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Matt Taibbi: Future Advocate of Competitive Government

July 28, 2009

Matt Taibbi has an AHA! moment on health care reform:

The reason a real health-care bill is not going to get passed is simple…because that’s not the way our government works. Our government doesn’t exist to protect voters from interests, it exists to protect interests from voters. The situation we have here is an angry and desperate population that at long last has voted in a majority that it believes should be able to pass a health care bill. It expects something to be done. The task of the lawmakers on the Hill, at least as they see things, is to create the appearance of having done something…This whole business, it was a litmus test for whether or not we even have a functioning government. Here we had a political majority in congress and a popular president armed with oodles of political capital and backed by the overwhelming sentiment of perhaps 150 million Americans, and this government could not bring itself to offend ten thousand insurance men in order to pass a bill that addresses an urgent emergency. What’s left? Third-party politics?

Unfortunately, third party politics is not the solution. I love Ron Paul as much as anyone, but the two-party system has shown itself to be a remarkably stable equilibrium. And even if somehow you were able to get a third party system in power, they’d be subject to the same double bind of reform that current legislators are.

If the problem is systemic, then the solution isn’t going to come from trying to reform the system from within, because our vaunted reformers are not angels, but humans, and humans respond to incentives. Pressure has to be put on the system from outside, to make it adapt, or wither away.

In the meantime, Taibbi should read some Mancur Olson. If he hasn’t already.

  1. July 28, 2009 11:16 pm

    Please hurry up with the offshore seasteads, us canadians will still need prompt healthcare after the U.S. goes communal in this field.
    Quite the moneymaker I would guess, medical tourism…

  2. July 28, 2009 6:46 pm

    A government based on, what, consent of the governed? That’s ridiculous! Whoever heard of such a thing?

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