Mr. [Thomas] Frank gets “predator” exactly backward regarding health-care businesses and government. My dictionary defines predator as “one that victimizes, plunders or destroys, especially for one’s own gains.” This is the very definition of government, which uses force to take wealth from some and redistribute it to others, or to use the wealth taken from some simply to support more government.
Businesses, on the other hand, operate on a strictly voluntary basis with no predation involved whatsoever. Consumers buy from businesses on a strictly voluntary basis.
Costa Mesa, Calif.
Regarding “Mrs. Pelosi’s VAT ” (Review & Outlook, Oct. 8): Several years ago when our children were very young, my wife and I hosted a different European au pair each year for six years. During the course of their stay in America, each au pair proudly commented that in their respective European country medical care was free.
When their time with us came to an end, each au pair went to the Mall of America and purchased several pairs of jeans, as well as other clothes, before returning home. At the time, jeans cost between $15 and $30 each. I asked these young women why they were buying so many jeans before returning to their country. With some astonishment at my lack of understanding, they explained that the same jeans in their country retailed for between $80 and $100. The price differential, of course, was due to the value-added tax and the higher costs of doing business in European welfare states.
I thought to myself, “Ah, but your medical care is “free.”