was surprised that the new Christmas tree, MalCoverage.gov, crashed. Of course. If you opened a Website that offered free stuff, yours would probably crash, too.
Not surprisingly, the Cabal of Ninnies we know as Congress remains outwardly clueless, hiding their perfidy behind ignorance. Another few days and we hit the debt ceiling. It is the worst of times and it is the worst of times.
The way to understand this is to ask what would happen if Amazon suddenly began giving away all the products it formerly sold. First, the site would crash; second, Amazon would never do that. But somehow we think as a society we can. Worse, we think we can and the result will not be chaos. At least what we are smoking is legal in some states.
Liberals will cry foul. People are not getting health care free. They have to pay a premium. Maybe, but that premium does not fully cover the cost of the quality of health care we now enjoy. What matters is at the margins. My doctor is an excellent physician. I want him in business next year when I need him. But the difference between the market value of his services and the artificial price he is required to accept is a margin that describes his quality.
While my doctor is late in his career and has sunk cost he cannot recover, new doctors needed to replace him are making a fresh choice. Likely they will not be the best and brightest. They must be those who accept the lower rewards that come with government-controlled care.
Think of your present doctor graduating from a fine medical school and your future doctor graduating from the School of Political Correctness. This is a real incentive to eat right and exercise. You do not want those people sticking their fingers into you.
So, here is my solution. All doctors should offer their services on eBay. This is an efficient market and the Website is stable. People can bid for thousands of procedures just like they do for used appliances. Doctors can be ranked by patient satisfaction. It’s a simple plan and a real exchange.
Of course, all problems have a real estate aspect. Doctors need a place to work. You probably don’t want the doctor who accepts the winning bid to perform your organ-of-choice-ectomy or favorite-body-part-augmentation to operate in his garage. Fine. Hospitals have computers. They can get to the Web. Bundling the hospital with the doctor can’t be harder than Amazon’s “People who bought this book also bought this other one.”
Alright, alright, I know this is never going to happen. People long ago abandoned the idea of paying for what they can get the government to steal for them. The politicos have cooked up a scheme to bring us all down to their level (ignoring the fact that they voted themselves superior health coverage).
As always, dealing with the government involves raising your guard and lowering your expectations. They only exist to help the not-too-bright in our society. They can’t afford an informed populous as they would be too soon found out. Their real goal is uniformity in all things. They want everyone to go to the same schools, have the same car, the same house, the same beliefs, just different identification numbers. They are going to get their wish.
We are all going to die of the same thing: free stuff that is not free and also is not there. Its name is Obamacare.
Brown is an investor and freelance writer residing in Alpine.