“Empirically Driven” Liberals

Writing in the New Republic (see here), Noam Scheiber counsels liberals such as Michael Moore not to despair about Obamacare’s start-up problems because Obamacare “paves the way” toward a single-payer system that is beloved by liberals, one and all.

According to Scheiber, increasing insurance coverage through Obamacare will create a constituency for additional reform, eventually leading to a single-payer system. So Obamacare’s initial troubles don’t worry Scheiber – they simply herald better things to come. Sort of like religion.

Not surprisingly, Scheiber doesn’t exactly explain how a single-payer system will bring about this bright future. (Again, sort of like religion). So maybe it’s time to review a basic fact about how the world works – one that liberals ignore despite their incessant claims to be “empirically driven.”

As an empirical generalization, centrally directed and planned economies never outperform those based on competitive markets. Knowledge is fragmented and widely dispersed in society and the strength of markets is to mobilize and coordinate knowledge for the good of everyone better than any central government. And competition creates efficiencies far better than central planning.

A single-payer system obviously is one that would be managed and controlled by none other than a central authority. So Scheiber’s future is shaping up as one that features relative economic stagnation and decline not only for the healthcare sector, but eventually the entire economy.

Those who really are empirically driven should favor an approach that fosters more genuine competition in all healthcare product and geographic markets. (Some of these markets are competitive, but too many are not.) But Scheiber and liberals cannot bring themselves to follow the facts to this conclusion.

By ignoring markets and competition, it’s as if liberals have decided to run a foot race with their legs tied together. Although they see other runners do better without their legs tied together, liberals continue to hop along the track, all the while producing charts and exhorting each other to “creatively” develop more efficient ways to hop. And they call this progress.

Scheiber finds private health insurance to be “on some level morally offensive,” and lists a few examples of insurer shenanigans. Never mind that competitive markets operating within a proper legal framework would eliminate such issues. What’s truly morally offensive is Scheiber’s liberal ideology and its guarantee of stagnation and decline for all of us, including those whom liberals pretend to want to help.

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