Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Sustainability

For all the talk of "sustainability" in terms of environmental concerns, we, collectively, have no understanding of what constitutes a sustainable government. Since the New Deal we have been spending money that we don't have, and eventually it is all going to come crashing down. But, as Mark Thornton writes, we face a culture that has bought into the myth that "government can solve our everyday problems at no cost so the more the merrier."

He substantiates this claim by referring to a poll by the AARP.

"... according to a AARP poll of Americans (45 and older) 83% want the government to help unemployed people get health insurance, 78% want government to provide unemployment benefits as long as people continue to look for work, 71% want the government to make home mortgages more affordable, and 68% want the government to help people facing foreclosure to stay in there homes.

That pretty much explains everything. Americans who are 45 and older are not going to get smarter and likely will not improve their education. They are the "backbone" of America and ¾ of them have beliefs that helped make the current mess politically possible and will make it very difficult to achieve a real economic recovery. Let's hope that those 44 and younger are better informed."

He writes of health insurance:

"Everyone seems to think health insurance is a cure all for the rising cost of medical care, but comprehensive health insurance is the cause of rising medical care costs. If you don't pay for the cost of medical services as you chose them, then there is a huge tendency to overuse medical services and to choose the most expensive means. Imagine if you could buy comprehensive dairy insurance so that you pay a set fee, like $120/month, for the insurance, but that as a result you can get as many dairy products as you would like for a 25¢ co pay. Is it not too difficult to imagine that people with this insurance would consume more dairy products and that as a result the price of dairy products would increase and would eventually be too high for some people to afford? Comprehensive health insurance is a creature of government. Catastrophic health insurance is rational because no one really wants to use it."

Government cannot solve economic problems, it can only make them worse. Until we learn that lesson, we're going to find life unnecessarily complicated, cumbersome, dangerous, and difficult.

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