It’s important we get more sophisticated analysis of what has gone wrong with the ACA rollout to better appreciate how utilizing “the market” can be far more cumbersome and inefficient than the government just doing things itself.
October 23, 2013
What Kind of Problem is the ACA Rollout for Liberalism?
[In other words, “Our government program is such a disaster that we need a new and expanded government program to fix it.”
Monopolies are almost always a bad thing. The lack of choice creates a situation where inferior and expensive products do not get improved or replaced. Konczcal and hard-core liberals want government monopolies. The soft-core liberals want to regulate the market.
What Konczal doesn’t understand is that he, politicians, and government in general, do not have the domain knowledge to solve most problems. This includes regulating the solution providers. When I read the instruction manual for my car and it says to use a particular grade of gasoline and change the oil every 5000 miles I follow their recommendations. They know their car far better than I do. Even though I am a software engineer when a software package says it requires X megabytes of RAM Y megabytes of disk space I follow their recommendations because they know their software far better than I do.
The advocate for more government might say, “We will bring in experts and/or we will become experts.” This doesn’t work. I worked in a government lab for three years. I remember sitting in a meeting discussing how to get more research contracts. One guy said, “What we have is the ability to become experts on anything within a couple of weeks.” He was serious. I felt the blood drain out of my face. I had been working with him for over two years and I had not yet discovered anything that I considered him an expert on. They spent several years and millions of dollars coming up with a software testing and quality program for the software being developed at the lab. What they came up with was something that the industry had left behind a decade or two previously (the “waterfall model”).
The reason government cannot acquire the expertise is because they are a monopoly and expertise is like a product. It must constantly be improved and updated to remain relevant. And without the marketplace pressure it will stagnant and become obsolete.
Because of this lack of domain knowledge and the inherent inferiority of monopoly products government “doing it itself” will always be the wrong answer to a problem that doesn’t involve the use of force.—Joe]