--- Subscription Options ----------------
Subscribe to this blog via RSS

Recent Posts

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bill Maher ranted over at the Huffington Post last week, proclaiming, "New Rule: Not Everything in America Has to Make a Profit." However, he failed to provide a single example of an enterprise that does not necessarily have to make a profit to justify its existence. If Bill Maher ran America, the following industries from his article would be controlled and operated by the government:

  1. weapons manufacturers
  2. military vehicle manufacturers
  3. private security forces
  4. prison operators
  5. media
  6. health insurance
  7. health care (including hospitals)
Yes, Bill Maher, America does have a capitalism problem. The problem is I can no longer easily recognize the "free" in "free market." Government intervention in the marketplace continues to worsen, which will only cause the list above to grow.

Maher complains "our war zones are dominated by private contractors and mercenaries who work for corporations. There are more private contractors in Iraq than American troops." Maher is actually complaining that there are more private contractors than troops. What ratio would he find acceptable? Who will perform the jobs no longer available to private citizens - more troops? Failing to think through the consequences, this plan would put more troops in war zones and increase unemployment at home.

The privatization of prison operations has grown in popularity as many states have experienced growing budget deficits. If the private sector can operate a prison more cost effectively than the government, then the government should step aside. You cannot complain when a special interest lobbies government to serve their interests. Every special interest lobbies the government. Why doesn't Bill Maher complain when other special interests, like teacher unions, lobby the government? The two largest teacher unions spend more money lobbying the government than the top two defense contractors, the top four oil companies, or the top five lobbying firms.

Accoding to Maher, "Television news is another area that used to be roped off from the profit motive." Really? If television news didn't earn a profit, 24-hour news channels would not exist. The private sector does not create demand; it meets demand that already exists (or anticipates it).

In some countries, the media does not have to earn a profit. However, when the government controls your funding, it controls your actions. No state in the U.S. has had a legal drinking age under 21 since 1984 when Congress threatened to withhold highway funds to states that did not comply.

Maher tells the following story about health care:
It wasn't that long ago that when a kid broke his leg playing stickball, his parents took him to the local Catholic hospital, the nun put a thermometer in his mouth, the doctor slapped some plaster on his ankle and you were done. The bill was $1.50, plus you got to keep the thermometer.

But like everything else that's good and noble in life, some Wall Street wizard decided that hospitals could be big business, so now they're run by some bean counters in a corporate plaza in Charlotte.
This is not an argument against private health care. The Catholic church was not forced out of the heath care industry. It removed itself from a nonprofitable enterprise where it did not maintain a comparative advantage, moving its limited funds to enterprises where it believed would benefit the most people (or better serve its interests).

Posted by Eleutherian

Submit to Reddit
Submit to Reddit
Digg This Post
This Post
Stumble This Post
Stumble This Post
Reading: Bill Maher: 'Profit' Is Not a Dirty WordTweet This
This Post
Add To Delicious
Add to Del.icio.us
Fave on Technorati
Fave on Technorati

1 Responses to Bill Maher: 'Profit' Is Not a Dirty Word

  1. Juile Says:
  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.  

Post a Comment