An Open Letter to President Obama

by Don Boudreaux on March 8, 2010

in Health, Prices, Reality Is Not Optional, Seen and Unseen

8 March 2010

Mr. Barack Obama
President, Executive Branch
United States Government
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC  20500

Dear Mr. Obama:

CBS radio news this morning ran a clip of one of your recent speeches.  In it, you criticize insurance companies because they “ration coverage … according to who can pay and who can’t.”

My first thought was “not exactly; coverage is rationed according to who pays and who doesn’t.”  Ability to pay isn’t the same thing as actually paying, and what insurers care about is the latter.  Many folks – especially young adults – have the ability to pay but choose not to do so.  They get no coverage.

But further pondering of your point leads me to look beyond such nit-picking to see fascinating possibilities.  Not only insurers, but all producers who greedily refuse to supply persons who don’t pay should be set aright.  Now I’m sure that you don’t ration the supply of the books you write according to any criteria as sordid as requiring people actually to pay for them.  But our society is full of people less enlightened than you.

For example, the typical worker rations his labor services according to who pays and who doesn’t.  That must stop.  Oh, and supermarkets!  Every single one rations groceries according to who pays.  Likewise with restaurants, clothing stores, home-builders, furniture makers, even lawyers!  You name it, rationing is done according to who pays.  Indeed, my own county government has been corrupted by this greedy attitude: if I don’t pay my taxes, the sheriff takes my house – effectively booting me out of the county merely because I didn’t pay for its services.

Preposterous!

I look forward to your changing this selfish and unfair system of rationing that for too long now has kept Americans impoverished.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030

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