I guess when you’re a pundit you can expect to be bopped over the head once in a while. In a recent column for Townhall.com I talked about the TV licensing system in Britain and other European countries. It is an Orwellian set-up that involves harassing people about whether they have a TV if they’re not paying an annual licensing fee.
An Irish critic wrote to say, “Your article was ‘spot on’; it just did not go far enough in describing the problem.” I don’t mind this kind of criticism because I can always blame my friends at Townhall.com for not letting me write 10,000 words each week instead of the lousy 1,000 or so they let me scribble.
My correspondent says that the TV scheme is “an eloquent metaphor for the system of universal health care that is found over here.” He notes that supposedly “free” health care is of course paid for with high taxes, with the added bonus that sick people too frequently shuffle off this mortal coil before they have a chance to see a specialist. They can try to pay more out of their own pockets. But he says, “Even then . . . tests that would be performed within a day or two in the U.S. can takes months to organise. Diseases that have a high survivability rate in the U.S. are often terminal here for that very reason.”
In other words, when you take away the market incentives for quick and reliable service, you also take away the quick and the reliable. My Irish friend is right. Well, that’s my time.
This is Common Sense.Â I’m Paul Jacob.