Language is an always-evolving social institution. The formal meanings of words – and, more importantly, the larger span of their informal meanings, connotations, and allusions – change over time. So perhaps Whole Foods founder John Mackey is correct that his original term for describing Obamacare – “fascism” – was “a bad choice of words” on his part. But maybe not. I rather like the bracing and intellectually correct, if politically incorrect, recognition that what Uncle Sam is now doing to the health-care market in America bears a great deal of resemblance to what Il Duce did to markets in early 20th-century Italy. The fact that that earlier experiment in social and economic engineering worked out poorly – and the fact that many of Obamacare’s supporters really and truly wish that this current experiment in social and economic engineering will work out well – does not change the fact that Obamacare means, as John correctly says,
that we no longer have free enterprise capitalism in health care, it’s not a system any longer where people are able to innovate, it’s not based on voluntary exchange. The government is directing it.
David Henderson points us to some research whose findings are consistent with the fact that U.S. immigration policy today continues to involve a great deal of expense and effort to prevent immigrants from working – findings that are thereby inconsistent with the popular trope that large numbers of immigrants come to the U.S. in order to soak up government-supplied welfare benefits.