Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Quote of the Day

After political crusades for "affordable housing" ended up ruining the housing market and much of the economy with it, many of the same politicians are now carrying on a crusade for "affordable health care." But what you can afford has absolutely nothing to do with the cost of producing anything. Refusing to pay those costs means that you are just not going to continue getting the same quantity and quality-- regardless of what any politician says or how well he says it.

Thomas Sowell


At 10/07/2009 8:24 AM, Blogger Colin said...

Excellent point. The places where you actually tend to find affordable housing are those without lots of restrictions on development. Areas with affordable housing policies also tend to be synonymous with elaborate zoning laws, building height restrictions and other regulatory hurdles that raise the cost of providing housing.

At 10/07/2009 8:40 AM, Anonymous Peter said...

Except one can argue there is a moral imperative to ensure affordable health care where none exists for a home ownership society. The alternative to owning a home is renting, whereas the alternative to affordable health care is a) bankruptcy or b) bad health. Americans should be more concerned about the basic needs of their fellow countrymen. Especially when the root cause, unsustainable price increases by the health industry, benefits only their shareholders and executives. Sometimes regulation is a necessary evil.

At 10/07/2009 8:41 AM, Blogger QT said...


Spot on the nose. Zoning and building restrictions definitely affect the price and supply of housing. Ed Glaeser has studied this extensively looking at data across all regions of the U.S. coming to exactly the same conclusion.

At 10/07/2009 9:15 AM, Blogger QT said...


Not sure if you caught this interview with John Shadegg. Raises some interesting concerns about the proposed healthcare bill.

WRT moral imperatives, don't we have to understand what it is that is driving health care costs?

20 years ago, we did not have the techical expertise to save a premie of 1 lb. Today, we do. In the last 48 years, the 5 year survival rate for patients with leukemia has quadrupled. We can stent an occluded artery with a minimally invasive procedure rather than having that patient risk death waiting for bypass surgery. We have clot busting drugs that can be given to someone having a stroke where 10 years ago, we had nothing to give that patient.

We also need to consider the economic cost of preventative medicine

I agree that providing access to medical care is a desirable thing in an egalitarian society but unfortunately, it is not just a desire for private profits that drives costs. None of these medical advances have come cheap.

At 10/07/2009 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the moral imperative for "affordable healthcare", I've been told all my adult life that we can't legislate morality.

This notion that insurance companies are arbitrarily raising prices for no other reason than increased profits is extremely ignorant. Coverage mandates (in vitro, AIDS meds, etc) and corporate health insurace are the main factors in the cost of health insurance today.

Health care itself is not all that expensive for minor illnesses and preventative medicine.

I'm sorry, I'm very skeptical when politicans tell me they can offer a public insurance option that will cover everything, exclude no one, and limit cost-sharing. I begin to think I'm being scammed when they double-down on that claim by telling me it will cost less.

At 10/07/2009 10:10 AM, Anonymous D. Bean said...

Peter, I think people ought to worry about providing their OWN necessities.

How many people are in houses which leave them nothing left for retirement, health care, education, or precautionary savings?

There are so many ways our government subsidized home buying it's crazy. Think what that money could be doing back in our pockets!

You've substituted one false right for another. Any time you speak of a right to a "thing" or a "service" you demonstrate you don't understand the meaning of the word "right". Everyone dies - health care is a death postponement. You don't make an effective case that people shouldn't pay for the own postponement of death. This is especially true since 80% of all health care expenditures are in the last year of life.

How much is one more day of life worth to you?

Why didn't you save for that day?
Why didn't you eat right for that day?
Why didn't you exercise, stop smoking, stop drinking, and generally manage your lifestyle better?

When you make me pay for your one extra day, you rob me of a day of life the day I had to work or go to school to get the money to pay the taxes for your health care.

At 10/07/2009 10:14 AM, Anonymous Anchovy said...

This debate isn't about "health care". It's about command over scarce resources.

At 10/07/2009 10:16 AM, Blogger bob wright said...

anon 10:06am

But wait. That's not all. If you sign this bill in the next ten minutes, we'll throw in this lovely set of steak knives at no additional charge.

Right on with this whole "morality" thing.

Where does the Democratic party get off forcing their morals down my throat?

At 10/07/2009 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The issue that lies behind the controversy is at least 2000 years old, am I my brothers keeper? Some say its every person for themselves and others say the answer is yes we are our brothers keeper.
What has happened is that health care by becoming more expensive has priced itself out of a lot of peoples reach. In at least some sense the question has been yes in western society, all be it until Elizabethan times it was the church that did this. Since then it has been the state, since the state subsumed the church in England. Islam has the requirement for alms as well, as many other religious traditions having a similar requirement.

At 10/07/2009 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Cain asked God "Am I my brother's keeper?", he was referring to his actual brother, not some unknown person on the other side of the country.

I find it highly suspicious that many of the same people who want neither the church nor the government (e.g. PATRIOT ACT) snooping in their private lives now want the government to run a significant portion of it based on religious principles (albiet a false assessment of those principles).

The solution is to take steps that reduce the cost of healthcare in this country rather than simply forcing someone else to pay for it under penalty of impovershment and imprisonment.

If I am my brother's keeper, then it is my moral obligation to make sure the government does not impose yet another tax upon the American worker to put off for a few more years the inevitable reckoning of its unsustainable social programs.

At 10/07/2009 3:42 PM, Blogger QT said...


Thank you for the steak knives. It helps to have a reminder to lighten up. :)


The word, "morality", seems to signal that the discussion is about to become highly polarized and empassioned. This is a very complex subject which evokes strong convictions and emotions.

At 10/07/2009 3:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Except one can argue there is a moral imperative to ensure affordable health care

There can be no such "moral imperative", because it places the person(s) paying for it in a state of slavery with respect to the person claiming benefits.

At 10/07/2009 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Except one can argue there is a moral imperative to ensure affordable health care where none exists for a home ownership society"...

Ahhh, says who Peter?

If this so called 'moral imperative' is in YOUR moral compass then maybe YOU should be more than willing to lay out all YOUR recources and acquired wealth to help out those you think are less fortunate than you...

Its not society's problem...

What you have done though Paul and I applaud you for it, is to show that there a potential niche market for folks who want to invest in people who don't have health insurance or enough health insurance...

At 10/07/2009 11:01 PM, Anonymous Entity said...

If all the wealthy liberals pulled out the wallets and ponied up the dough, and we didn't waste so much money in this fruitless effort, there would be more than enough money to cover all those without coverage. Ah, until people drop their coverage to get the free coverage. See where this is going?

Oprah Winfrey could live off of $1 million a year in income and pay for health insurance for 20,000 families with the rest of her income. Warren Buffet could keep $1.2 billion in cash, retain his $100,000 a year salary, and set up an endowment to pay for health insurance for 150,000 families each year. Soros, Gates, Lewis, Goldberg, Clinton, Kerry, Obama, Kennedys, Feinstein - they could all pitch in and cover 40 million people easily with their excess wealth wrongfully, sinfully obtained through capitalism.

At 10/08/2009 8:53 PM, Anonymous Roxanne said...

That's a great quote. Thanks for sharing.


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