Paul Krugman Thinks You’ll Be Happier With Fewer Choices. Nonsense.
Writing in The New York Times, Nobel Prize-winning columnist Paul Krugman offers a unified theory of everything wrong with America: We’re just too free to choose.
Krugman says this is the lesson to be learned from last month’s energy crisis in Texas that left some of the state’s residents—people who had freely chosen to sign-up for variable rate offerings from their electric service providers—with sky-high bills when demand surged as the state’s generating supply crashed. People can’t be trusted to choose their electric service, he argues, because some will make ill-informed decisions that come with unexpected costs. From there, he expands this thesis to a general principle, one that he says is to blame for everything from rising health insurance premiums to the subprime mortgage meltdown of a decade ago.
“Many of us are actually offered too many choices, in ways that can do a lot of harm,” Krugman argues. “Sometimes people offered too much choice will make bigger mistakes than they imagined possible.” That’s grounds for denying someone the right to take out a risky mortgage or refusing to deregulate electricity markets, Krugman argues, even though the outcomes he’s proposing would leave people with fewer options for obtaining home-ownership and likely paying higher prices for energy.
Indeed, to understand the consequences of limiting choice, just take a look at the Obamacare health insurance marketplaces, which prohibit the purchase of cheap insurance plans that would otherwise be available. They are set up this way for exactly the reasons that Krugman is outlining: because some people might make the “wrong” choice and end up with massive medical bills. The result of that policy is higher premiums for everyone.
But the real kicker is Krugman’s contention that “an excess of choice is taking a psychological toll on many Americans, even when they don’t end up experiencing disaster.”
Nonsense. Krugman is pushing an only slightly more sophisticated version of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) complaints about the wide variety of deodorants available at any American supermarket. Or, if you pre
Article from Latest – Reason.com