Capitalism

In a recent Health Alert I evaluated Paul Krugman’s claim that ObamaCare is going to save “tens of thousands of lives” and the repeal of ObamaCare will lead to the death of “tens of thousands” of uninsured people.

Krugman’s bottom line: Mitt Romney wants to let people die. The economics profession on this same subject: Krugman’s claims are hogwash.

But there is something that does cause people to die: socialism. More precisely, the suppression of free markets (the kinds of interventions Krugman routinely apologizes for) lowers life expectancy and does so substantially.

Economists associated with the Fraser Institute and the Cato Institute have found a way to measure “economic freedom” and they have investigated what difference it makes in 141 countries around the world. This work has been in progress for several decades now and the evidence is stark. Economies that rely on private property, free markets and free trade, and avoid high taxes, regulation and inflation, grow more rapidly than those with less economic freedom. Higher growth leads to higher incomes. Among the nations in the top fifth of the economic freedom index in 2011, average income was almost 7 times as great as for those countries in the bottom 20 percent (per capita gross domestic product of $31,501versus $4,545).

What difference does this make for health? Virtually, every study of the subject finds that wealthier is healthier. People with higher incomes live longer. The Fraser/Cato economists arrive at the same conclusion. Comparing the bottom fifth to the top fifth, more economic freedom adds about 20 years to life expectancy and lowers infant mortality to just over one-tenth of its level in the least free countries.

Continue reading “Socialism Kills”

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I’m tired of profit-bashing and business-bashing in healthcare.  And every American should be, too!

Well-run, profitable businesses, along with our sense of decency, democratic institutions, education and free enterprise systems, and adherence to the rule of law, have made the United States the most extraordinary nation in recorded history.  Together they have unleashed the talents, creativity and productivity of our people, generated enormous sums of capital, and created unheard of social, economic, scientific and political advances.

Is there anything nobler than providing the environment and opportunity for people to fulfill their potential and achieve their dreams, and for providing the goods and services that enable people to raise their standard of living?  Not even the practice of medicine can do so much good for so many people. But that’s precisely what businesses do.  (That also may explain why far more Americans today are interested in job creation than restructuring healthcare.)

In our system, an individual has an idea, attracts capital, and hires people to build a product or provide a service. When they meet a need, they prosper – and attract more capital and hire more people. Everybody wins.  If they fail, they alone suffer the consequences.  That’s what capitalism is all about and that’s what has made America great.

Continue reading “Let’s Stop Bashing Profits and Business In Healthcare”

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