Thursday, November 22, 2012

Krugman: Let's Hear it For Bureaucracy

     He actually makes a great point about those who complain about big government-in this case the allegedly terrible things that will happen once ObamaCare kicks in.

    "In a story about anti-Obamacare deadenders, Talking Points Memo runs this picture:

     "As it happens, I’ve recently had fairly extensive dealings with both our health care system and with the New Jersey DMV. In one case, I encountered vast amounts of paperwork, mind-numbing bureaucracy, and extremely frustrating delays. In the other, my needs were met quickly and politely.
So far, then, it’s DMV 1, private health system (and I have very good insurance) 0."

     That's actually an excellent point. It's amazing ot me how much the DMV has improved over the last 15 years. There was a time I remember where you would literally have to wait outside and around the building to get heard.

      Now you go to someone who gives you a number right away and you wait in some comfortable seats. Some lights actually show you when your number will likely come up-it's rarely more than 20 minutes-often considerably lesser.

      This was in Mass-I haven't had my car since I've been back in NY so I don't know how it is here but from what I understand it's not much different.

       Gary Wills make this point back in the late 70s in his "Confessions of a Conservative"-a very good book that gives a unique way to understand American society-government, business, social change, etc.  Just a very interesting book about his own idiosyncratic political philosophy.

        That was at the height of the anti-government jibes. That was just before Reagan was elected and back then if there was a problem you could be sure it would be blamed on Big Government.

         As Wills argued big and inefficient are not necessarily one and the same. Often the government could be more efficient but it isn't because there's a desire not to let it get any bigger. Many of the most efficient things we can look at are due to Big Government.

         There's little doubt that ObamaCare will add efficiency to our very inefficient healthcare system. In this case inefficient means first and foremost, expensive. 




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