Kevin Williamson’s Welcome to the Paradise of the Real was written over two years ago and I still refer it to readers.Sneaky Inflation is equal to that piece in bringing sound economic thought to bear on current issues with an engaging style. Both pieces are in National Review.
An excerpt from Sneaky Inflation:
Pouring an extra $1 trillion into health-care subsidies will not make medical care less expensive; it probably will end up making it more expensive. If you really wanted to bring down the cost of medical care, there are more-direct ways: You could increase the supply of providers by allowing non-physician specialists such as nurses to provide a wider array of services; you could lower taxes on medical devices rather than raising them, as Obama does; you could use immigration law and, if necessary, expedited licensure to add 5 million doctors to the market in a very short period of time. Similar approaches could provide savings in education and housing. We don’t do that, in part because very influential people have a financial stake in high prices for medicine, education, and housing. The National Rifle Association, which is widely regarded as a one of the capital’s most fearsome advocacy organizations, doesn’t spend a tenth of what the National Association of Realtors spends on lobbying.
What this is, in reality, is a very large wealth-transfer program. Government-school employees are the single most important Democratic interest group, and university employees are up there near the top, too. That is why every attempt to “make college affordable for American families” consists of transferring vast sums of money from American families to college administrators. Driving up housing prices transfers wealth from younger, poorer people looking to buy homes to older, wealthier people who own them. The same principle is at work in health care and health insurance.
Redistribution may be more tolerable if it actually went to the needy.