Think it’s impossible to escape Obamacare? Think again. Laissez Faire Today reader David F. shares how he did it and how you can do it too. Don’t see another doctor, take another pill, or shop around for better medical insurance until you read his story. Read on…
“While I heartily subscribe to your premise of pursuing one’s dream,” one reader, Donald J., wrote, “there are alternate perspectives worth considering.”[We’re listening… go on.]“Some wiseguy once said that life is what happens to you while you’re waiting for something better to come along. Milton put it a little more poetically in one of his […]
“Where were you when it happened?” How many times have we been asked -- and asked -- this question since 2001? Today, Chris Campbell asks us to pose a different question: What can I do today to making Sept. 11 another turning point in my life? And then, of course, taking that first step. Read on…
Want to get rich? Don’t listen to financial “gurus,” says Chris Campbell. In today’s Laissez Faire Today, Chris shares a Zen proverb and shows how understanding it is the only real way to get rich (and live a rich life). Read on…
Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In today’s Laissez Faire Today, you’ll learn about one FREE website that has the potential to not only keep your family safe – but also open your eyes to what’s happening in your own neighborhood. Chris Campbell has all the details. Read on…
Hundreds of pictures of nude celebrities were leaked onto the Internet last week. The mainstream is blaming twenty-something hackers, but according to Chris Campbell, everyone must’ve already forgotten what we learned about the NSA only a year ago. Read on…
The fireflies along the tidal rivers of Malaysia show "feats of synchrony that occur spontaneously, almost as if nature has an eerie yearning for order." Chris Campbell tells you where else this might occur in the world. Also, new technology may revolutionize the agriculture industry and what we think of as a farm.
Jeff Davis is running for Governor in Hawaii and has an interesting campaign strategy. Also, what motivates hackers is revealed and the findings might surprise you. Finally, Ferguson is discussed in a new light. Chris Campbell has more...
The so-called recovery is only built on debt and printed cash declares our own Byron King. In the long term, the only option for the government to continue financing it's operations is to print too many dollars. Money printing has it's limits, however. It's Byron's opinion that at some point, perhaps very soon, the government will have to turn to more desperate measures. Namely, capital controls. In the following featured essay, Byron outlines 4 probably ways the government will take your cash and one play you can buy through your broker to prepare today. Read on...
Americans expatriate because they want to get out of the country. Corporations expatriate for similar reasons. Clem Chambers explains...
Say goodbye to your boring morning commute. New technologies are changing the way people drive their cars. It’s making them safer, more fuel efficient, and could reshape the way America builds its roads and cities. The only thing that could stand in the way...
In a 2009 article, the Huffington Post went into considerable detail about the number of people with PhD degrees in economics employed by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. This is the government’s branch of the Federal Reserve. It is not one of the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks, all of which […]
The U.S. dollar is the dominant global reserve currency. All markets, including stocks, bonds, commodities, and foreign exchange are affected by the value of the dollar.The value of the dollar, in effect, its “price” is determined by interest rates. When the Federal Reserve manipulates interest rates, it is manipulating, and therefore distorting, every market in […]
When the NSA surveillance news broke last year it sent shockwaves through CERN, the particle physics laboratory in Switzerland. Andy Yen, a PhD student, took to the Young at CERN Facebook group with a simple message: “I am very concerned about the privacy issue, and I was wondering what I could do about it.”There was […]
The game of speculation is the most uniformly fascinating game in the world. But it is not a game for the stupid, the mentally lazy, the person of inferior emotional balance or the get-rich-quick adventurer. They will die poor.– Jesse Livermore, How to Trade in StocksThe trouble with capitalism’s guardians is that they have no […]
Let’s head back in time…In 2004, a mere decade ago, the US national debt rang the register at $7.4 trillion. That represents “debt per citizen” of over $25,000. You, me, your neighbor, your 4-yr old grandson, you name it and they’re portion of the U.S. debt is $25k.But flash forward to today and you’ll see […]
John Foust, a Democrat running for the 10th congressional seat in Northern Virginia, is — like Gov. Terry McAuliffe and other state Democrats — gung-ho to expand Medicaid. His wife’s position is, shall we say, a bit more nuanced.Foust has slammed his opponent, Republican Del. Barbara Comstock, for her opposition to expansion. He has spoken […]
The midterm election season is upon us, and it’s a tossup whether the Republicans will win the Senate, or if President Obama, seemingly oblivious as conflict flares up around the world, will, through his continuous campaigning, keep Harry Reid in his majority leader seat.The only thing we know for sure is that sociopaths will be […]
Alexander Hamilton was America’s first Secretary of Treasury under President George Washington. When he first entered office in 1789, America was an agricultural nation of just 4 million still broke from its financially costly victory over the British Empire in the Revolutionary War.The states had accumulated relatively massive debts to finance that war, which mostly […]
I was talking with one of my colleagues the other day, and he raised a very interesting question, one that deserves consideration by anyone worried about their digital privacy. He read an article that championed the idea that the more steps one took to protect their privacy by using anonymous Web-browsing tools like Tor, the […]
In the minds of many people around the world, including in the United States, the term “capitalism” carries the idea of unfairness, exploitation, undeserved privilege and power, and immoral profit making. What is often difficult to get people to understand is that this misplaced conception of “capitalism” has nothing to do with real free markets […]
When you type a website address into a browser, you might have noticed that the letters “http” appear at the front. “HTTP” stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. In typing a Web address, you are actually sending an HTTP command to transmit that website to you. Hypertext Transfer Protocol is the means by which information is […]
Some people are saying it is just what the doctor ordered. Others are saying that the cure is worse than the disease.The Affordable Care Act? Reengagement in Iraq? Tea Party bullying in the GOP?Not this time. Just as protracted in the corridors of Congress and the White House is the debate over the proposed reform […]
In 2012, money mandarins running the European Union chose stagnation over restructuring. Here’s a consequence of that choice: expectations for a self-sustaining economic recovery keep getting crushed.Two years ago, European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi promised to do “whatever it takes” to hold the eurozone together. He bluffed nervous investors into believing in a […]
Picture the scene. It’s 2020. You’re at the checkout in a convenience store with a carton of milk. But you’ve got no cash and you’ve left your cards at home. No problem. You scan your right index finger; the green light flashes. Purchase approved and you leave. Easy.Is this a realistic vision of the future, […]
“In the beginning, all the world was America.” — John Locke“The Garden of Eden was a perfect place,” my friend Manuel explained. “Man had free will. He could live in harmony with nature and God — and everything would be fine. But if he defied God, the stain of original sin would be on his […]
After a week of reckoning about the American oil and gas boom… I’ve got to get something off my chest.I can’t stand it when a coworker takes credit for something I did.Whether it’s a special report I wrote or just a little investing trick I found on my own — if someone takes it and […]
Liberal supporters of the Affordable Care Act specifically, and big government in general, are quick with excuses for all the problems that Obamacare has been experiencing in these early days. We have heard: they did not have enough time, it’s complicated, it’s the insurance companies’ fault, we just need to make a few adjustments, and on and on. Do not believe any of these excuses; this is what happens when the government tries to substitute its wisdom for the market.
The failed website has received the most attention, but the problems in implementing this ultra complex law began long before the catastrophic launch of HealhCare.gov. Beginning almost as soon as the law was signed by President Obama, the administration has been struggling to make changes and adjustments in attempts both to fix flaws in the law and to appease special interest groups that support Democrats.
Since almost immediately after passage, union groups and some large employers have been applying for waivers from various facets of the law. Hundreds of waivers have been granted. The latest and broadest waiver is the one year delay in the employer mandate that would have gone into effect on Jan. 1.
Next was the botched launch of HealthCare.gov, the website that was finally supposed to bring Obamacare to the masses. With three years to build a website and over $600 million spent, the American people were given a nonfunctional product of such low quality it would have been given an F as a term project in a college computer science course.
Even before the Obama administration and their contractors could fix the website, we moved to the next setback: cancelled policies. Over five million people have received cancellation notices because their insurance policies do not meet the minimum quality standards listed in the Affordable Care Act, set to go into effect on Jan. 1.
The president and his supporters are trying to convince Americans that all of these myriad problems with the implementation of Obamacare are simply bumps in the road, normal as part of any new program in its early days. However, that is not true. This is, in fact, exactly what one should expect when the government is in charge.
F.A. Hayek explained this all over half a century ago, most famously in his book The Road to Serfdom. At the simplest level the problem is that the government can never have enough knowledge to properly guide a market through a command and control structure. A free market can adjust itself as prices and quantities change in response to surpluses and shortages, to profits and losses. A huge amount of information is efficiently aggregated and transmitted to all the market participants through the simple mechanism of prices.
The failures in the implementation of Obamacare are not outliers, unfortunate events due to unforeseen circumstances. The problems that have occurred and which will continue to occur are to be expected whenever government is in charge. Even really smart people simply are not smart enough to match the functioning of a free market.
When the government runs a market, price signals are either completely missing or distorted. On the health insurance exchanges, many people will get free or highly subsidized policies. This means the prices they are basing their purchase decisions on are different than the prices on which insurance companies are basing their decisions to offer those policies. By basic economics, this will ensure that our nation will over-allocate resources to health insurance and health care.
The cancelled policies are a perfect example of government conceit expressed through command and control trumping individual choice expressed through a free market. If health insurance were free, nobody would choose to have one of the policies that are being cancelled as they generally provided rather limited coverage. However, health insurance is not free and so quite a few people find that their best choice is to purchase minimum coverage rather than to risk going completely uninsured. Now the wisdom of the government has decreed that people should not have the freedom to make that choice. We do not know best; government does.
Government can do some things, but generally the places the government “succeeds” are in areas where the free market would not work, such as the provision of public goods like parks or national defense. Even in these cases, the quantity the government produces may or may not be the correct amount and the cost to provide it is almost surely much more than the efficient cost.
In answer to critics who will argue that these temporary setbacks are to be expected when such a difficult and far-reaching project is attempted and everything will operate smoothly after a little while, two responses are appropriate. First, exactly which government services are so well done that they inspire such confidence? In general, people dread interacting with the government, cost overruns are normal, and problems are routine. Second, such difficulties are not common when the private sector does it.
The proof of this second response is simple. Three private sector programmers in San Francisco managed to build a website, healthsherpa.com, over a weekend that provides anyone who inputs their zip code with all their federal health insurance exchange options instantly. Given one more night, they added a subsidy calculator, so that now, in a few seconds, Americans can find out everything the HealthCare.gov website is supposed to deliver, but cannot.
Everyone should be forced to go to this privately built website before defending HealthCare.gov and see how well it works. You get all the information you need within seconds. The private sector site is $600 million less expensive and infinitely more useful.
Regardless of what the law’s supporters say, the problems with Obamacare are part and parcel of what to expect when the government tries to control an important sector of the economy. There is a reason why the Soviet Union could not deliver consumer goods to its citizens in either sufficient quality or quantity. Similarly, China’s recent economic success is inextricably tied to its leaders allowing free market economics more room to operate in many areas of their economy.
Ronald Reagan famously said “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'” With the government about to take over one-sixth of the American economy, we are going to have many opportunities to remember those words.
— Jeffrey Dorfman
This article originally appeared here on Forbes.com.