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Public-Option Newspapers, Anyone?

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

Paul Krugman alleges that a “public-option” health-insurance plan “would introduce more competition and keep premiums down” (“Obama’s Trust Problem,” August 21).

If Mr. Krugman is correct, he should also endorse a “public-option” newspaper – say, the “New York Times Two.”  Such a publication, according to Mr. Krugman’s reasoning, would introduce more competition into the newspaper business and keep advertising and subscription rates down.

Of course, Mr. Krugman might object that government cannot be trusted with a task so important as newspaper reporting and opinionating; he might legitimately worry that newspapers would become infected with the virus of politics.  But if so, why is he so confident that a “public option” health insurer would not further infect health-care markets with the virus of politics?

Donald J. Boudreaux


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