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Intentions and Results

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Here’s a letter that I sent on Friday to the New York Times:

Writing about health-care, Paul Krugman asserts that “conservatives … don’t want Americans to have universal coverage” (“The Defining Moment [2],” Oct. 30).

Among the earliest lessons that I teach my freshman economics students are (1) intentions are not results, and (2) to oppose a government program is not necessarily to object to the intentions stated by that program’s advocates.

Paul Krugman obviously teaches his students differently, for he clearly believes that (1) if government intends for Americans to have universal health coverage, then the result will be that Americans actually get universal health coverage, and (2) anyone who opposes a government program promising universal health coverage is a person who objects to Americans actually getting universal health coverage.

Mr. Krugman’s reasoning is evidence that he’s forgotten some of the most foundational lessons of economics.  Pity his students.

Donald J. Boudreaux