Quote of the day—Mike Konczal

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.

Mike Konczal
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]


6 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Mike Konczal

  1. As I keep telling people, failure IS and option. In fact, the chance to fail is an absolute necessity in any healthy system. Without failure, there is no growth, assets get misallocated, stagnation sets in. There MUST be a cost to doing badly, and it MUST be borne by the people who actually caused the failure. Not the low-level grunts doing their best to implement the plan, but the architects of the plan who came up with the screwed up plan to start with. When wolves eat, it’s because the weakest deer didn’t make it away, and the heard, on average, is stronger. When monopolies are protected, rot and disease sets in. Government needs a SERIOUS cutback in spending, let a lot of it die off.
    Will it be painful? Of course. So is amputating a leg with gangrene. But the consequences of NOT taking the leg off are much uglier.

  2. You would be appalled at what some of the gov’t “experts” in the group I work with come up with in such cut and dried areas as structural engineering.

  3. This rollout of the ACA is using the free market about as much as three children in Kindergarten playing “grocery store” are.

  4. You’re using the nuts-and-bolts argument. You’re also, for this post, running under the assumption that “providing cheaper and better health care” is actually a goal for the people behind the push for socialized medicine.

    I would challenge you on both counts.

    The nuts-and-bolts argument says “it should not be done this way because it is less efficient this way”. I say it shouldn’t be done this way because it was never any of their fucking business in the first place, the second place, or the last place, because it violates the very concepts of human rights and freedom. The level of efficiency or competence with which such a violation may be executed is a very distant, secondary issue and so it is beside the point.

    On the matter of intent; there is more than enough evidence to state beyond reasonable doubt that the motivators behind socialized medicine (and socialism/communism in general) are after one thing – power (or power while enriching themselves while impoverishing everyone else, or what we may call “relative advantage”) inspired by hate. It is well established for example that the Soviets, when finished with the “useful idiots” i.e. those high-profile ideological Marxists who believe the big lie of the glorious, social democratic utopia, are the first ones to be squashed like cockroaches in the final stages because once they find out what it’s really about (power) they tend to turn on their handlers using their high-profile status. No, Young Grasshopper; this has absolutely nothing to do with helping people or with what’s “best for society” or with “equality” or any of that hype even though some people are stupid enough to believe in it.

    As good as it may be, you’re addressing the window dressing, the mask, the big lie rather than the substance of the movement. I might even say that you’re falling for the distractions, as we all so often do (myself included) and that those distractions are having precisely their intended effect on us which is to keep us irritated as part of a program of what’s been referred to for generations as Agitation Propaganda.

    • YES!

      Do NOT let yourself get bogged down arguing minutiae. Principle is dispositive and the strongest possible argument. START from principle and never stray from it.


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