Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Monday, August 26, 2013


Ezra Klein notes that health care and education do not conform to market forces, because they HAVE to be purchased at some point.  If you CAN go to college, you MUST go to college.

Well, maybe.

But his point is that the greatest power a consumer has is the power to say, "No".  iPhone 5 too expensive?  I'll wait until it comes down in price.  Maybe look at a Droid.

You can't do that with chemotherapy and you probably shouldn't do that with college.

He buttresses this point by noting how much money we spend on health care and education compared to other developed countries and how poorly our results are.

The comments are depressing as hell, a relentless march of market fundamentalists and Tea Party trolls.

The basic comparison point is that OECD countries have the government RUN health care and much of higher education, whereas in the US this is in private hands.

In health care and in college, this means that if you have money, your results are excellent.  You can get the best care and your kid can go to Stanford.

If you DON'T have money, you are going to struggle.  And those struggles accumulate over generations.

OECD countries have aggressive and pervasive welfare states that don't allow for the sort of poverty we see in the US.  And much of that poverty exists among a heterogeneous populations of minorities.  

If you remove the poor from America's health care and education system, we come out near the top.  If you just look at the poor we are at the bottom.

John Edwards was a scumbag, but he was right about Two Americas.

No comments: