Bob Higgs says if you're shocked by the failure and nationalization of Fannie and Freddie, just wait until Medicaire comes crashing down:
The failure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, setting in motion the biggest government bailout/takeover in U.S. history, brings a grim sense of fulfillment to competent economists. After all, what did people expect, that water would flow uphill forever?
This financial mega-mess is the same sort of event as the collapse of the USSR’s centrally planned economy, another economically unworkable Rube Goldberg apparatus that was kept going, more or less badly, for decades before it fell apart completely. Along the way, of course, famous (yet actually unsound) economists assured the world that everything was working out splendidly. As late as 1989, when the pillars were crumbling on all sides of the temple, Nobel Prize winner Paul A. Samuelson informed readers of his widely used textbook, “The Soviet economy is proof that . . . a socialist command economy can function and even thrive.”
In the future, we will see a similar breakdown of the U.S. government’s Social Security system, with its ill-fated pension system and its even more inauspicious Medicare system of financing health care for the elderly. These government schemes are fighting a losing battle against demographic realities, the laws of economics, and the rules of arithmetic. The question is not whether they will fail, but when—and then how the government that can no longer sustain them in their previous Ponzi-scheme form will alter them to salvage what little can be salvaged with minimal damage to the government itself.
Our political economy is rife with such catastrophes in waiting, yet the public always seems startled, and outraged, when the day of reckoning can no longer be deferred, and another apartment collapses in the state’s Hotel of Impossible Promises, loading onto the taxpayers more visibly the burden of sheltering the previous occupants.
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