Aaron Carol at The Incidental Economist asks why Republicans cannot understand the simple fact that government is better at doing some things than private companies:
There are plenty of things that government does poorly. Or, at least you can make that argument, and find some support for it out there. For instance, many people believe that government does a terrible job at sparking innovation. I could imagine a debate there. Some think that government does a bad job at providing choice. That’s entirely defensible. Government run systems also allow less room for profit, which can drive out entrepreneurs. Also arguable.
But what government systems do well is hold down costs. They use central planning. They use their large market power to negotiate for reduced reimbursement (see Part 2). They buy drugs cheaper. They eliminate profit and overhead.
This is what government does well. It’s why every other country that has more government involvement than ours spends less than we do.
It took me a while to figure this out, but the reason Republicans don’t understand this is because they can’t understand it. The public has to stop thinking of the Republican Party as a political entity – it isn’t. It is the PR vessel of big business and corporate interests and nothing more. The GOP now exists only to further the interests of capital, and at any cost. Their platform is devoid of any substantial government policy because they don’t understand or accept the concept of government itself. To accept that government has a positive role in the functioning of a society would run counter to corporate interests that seek only the maximization of profit.
You can only accept that government does some things better than private companies if the basis of your existence doesn’t rely on the opposite being true. The Democrats still operate with an underlying philosophy that government should play a role in the economic organization of society for the good of the public. This has been watered down significantly over the past 40 years, but the Republicans don’t care about the good of the public at all and won’t listen to any evidence that counters their claims that they do. Government clearly runs healthcare better than private companies as shown by the disastrous state of US healthcare. But no matter for Republicans – profits for the insurance industry are rising, so as far as they are concerned, it doesn’t matter.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.