16 October 2009

TANSTAAFL

Going to the Mat | Matt Johnson | I Loved This Letter to the Wall Street Journal

Just Brilliant:
Regarding "Mrs. Pelosi's VAT" (Review & Outlook, Oct. 8): Several years ago when our children were very young, my wife and I hosted a different European au pair each year for six years. During the course of their stay in America, each au pair proudly commented that in their respective European country medical care was free.

When their time with us came to an end, each au pair went to the Mall of America and purchased several pairs of jeans, as well as other clothes, before returning home. At the time, jeans cost between $15 and $30 each. I asked these young women why they were buying so many jeans before returning to their country. With some astonishment at my lack of understanding, they explained that the same jeans in their country retailed for between $80 and $100. The price differential, of course, was due to the value-added tax and the higher costs of doing business in European welfare states.

I thought to myself, "Ah, but your medical care is "free."

Mark Douglass

Minneapolis
Having spoken to a number of people and responded to a number of Facebook posts about so-called free health care, I find it amazing that supposedly smart people can't seem to realize that there is no such thing as a free lunch, or importantly free health care. Health care costs money. Period. Full Stop.

The money to pay for health care, even one supposedly provided by the government, must come from somewhere. That will come from you, me and the taxes we pay on a variety of items.
There Aint No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

Learn it. Live it.




Apologies to Johnson for excerpting his entire post, but I couldn't resist. In attempts to introduce some value-added to this post, I'll point you towards the related-but-different No Free Lunch Theorem, which in addition to being fundamental also might have the most fun name in all of theoretical Computer Science.

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