Government Goal: Increase the Cost of Basic Necessities?

Can you imagine if the government actively pursued a policy to increase the cost of food for Americans?  How about gasoline?   It sounds crazy.  Why would the U.S. government support policies intended to increase the prices of basic human needs instead of decrease them?

Despite the fact that everyone needs a place to live, if housing gets more expensive, we have decided that it is a good thing from a public policy perspective. Current programs and the media have determined that lower housing costs are bad despite the disastrous effects that the housing bubble pop had on the economy in 4 years ago.  

I would prefer that everyone have a nice, affordable place to live instead of turning this basic human necessity into a savings mechanism prone to asset bubbles.  Perhaps a better means of retirement savings would be savings accounts, stocks, or bonds?

If we truly care about the poor and raising our national standard of living, we should rethink our misguided housing policies.

Insurance = Low Cost Health Care?

We all want accessible, low cost health care.

Unfortunately, a lack of clarity about that goal has exacerbated the cost of health care in the U.S.  Recent political debate has focused on getting people insured instead of making sure that everyone has access and the costs of that care are affordable.  Insurance does NOT provide care, it is only a mechanism for paying for it.

New insurance mandates have increased the costs of obtaining care.  When we require insurance companies to pay for known, recurring expenses, like birth control, it doesn’t lower the cost, it raises it.  So now instead of paying for the service directly, we pay insurance premiums that must not only cover the cost of the service, but also the processing the claim, reimbursement expenses, and insurance company profits.  Ouch.

If the goal, on the other hand, is government (or employer) paid healthcare benefits, a contribution to a Health Savings Plan is a more cost effective solution- not expensive new insurance mandates.

A good podcast on the issue:
http://www.cato.org/multimedia/daily-podcast/does-hhs-secretary-sebelius-understand-insurance

A good link to why we have have the best, most accessible healthcare in the world, AND so many are uninsured:
http://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/catosletterv3n1.pdf