Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Health care bonanza

Imagine....the Congress passes and the president signs into law the requirement that every household in America must buy a new American-made car at least once every four years or risk fines, tax penalties, or worse. For those who cannot afford to comply, the government supplies subsidies. We're all driving brand new Chevy's and Jeeps and Escorts and it's a win-win for everyone, right? This is the equivalent of the BobOnARoll auto industry recovery plan run amok.

Although this would provide guaranteed jobs and prosperity for all those who work for the auto companies as well as their vast supply chains, it would also be an obvious enormous boost to the revenue and bottom line of the industry. Some might even call these 'windfall profits'.

What would be a legitimate political and economic solution to the challenge of windfall profits? Require the companies to re-invest x% of EBITDA in energy-saving technologies? Tax them and enrich the Treasury to help offset the cost of the auto program? Divert the windfalls to urban and inter-urban public transport projects? I dunno.

But, someone, please tell me how the Congressional solution that requires us all to buy health insurance and does nothing to foster true competition in a market where free market principles have not worked---how is health insurance for all without taxing or capping industry profits different than the autos for all scenario outlined above?

We are so heading down the wrong track on this.

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