Posted in American Exceptionalism, American Independence, American Presidents, big government, Economic Issues, Free Society, government incompetence, Government Spending, Government Stimulus, Job loss, Leadership, Liberty, Patient Safety, Philosophy, Policy Issues, Rule of Law, Uncategorized, Unemployment

Panic Has Led to Government “Cures” That Are Worse than the Disease, History Shows – Foundation for Economic Education

Smoot-Hawley and the New Deal are hardly the only examples of government actions making a panic worse.

Thomas Sowell recounts several instances in which governments turned small problems into major ones by using blunt force—often price controls—to respond to public panic about rising costs of a given commodity.

One of the more famous examples of this is the gasoline crisis of the 1970s, which started when the federal government took a small problem (temporary high costs of gasoline) and turned it into a big one (a national shortage).

As Sowell explains, however, there was not an actual scarcity of gasoline. There was nearly as much gas sold in 1972 as the previous year (95 percent, to be precise).

Similar examples kind be found throughout history, from the grain shortages in Ancient Rome brought about by Diocletian’s “Edict on Maximum Prices” to the mortgage crisis in 2007.

It is no coincidence that crises—foreign wars, terrorist attacks, and economic depressions—have often resulted in vast encroachments of freedom and even given rise to tyrants (from Napoleon to Lenin and beyond). In his book Crisis and Leviathan, the historian and economist Robert Higgs explains how throughout history, crises have been used to expand the administrative state, often by allowing “temporary” measures to be left in place after a crisis has abated (think federal tax withholding during World War II).

Like an economic panic, pandemics incite mass fear, which can lead to flawed and irrational decision making.

https://fee.org/articles/panic-has-led-to-government-cures-that-are-worse-than-the-disease-history-shows/

Posted in Economic Issues, Free Society, Free-Market, Leadership, Liberty, Philosophy, Policy Issues, Poverty, Rule of Law, Subsidies, Uncategorized, Wealth

Why Hong Kong’s Economy Has Grown 7x Faster Than Cuba’s Since Since the 1950s – Foundation for Economic Education

By Dan Mitchell

“Communists claim that their ideology represents the downtrodden against the elite, yet the evidence from Cuba shows wretched material deprivation for most people.

In Hong Kong, by contrast, incomes have soared for all segments of the population.”

How important are key individuals in shaping the success or failure of economies? …Neil Monnery’s A Tale of Two Economies is in some sense a polemic against historical determinism, at least insofar as promoting economic reforms is concerned.It stresses the importance of two single individuals, one a great man for many, one an obscure official and political unknown to the most, in shaping the destiny of their respective countries. …Ernesto “Che” Guevara and John Cowperthwaite. …Monnery insists that both of them were “deep and original thinkers.” …The key difference between the two was perhaps that Cowperthwaite had a solid education in economics… Neither the way in which Hong Kong progressed, nor Cuba’s, were thus inevitable.

Monnery points out that Hong Kong’s success happened not because Cowperthwaite and his colleague were trying “to plant an ideological flag,” but because they were “professional pragmatists.” …Then the success of relatively libertarian arrangements in Hong Kong perpetuated itself. …Cowperthwaite tested what he knew about classical economics when he “first arrived in Hong Kong, in 1945” and “was put in charge of price control.… He soon realized the problems with attempting to set prices low enough to meet consumer needs but high enough to encourage supply, and in a dynamic environment.” He opposed subsidies that he saw as “a brazen attempt to feed at the trough of government subsidies.” …Cowperthwaite is a hero to Monnery, who emphasises his competence, and even more, his integrity.

https://fee.org/articles/why-hong-kongs-economy-has-grown-7x-faster-than-cubas-since-since-the-1950s/

Posted in Access to healthcare, CPT billing, DC & Related Shenanigans, Economic Issues, government incompetence, Government Regulations, Healthcare financing, Leadership, Medical Costs, Medicare, News From Washington, Reforming Medicare, Uncategorized

Judge tosses CMS’ site-neutral pay policy | Modern Healthcare

Forum for Healthcare Freedom writes:

When central planners interfere with markets, as happened in 1965 and which continues to this day, the toxic distortions on pricing mechanisms weave their way extensively through the entire industry. The long term damage is insidious. It clouds our view of reality and tricks us into thinking the abnormal is normal; what is unjust is legal; what seems unfair is rationalized away.

So even when we try to undo the damage, even in a small way, the complexities of labyrinth often render us incapable of reversing course. When government gets too big & powerful, only the big & powerful (AHA) can manipulate it.

The judge in this case is probably correct from a technical/legal/legislative/regulatory standpoint, but alas, our problem of price disparities favor the status quo and continuation of a non-transparent billing protocol, which ironically has been codified by HHS/CMS…the same department that is now attempting payment reform. You can’t make this stuff up!

https://www.modernhealthcare.com/payment/judge-tosses-cms-site-neutral-pay-policy

 

Posted in Economic Issues, Education, Free Society, Free-Market, Leadership, Liberty, outcomes, outcomes measurement, Philosophy, Policy Issues, Uncategorized

Watch “The Day 2 Problem for Egalitarianism | Prof. James Otteson” on YouTube

Professor Otteson discusses the fatal flaws of redistributive planned economies, not the least of which is a decline in cooperative innovation.

Posted in Cost of labor, Economic Issues, Education, Free Society, Free-Market, government incompetence, Job loss, Keynesian Economics, Leadership, Liberty, Minimum wage, Philosophy, Policy Issues, Poverty, Rule of Law, Uncategorized, Wealth

Bernie Sanders Gets a Lesson in What a $15 Minimum Wage Would Mean – Reason.com

“…it’s telling to see how Sanders’ campaign responded to the allegation that the Vermont socialist is not putting his money where his mouth is.

In a statement, Shakir stressed that Sanders’ campaign “offers wages and benefits competitive with other campaigns, as is shown by the latest fundraising reports.”

Exactly! If Sanders’ campaign can find a sufficient number of employees willing to work for $10 an hour or $12 an hour, that’s fine. No one is being coerced to work for him, and he’s paying what the market for field workers allows.

Sanders the politician likes to criticize other employers for doing exactly what he’s doing.

“Americans should not be subsidizing the richest family in America and Walmart workers should not be living in poverty,” Sanders tweeted last month, castigating the big box retailer for not paying all workers $15 per hour. “Walmart’s greed has got to end,” he added.

But Sanders the employer surely knows that paying field workers $12 an hour instead of $15 per hour will allow his campaign to hire more field workers. He’s not employing those people because it makes him feel good to do it, and he’s not paying less than $15 per hour because he’s a skinflint multi-millionaire who is too greedy to care about workers. He’s employing them to help him succeed in a highly competitive arena where small margins can make a big difference.

When the problems with a government mandated minimum wage are so obvious that even a socialist’s campaign can’t help but acknowledge them, it should probably make you wonder if Sanders the politician is being willfully ignorant about one of his centerpiece proposals.

https://reason.com/2019/07/19/bernie-sanders-gets-a-lesson-in-what-a-15-minimum-wage-would-mean/

Posted in advance-pricing, CPT billing, Economic Issues, Health Insurance, Healthcare financing, Influence peddling, Leadership, Medical Costs, Policy Issues, Price Tansparency, Quality, Uncategorized

U.S. “Non-Profit” Hospitals and CEOs Raking in Big Bucks | Intellectual Takeout

We found that the assets, investments, and bank accounts at these charitable hospitals increased by $38.9 billion last year – from $164.1 billion to $203.2 billion. That’s 23.6 percent growth, year-over-year, in net assets. Even deducting for the $5.2 billion in charitable gifts received from donors, these hospitals still registered an extraordinary 20.5 percent return on investment (ROI).

Additionally, these 82 hospitals spent $26.4 million on lobbying to defend the status quo. Because government money and charitable donations can’t be spent directly on lobbying, these hospitals used the payments from patients to lobby government to preserve their market position.

Perhaps these hospitals don’t want you to see how much things cost, because they don’t want you to know how much they are making.

It’s time to embrace the transparency revolution and open the books on the real prices paid by patients for healthcare services.

https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/article/us-non-profit-hospitals-and-ceos-raking-big-bucks

Posted in Bailouts, big government, Dependency, Economic Issues, Free Society, government incompetence, Influence peddling, Keynesian Economics, Leadership, Liberty, Organizational structure, outcomes, outcomes measurement, Philosophy, Policy Issues, Tax Policy, Uncategorized

Musings and Mentions

As we continue to examine the outcomes of socioeconomic initiatives throughout our history, it becomes apparent that society’s benefits are not necessarily derived from good policies as much as from the absence of bad ones.

– Robert Nelson