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Puerile Presumptions

My friend and former student Laura Sacher alerted me to this interview by Lawrence O’Donnell of Peter Schiff.  After watching it, I sent the following e-mail to Mr. O’Donnell:

Dear Mr. O’Donnell:

I just watched your recent interview with investor Peter Schiff.  While I’m no fan of Mr. Schiff – I disagree with him often – I must say that your treatment of him was obnoxious.  Especially galling were your countless interruptions of Mr. Schiff’s attempts to answer your questions.  Your interruptions were fueled by your puerile presumption that anyone who opposes greater government involvement in health care is either callously loutish or flamingly stupid.

Example: When Mr. Schiff said that he wants government’s role in health care to be diminished, you replied sarcastically “So you want to do nothing?!”

Newsflash Mr. Newsman: government isn’t the only entity that can and does act – it’s not the only agency that does things.  By having government do less, space is opened for individuals to do more.  Physicians, private insurers, private certifiers, and patients do things every day.  Part of the case for a freer health-care market is that these private actors need more freedom to experiment – more space to adjust to each other’s wishes and abilities – than currently exists.

You might legitimately disagree that a freer market will work as its proponents believe.  But you cannot legitimately assert that making markets freer reflects a desire to “do nothing.”

Donald J. Boudreaux

For those of you who are curious, I disagree with Schiff’s concern about the U.S. trade deficit, as well as with his insistence that U.S. manufacturing is declining (and his implication that declining manufacturing output is necessarily bad).


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