Government Makes Everything Worse

Via Wretchard, every industry touched by government gets worse. The graph points to one specific example, the massive increase in administrators in health care over the last decades. Like any other product, your health care gets more expensive the more salaries have to be paid to produce it. If you were just paying the doctor, the cost would be whatever the doctor thinks his time is worth, plus the cost of any medicines, tests, or supplies. If the doctor needs an assistant, her time has to be factored into the cost as well.

(An aside: I just employed that new academic standard of alternating the genders of pronouns to refer to nonspecific persons that Jason was asking about the other day. Notice how it looks exactly like an offensive assumption that a doctor would be male and his assistant a woman? But if you turn them around, the alternative construction will offend other people just as well. It's a terrible answer to the question of replacing 'he' as the universal standard for a person of unspecified gender. I think the old standard is better, but even the ungrammatical "they" for a singular individual of unspecified gender is better than this.)

So if the doctor needs four assistants to manage all the paperwork, now you're paying five salaries for however long the doctor is seeing you. Even if the other costs remained flat, your bill has to be several times higher than it was just to cover the needful salaries of the administrators.

Regulation does this across the board because there are always costs of compliance to regulations. Everything gets worse the more you regulate it.

5 comments:

MikeD said...

Singular they is at least 600 years old, and only fell into disrepute in the late 1800's:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singular_they

I refuse to be a slave to a grammar trend that seems to have no more basis than the ridiculous "you may not end a sentence with a preposition" (i.e. that would be, no basis at all).

Grim said...

That is the sort of foolishness up with which we shall not put.

I fall in on the singular 'they' as the least worst option when writing for an audience who will be offended by the traditional grammar. I think that "every child will feed themself" is a weird thing to say (to borrow the example from your link), but it's better than having to use three times as many words ("himself or herself"), or the adoption of nonsense new words ("zerself").

The alteration of gender seems to me to be the actually worst solution, though, because it can be interpreted as offensive almost every time it is employed. If I'm adopting a construction for the sole reason that I want to reduce unintentional offensiveness, it should at least be recognizable as an attempt to be inoffensive.

Stone Soup said...

Looking at this chart makes me wonder how similar of a chart would result from taking the same time period, and plotting educational instructors vs academic institution administrators. Do it for universities, and then for basic elementary and secondary schools.

I will bet that the outcome would appear similar.

MikeD said...

I fall in on the singular 'they' as the least worst option when writing for an audience who will be offended by the traditional grammar.

I was using singular they before this pronoun policing was ever a thing (as did English speakers 500 years past. If using a certain pronoun would offend someone, they can go jump in a lake. See? It's a hell of a lot less awkward than "he/she" or any other given pronoun.

To me, the important thing is how ridiculous we must make something sound in order to be "grammatically correct" (according to the ridiculous standards of someone long dead who simply appointed themselves an "expert"). "Tom had no one with whom to play" sounds forced, awkward, and stupid. "Tom had no one to play with" is far superior (even if it does offend the sensibilities of grammar scolds. "They must be convinced of the commitment that they are taking on" sounds less forced than "they must be convinced of the commitment on which they are taking". Or as in the example you use. Only a fool would consider that a superior construction. And yet here we are, beholden to grammar fetishists from the 17th and 18th Centuries who wished for English to be more like Latin. And that is something for which I will not stand. :P

E Hines said...

An aside: I just employed that new academic standard of alternating the genders of pronouns to refer to nonspecific persons....

I'll stick with the Supreme Court's standard--at least the august female Justices' standard--of using, nearly exclusively, male nouns and pronouns because I'm a male, just as these Justices use, nearly exclusively, female nouns and pronouns because they're female. After all, of course they wouldn't abuse their status as Supreme Court Justices to make political statements with their grammar.

The alteration of gender seems to me to be the actually worst solution, though, because it can be interpreted as offensive almost every time it is employed.

Again, I say: I'll stick with my male nouns and pronouns, and I'll do so without any concern at all for the offense of those who spend their time looking for excuses for being offended, manufacturing offense if they can find no excuse. Mark me down as offensively arrogant. Oh, and I go to great lengths to avoid ending sentences with prepositions. The locutions resulting are just too much fun.

Regarding OP: So if the doctor needs four assistants to manage all the paperwork, now you're paying five salaries for however long the doctor is seeing you.

But, but--what's the downside of this? Aren't these some of the shovel-ready (or pencil-ready) jobs Obama promised us so long ago?

Eric Hines