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False Certainty

The most disappointing part of the recent health care "debate"? It's gotta be exaggerated claims on both sides of the aisle. Op ed pundits (and no doubt talk show hosts, though I don't listen to them) shout that the republic will come to an end if the bill passes, or if it doesn't. Neither is right. As individuals, and societies, mature and grow wealthier, they reallocate their resources. More, or less, is spent on food, shelter, health, education, helping the neediest, research, etc.

Extreme all-or-nothing strategies aren't optimum. Long-term investment and no present consumption ("The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday—but never jam to-day." from Alice in Wonderland) is wrong, and so is eating all the seed corn at the cost of future disaster. Honest people can debate the right balance, but their voices tend to get drowned out by noisemakers at either end of the spectrum.

By the way, a feature of health care reform that hasn't been highlighted enough: there's now a 10% federal tax on "indoor tanning services". What is The Man going to do next, take away my guns and fair-trade bananas? It's the End of the World as We Know It!

(yep, I've sung this song before ... cf. PredictingVersusUnderstanding (1999-02-27), Underappreciated Ideas (1999-07-06), ExaggeratedCertainty (2002-12-16), ProbabilisticTragedy (2003-03-12), CreepingConfidence (2004-10-13), HardCoreBelievers (2005-09-02), WeeBitMoreComplicated (2007-08-29), Unreasonable Attention (2009-02-22), ...) - ^z - 2010-03-23