Search This Blog

Friday, April 6, 2012

Will We Have To Buy Broccoli?

"Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain." — Frédéric Bastiat (The Law)

"Liberal commentators were shocked this past week when in three days of oral argument in the lawsuits challenging ObamaCare, five Supreme Court justices — a majority — asked questions strongly suggesting they think the legislation is unconstitutional. The justices are not the only federal officials who take an oath to uphold the Constitution. So do the president and vice president, Cabinet members and other appointees, and every member of Congress. That means that every federal official has an obligation to act in line with the Constitution as he or she understands it. And that doesn't necessarily mean obeying Supreme Court decisions. Clearly the two parties are divided on the constitutionality of the ObamaCare mandate. Polls have shown large majorities of voters (We The People) think the provision is unconstitutional, though one can wonder whether many have given the matter much thought. But they're certainly giving it more thought after this week and will likely give it more when the decision comes down. Voters can reasonably ask candidates for Congress their views on this and other constitutional issues and call on them to vote against measures they consider beyond Congress' constitutional powers.

Finding herself with a bit of time on her hands, Justice Ginsburg swung by Cairo last month to help out the lads from the Muslim Brotherhood building the new Egypt: 'I would not look to the United States Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012,' she advised them. Instead, she recommended the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the European Convention on Human Rights. That's why the fate of the republic will come down to a 5-4 vote. Because four-ninths of the constitutional court thinks the American constitutional order is as out dated as a 2006 BlackBerry. If the establishment wants to invent a new 'right' — i.e., yet another intrusion by government — it goes ahead and does so. If it happens to conflict with this year's constitution, they rewrite it. The United States is the only Western nation in which our rulers invoke the Constitution for the purpose of overriding it — or, at any rate, torturing its language beyond repair. Thus, in [the] debate on whether ObamaCare is merely the latest harmless evolution of the interstate-commerce clause, the most learned and highly remunerated jurists in the land chewed over the matter of whether a person, simply by virtue of being born, was participating in a 'market.' Had George III shown up at the Constitutional Convention to advance that argument with a straight face, the framers would have tossed aside the quill feathers and reached for their muskets."

Paul Krugman is no beginner when it comes to economic fallacies. From calling for a Federal Reserve-engineered housing bubble to bring the U.S. out of the dot-com recession to actually declaring that there is a free lunch to be enjoyed with money-printing, the Keynesian bulldog has proven himself totally ignorant of the concept of scarcity.

Scarcity, of course, is the sole reason why men economize and produce. It is the means to achieve food, water, shelter, and all other goods which allow the species to survive. If there is no scarcity, there is no market economy. Scarcity implies opportunity costs, as nothing comes without a cost in terms of time and quantity. Purchasing an ice cream cone on a hot day means that money spent can't be used for anything else. Going for a drive on a Friday afternoon means that time spent driving can't be spent enjoying other activities.

Scarcity is a simple concept with broad implications. When a Nobel Prize-winning economist appears incapable of understanding it, one must question the true intent of his writing or the value of a Nobel Prize.

There are examples abound in his recent New York Times column "Broccoli and Bad Faith." With the Supreme Court hearing arguments over the constitutionality of President Obama's keystone health care law, Krugman is worried that the high court may strike down the bill over its breaching of Constitutional authority by mandating U.S. citizens purchase health insurance.

But being a big-government cheerleader, Krugman has no qualms about whether the law is Constitutional or not. His only worry is the downtrodden being incapable of making their own decisions. He writes:

“Removing the mandate would make the law much less workable, while striking down the whole thing would mean denying health coverage to 30 million or more Americans.”

Striking down the law denies coverage? In non-Orwellian terms, what Krugman means to say is that by not forcing individuals to purchase health insurance, they are denied such coverage. To understand this claim, just apply Krugman's logic to any economic sphere. Say the government could force everyone to buy food under penalty of imprisonment or death in order to cease starvation. Regardless of the kinds of unintended consequences that would follow such legislation, Krugman could then argue that abolishing such a measure would deny millions from having a full stomach. I refer to Bastiat’s quote above …” It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain." Perhaps Krugman should read something besides Moore’s Utopia of Hobbes’ Leviathan

This is an appropriate point in this blog to insert a little video clip of Milton Friedman taking the lefty progressive Phil Donohue to school. Click here to view this interesting and informative video/

Friedman was a giant. His arguments are simple and concise, which certainly are a requirement to help Liberals like Donahue understand that their thought processes are hopeless. Clearly the vitriol that spews out when they have no arguments left to justify their positions is standard procedure. Yes, every college student, Union Member & Teacher should read Friedman’s writing.

Back to Krugman

It's funny how reasoning works when applied to its full extent.

Krugman proceeds to try to differentiate between broccoli as a good and health insurance as some type of otherworldly service:

“Let's start with the already famous exchange in which Justice Antonin Scalia compared the purchase of health insurance to the purchase of broccoli, with the implication that if the government can compel you to do the former, it can also compel you to do the latter. That comparison horrified health care experts all across America because health insurance is nothing like broccoli.

Why? When people choose not to buy broccoli, they don't make broccoli unavailable to those who want it. But when people don't buy health insurance until they get sick — which is what happens in the absence of a mandate — the resulting worsening of the risk pool makes insurance more expensive, and often unaffordable, for those who remain. As a result, unregulated health insurance basically doesn't work, and never has.”

Pay attention to what Krugman is saying here. When someone buys broccoli from his local grocer, he in no way prevents others from buying broccoli. To believe this, one would also have to believe that broccoli is then in itself not scarce. After all, if Krugman's argument were true, you and I could both walk into the same grocery store, proceed to the produce section where broccoli is available and purchase the exact same piece of the vegetable at the same time. Only under that scenario would my purchasing broccoli not make it unavailable to you. Such is a fantasy ideal, and only possible in the utopia known as the Garden of Eden, where scarcity is nonexistent.

Broccoli, like all consumer goods, requires time, land, labor, and capital to produce. It does not fall from the sky. Farmers who grow broccoli can't in turn use their land to grow other produce. They can't invest their time in other endeavors. The whole market process is based on this state of affairs, where producers are sent signals via consumers by the pricing system so that investment goes into those industries or goods in high demand. This signaling process is necessary because of scarcity. It guides producers toward the most efficient use of resources.

Even an individual mandate for people to buy health insurance doesn't fix this problem. My getting treatment by a doctor means that same doctor is unavailable to offer treatment to you. However, this doesn't validate Marxism, which holds that a market economy is a struggle between exploiters and saps. The market ensures that those who need goods and services most urgently are able to get them through the pricing process and through bidding up the purchasing price. It is a peaceful process as long as private property rights are recognized and upheld. Consumers are free to pay what they will for goods and services, while producers are free to accept the price at their given preference level.

The absence of an uninhibited market is the true disease that plagues the health care industry. Krugman can't admit this, as it flies in the face of his pro-government and devoutly Keynesian ideology.

The individual mandate is ultimately a coercive measure which distorts the harmony of the market process. Try as he might, Krugman can't argue away scarcity with scare-mongering and illogical examples involving free broccoli for all.

No comments:

Post a Comment