Thursday, September 2, 2010

Matt Yglesias: Liberal Lion

It would be easier to take his rants against regulation seriously if MY didn't sound like a deranged glibertarian.  Let's leave aside the role of deregulation in the financial crises or the human and environmental damages caused by lax regulation in mining and oil drilling industries or the advantages reaped from safety regulations and fuel standards in the auto industry or the decline in crackpots in medicine or the limited number of Wackford Squeers in education or all the other success stories and think, just briefly about his target for today: dentists.

He  rails against the unnecessary regulation of the dental industrial.  Based on a paper, he is supposed to have read, and because
making it tougher to become a dentist will probably make dental services more expensive but the hope would be that you’re also increasing quality.
There is no necessary correlation between making something tougher and making it more expensive.  And what is more, surely because some the making tougher are requirements for additional course work and training, the hope seems pretty well grounded.  It is probably true that for some aspects of dentistry, hygienists and what have you could receive additional certification after X number of years but making a claim for deregulation based on an erroneous assumption about the cost of training and education as immutable barriers to entrance into a profession and the training and regulation driving the cost of services provided, to say nothing of the disparagement of education and training, is decidedly illiberal. If MY want's to argue against a specific germfreeness regulations or aspects of the training required, rather than just urging less based on, as near as I can tell, zero knowledge of the content of the training and requlation, he might  be on to something instead of glibertarian gobbledygook. 

Let's admit, however, that the costs of the education and training necessary to become a dentist is X and that certification to retain a license is X and that buying the mandated machines and following guidelines for germfreeness and related etc. costs X, which added together is quite a few Xs.  The Liberal response to this situation is to lower the cost of education and training and thereby removing that barrier to entrance into dentistry. Liberals would also, I hope, argue that single payer insurance would lead to lower costs.

MY on political corruption:
If I told you that the senators from Arkansas are skeptical about legislation to make it easier to form labor unions, and that skepticism about that legislation is helpful for the financial interests of Wal-Mart, and that Wal-Mart is the most important company in Arkansas, and that Wal-Mart executives give money to the senators from Arkansas, and that this whole nexus is not entirely coincidental I don’t think you would find that to be a shocking allegation.
It might not be shocking but it is corrupt.  Walmart Inc isn't the one who elected the senators from the great state of Walmart, its the voters, aka regular folks who might be helped by, say, a Union who do.  Working against their interests and in the interest of Walmart because they give you money is corrupt, even when it is not indictable.

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