Thursday, August 19, 2004

In a Nutshell

"Help, help; I'm in a nutshell!" --Austin Powers

A one-scene play:

[LIBERAL]: "I want to help people!"

[CONSERVATIVE]: "Great! Go ahead! If it looks like a good idea, maybe I'll join you."

[LIBERAL]: "Let me get this straight, you basically expect government should leave me alone?"

[CONSERVATIVE]: "Yes. And you expect government should coerce money out of me to give to other people -- in order to make you feel better about yourself for 'helping people'?"

I exaggerate of course. There are certainly services that make everything better for everyone, but can't be provided at sufficient profit for the free market to provide them.

Take Amtrak for instance.... Please! (ha ha).

(Actually I really like Amtrak, especially the new higher-speed trains. Their real problem is not owning all the tracks. One of the first indications I had that Sen. McCain wasn't the great hero of moderate Republicanism he first appeared to be was finding out his irrational vendetta against funding Amtrak improvements. Sadly as time went on, there were many more indications he was nothing more than a narcissistic prima donna.)

But I digress.

Let's just have no illusions about what's going on, and realize resources are finite. Be smart, prioritize, yada yada yada...

For example, sure, we should figure out a way for truly catastrophic health coverage to be available to everyone, and not tied to a job. But to believe we can magically invoke price controls on prescription drugs, as in Canada, without drying up the incentive for companies to discover the next new wonderdrug that might save your life, is a shortsighted and dangerous pandering to expediency.


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