Perhaps for policy reasons, and certainly for political reasons, it is impossible to unwind reliance on employer-provided insurance. But this fact, combined with the “preexisting conditions” consensus, means that henceforth the health-care debate will be about not whether there will be a thick fabric of government subsidies, mandates and regulations, but about which party will weave the fabric.
Writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, my emeritus Nobel laureate colleague Vernon Smith proposes that the U.S. interstate highway system be privatized – and when that’s done, privatize some other things! A slice:
You [Pres. Trump] should also consider auctioning off the Bureau of Land Management’s extensive grazing lands. Better incentives through ownership, or long-term leases, mean better stewardship and innovation. But neighboring farmers and ranchers won’t like the impact on their land prices.
Our progressive friends like to talk about how much they love science, because there is a great deal of prestige attached to science, and that prestige is relatively easy to misappropriate for progressive political ends. For example, the question of what to do about climate change is not really a scientific question at all — it is to a certain degree an economic question and to a much greater degree a political question. But deputizing “science” in support of one’s positions, and lampooning the opposition as knuckle-dragging flat-earthers, is rhetorically effective. But sometimes science, and the social sciences, aren’t on progressives’ side, especially when the dismal science is called into service. Economics tells the Left that its big ideas have big costs, that there are real limitations on what can be done by government, and that tradeoffs are not optional. So when a study comes up that seems to relieve progressives of the burdens of the science they don’t want to talk about, you can be sure that the study will be heralded as an “intellectual revolution,” which is what Professor Krugman called the Card-Krueger study in his influential New York Times column. Genuine intellectual revolutions are few and far between.