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Back to School at Glenn Beck University, Part IV: More "Free-Markets-Good-Government-Intervention-Bad" from "Hope 102" at Glenn Beck University

Reported by Ellen - August 21, 2010 -

By Margarita

Are you surprised that the main message in Glenn Beck University’s Economics classes is that the government shouldn’t be providing services because the free market does it better? No, gentle readers, I wasn’t either. That was the message first delivered in Hope 101 (Beck U calls its economics classes "Hope" for some reason), and repeated in Hope 102.

GBU’s resident economics lecturer is Professor David Buckner, who as noted before, is not an economist. He does like to tell anecdotes though. He started with one about a niece visiting from Canada, who told him she loved Canada’s health care system because "all my children have had health care free." (Hmm. You mean she didn’t complain about waiting lists or death panels? What’s wrong with these Canadians?) That got Prof. Buckner off on a lecture: health care in Canada isn’t really free because everybody pays, and "how do you feel about somebody else paying for your goods and services? Should others pay for goods and services used by someone else?" (Answer: of course they should! Even most economists accept that some things are public goods and that there’s a case for regulating them outside the free market. It’s occurred to most Canadians, [http://moneywatch.bnet.com/investing/blog/make-money/us-health-care-system-ridiculous-say-canadians/392/] who would rather fork out taxes for health care than for anything else).

But according to Beck U wisdom, There Is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch. Someone Always Has to Pay. If prices are lowered then we must also lower costs or someone takes a loss. How can the US lower the price of health care without lowering costs? It can’t. So the government has to take a hit by running a deficit. (Really? There’s no way we can lower health care costs? The US health care system is already operating at maximum efficiency? Tell me another one.) Prof. Buckner says yeah, the health industry is making a hefty profit but "profits are a sign of a good deal because people are willing to pay more than it costs to produce." (Really? Are people always "willing" when it comes to shelling out for health care?)

Another of Prof. Buckner’s principles is that When Governments Intervene they Create Black Markets. He compared governments to a boulder in the middle of a stream: the stream can always go around it. As an example he chose another favorite Fox News punching bag: the minimum wage. He trotted out the old line about employers having to either raise prices or lay people off, in order to cover the cost of a higher minimum wage. "If government involvement is that critical, what do the market-forces folk not see that government does? If there was a small chance of making money wouldn’t the free market be there?" (Really? There is no other reason for delivering a service than making a profit off it?)

There we go, gentle readers: free markets deliver everything we want at the lowest cost. No one in the private sector exploits consumers or workers, creates artificial monopolies, gouges prices, promises wonderful freebies and doesn’t deliver, or engages in other crooked practices, do they? OF COURSE NOT! I’m more cynical than some of my classmates, though; the message board was peppered with compliments along the lines of "Glenn has blessed us with these classes". One reader noted [exact spelling], "this is a great program... I'm getting tought by a real college profeser,” What did I do with the Gravol?

Anyway, gentle readers, I’m behind on the Beck U reports since I spent a week or so relaxing on a warm beach. I’ll get one or two more to you before classes end (and, His Beckness hopes, all the freshly-indoctrinated alumni troop up to Washington DC for his grand "Restoring Honor" rally.

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