"He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left."
Matthew 25:33

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lesson in Government Control

There is a recent article about a young, ambitious polititician who talks about health care and wealth redistribution - Hugo Chavez.  Here.

During the second half of the 20th century, the world saw in stark relief the problems of planned economies.  Those who were paying attention saw object lessons of how markets work, and how planners, no matter how well intentioned or technically skilled, simply cannot compete with the collective wisdom of markets.  Hayek said it best in The Road to Serfdom.

The recent leftward lurch in the US toward the same planning that failed so miserably all over the world is certain to be destructive.  What seems to escape both US policymakers, and the general public is that the quality of the planning, and the details of the socialist programs make little difference.  Markets are a lot like gravity.  They will prevail.  You can fight them, but you will lose.

The article about Venezuela highlights and explains how and why this is so.  Mr. Chavez pulls on all the classic levers of the central government, currency controls, nationalizing assets, using the "bully pulpit".  Nothing seems to yield the results he wants.

In this sort of story, there is often reference to the "black market", which sounds sinister and dirty.  In fact, the "black market" is often allowed to exist and operate in controlled economies because authorities tacitly admit that without them, economic conditions would be even worse.  In any case, as we have found with the US "drug war", truly shutting down a "black market" is almost impossible.

The USA has the best medical care available anywhere in the world.  Let's not repeat yet another disastrous experiment in central planning by giving total control of our health care to the same people who brought us TARP, Trillion dollar deficits, $600 toilet seats, the IRS, and Medicare.

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