Friday, March 19, 2010

Quotes of the day

A confused customer is a profitable customer.--Josh Reich

... the CBO process has now been so thoroughly gamed that it's useless.--Megan McArdle

... MAYBE we should hire the guys who run Wal-Mart to Fix the economy.--Jeff Miron

Is it really possible to reduce the deficit by adding trillions of dollars in government expenditure? Of course not. The health care bill is really two bills: one that creates all the expenditure, and one that (allegedly) raises even more revenue via taxes, fees, and cuts in Medicare. The first lie is that the policy changes in the two bills need to be linked; specifically, that we need the subsidies, mandates, and insurance regulation to obtain the Medicare savings. Not true. If we have ways to make Medicare more efficient, that’s great. But we can and should do that independent of expanding subsidies or further regulation of health insurance. The Democrats have linked the issues because they know the public would never vote for expanded subsidies straight up. That brings us to the second lie, which is that we can reduce Medicare expenses without reducing care. No one disputes that Medicare spends money on care of dubious value. But designing a better system is incredibly hard. If policymakers or economists had a solution, we would have adopted it long ago. The reality is that efficiency is impossible in a huge, complex, command and control systems. We do have ways, of course, to reduce Medicare expenditure: a higher age of eligibility, higher co-pays and deductibles, or rationing.--Jeff Miron

I read The Fountainhead in my third month of college. If I hadn't done so, I'm not sure I'd be a libertarian, an economist, or an American. It, and Ayn Rand generally, influenced a huge number of the choices I made, most very good, one very bad that is too personal to talk about. ... When I picked up [The Road To Serfdom] to read about 6 months later, I loved it. Not only did I learn [Hayek's] explicit message, but also I learned a style of debate that I still practice: zeroing in on the issue and assuming good intentions of the "other side."--David Henderson

From a young age, I thought that intelligence matters a lot. But several of my favorite K-12 teachers tricked me into abandoning my youthful insight. The Bell Curve gave me back my birthright - and persuaded me that econometrics was not a waste of time along the way.--Bryan Caplan

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