I have a friend - a spectacularly successful business person - who once told me that "when a guy you are doing business with wants to pray with you, watch your wallet."
Now, that's funny (it turns what seems to be a good thing on its hear) and probably unfair. Here is something that is neither.
of public-private partnerships. Two theoretical insights tell us to be
wary of the idea that government can facilitate the success of selected
private companies. One is the notion that, in the absence of a market
and the price signals it provides, it is virtually impossible to know
which business or technology ought to be a winner.
is that, as public choice theory tells us, political processes are
likely to be dominated by those whose interest is in the outcome is much
greater than the public as a whole. In particular, there is a danger
that the regulated will "capture" the regulators.
Street Journal is telling a scary story about this in the context of the
passage of President's Obama health care reform. Pharmaceutical
companies came to see the passage of the new law as both a risk and an
opportunity. There were things that wished to avoid, e.g., permitted the
re-importation of drugs, but also things that they wanted. Expansion of
government subsidies for the purchase of their products - as well as a
mandate that people buy insurance that would pay for their products -
would be great for business.
There is an interesting twist to
the story related to concerns on the left about money in politics.
Apparently one of the prices of - or inducements for - favorable
treatment was the expenditure by the drug companies' trade association
of $ 150 million in advertising to be coordinated with the White House
to promote a "consensus" on health care reform. This puts concerns about
Citizens United in perspective, no?
Did things like this happen during the Bush administration? Apparently so. Shame on that as well.
Government does best when it sticks to government work.,
e.g. providing genuinely public goods and, as the Wall Street Journal
put it, creating a fair and free market free of the type of
micromanagement that is the essence of ObamaCare. Gore too many oxes and
the ranchers start to get interested.
Cross posted at Purple Wisconsin