An apostle of what’s commonly called the “Austrian” school of economics (I think it was Jim Ostrowski) said that (quotes are mine) ”jobs are a means to produce consumer goods, not an end in themselves.” An illustration. Presented the spectacle of 10,000 Chinamen with shovels building a dam, the communist official proudly declared to another Austrian economist (I think it was Mises, himself)…”In China this is how we create jobs.” Mises replied,” If you want to create jobs, take away their shovels. I though you were trying to build a dam.”
Mises’ sense of humor combined with his cold reason was rare. But how would this strike you if you were out of work and had been looking for a job for some time? You would think Mises an ideological fool, because after all, you needed a job. How dare he denigrate job creation like that? In your desperate need, your reason sidelined, you would be in no position to evaluate or judge the clear economic reasoning of Mises in the above paragraph.
Now imagine that you are sick with a chronic disease, facing incredible medical bills and possible bankruptcy. A man comes along and tells you that in exchange for your vote, he will bring you free medical care, at long last a respite from your plight. Once again, your reason sidelined and having fallen prey to the charms of this charlatan, you are in no position to discuss in a rational way the logical fallacy you have been promised. Unbeknownst to you, rationing and death will be your reward for this bargain.
A rogue pharmacy tosses common sense aside and distributes contaminated drugs, the injection of which results in several deaths. The “something-has-to-be-done” urge, inevitably turns into a “we-need-more-government-to-regulate-these-outfits” urge. The FDA, like any government agency, eager to amass more power and refusing to allow this crisis to go to waste, rides in to our “rescue.” More FDA regulation will soon enough mean that many drugs are completely unavailable, or only sold by the FDA’s clientele, the big “boys,” at jaw-dropping prices.
Politicians and bureaucrats love suffering. Entire constituencies have been created out of life’s victims. Few know or will ever know that their current plight is almost every time, the result of the policies of those masquerading as their knights. ”I care about your health,” really means, “I must pay off those who helped me gain this powerful position, those health industry leaders in big hospitals, big pharma, software giants and the insurance industry (the purchase of whose product is now mandated by law). Remember, “I feel your pain?” These shameless charlatans receive Nobel prizes and other such recognition, having paved their roads to “success” with the tragedy of their “marks.”
A word of caution for anyone reading this that is face to face with a crisis or disaster: be skeptical of those public officials who offer help. Be careful to avoid adding to your misery by lowering your defenses to those who would in your greatest time of need, line their pockets by robbing you in their capacity as “public servants.”
G. Keith Smith, M.D.