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Government Rationing

When you live in a world where unicorns don’t roam, scarce resources need to be rationed. Even here in profilgate Rochester, hard decisions sometimes have to get made:

More than 700 Rochester students who rode the bus to school last year are finding other transportation this year after the City School District began enforcing its transportation policy more strictly.

Tighter enforcement of district policy has eliminated most exceptions to a rule that refuses bus service to students who live within 1.5 miles of their school — a move that will save the district $1.2 million this year, officials estimate. But it has also infuriated some parents, who fear that the district is endangering children by expecting even the youngest students to trek to school through snow, across busy streets or in crime-plagued neighborhoods.

But of course, this is just one isolated example. Have fun with state sponsored health care. And guess who will feel the brunt of the rationing?

Of course, I am not arguing that a market-drive health care system avoids rationing (which we have nothing resembling, for example 3rd parties pay over 80% of medical bills in the U.S. … far from a user-pays model), but the type of rationing that happens under a market system is different for two reasons:

  1. Decisions are not made by a political class
  2. When market goods need to be rationed, as they all do, there are incentives to expand the provision of those services. When government goods need to be rationed, there are no incentives to expand, only service inevitably is reduced in availability, quality, or both.

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