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New Adventures in Treating Symptoms

Here’s a letter to the Boston Globe:

David D’Alessandro argues that America’s economy would be strengthened if government forced suppliers to hire more workers to produce the goods and services that these firms sell to Uncle Sam (“Make ’em hire,” Sept. 20).

That is, Mr. D’Alessandro wants to oblige certain firms to operate with inefficiently large numbers of workers.

If it’s true that the path to economic efficiency is paved with mandated inefficiencies, government should go beyond Mr. D’Alessandro’s relatively modest proposal.  It should require also that, say, restaurants assign a minimum of three waiters to each table.  That every taxicab be driven at each point in time by two drivers (one steers while the other operates the foot peddles).  That barbershops designate two barbers to perform each haircut.  That schools man each classroom during every minute of the school day with two teachers.  And that newspapers publish only columns and op-eds written by at least two writers.

Given that profit-seeking producers greedily seek to operate as efficiently as possible, available opportunities to encourage economic recovery by prohibiting such efficiencies are legion!

Donald J. Boudreaux