It's clear that with free access to food, too many people would take too much food, leaving many others with no food at all. Government would soon realize that food storehouses are emptying faster than expected. In response, it might hike taxes even higher to produce more food - raising the price that society pays for nutrition.Replace the word 'food' with 'health care'.
Stocking stores with more food, though, won't solve the problem. With food free at the point of delivery, consumers would take all that they can carry. People would quickly learn that if they don't grab as much food as possible today, the store might run out of the foods that their families need tomorrow. This creates a vicious cycle of moral hazard that unwittingly pits neighbor against neighbor.
Eventually, to avoid spending impossibly large chunks of society's resources producing food, government would start restricting access to it. Bureaucrats would enforce rations, such as "two gallons of milk per family per week." There might be exceptions for those with special needs, but most of us would be allowed to take only those foods that officials decide we need.
Food would be a universal entitlement in name only. In practice, it would be strictly limited by government rules.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I said, 'health care is not a right!'
Don Boudreaux says it better.