Do Immigrants Have “Trust” Issues?

One common criticism of immigrants is that they could undermine American institutions, weakening them so much that future economic growth will decrease so that the long run costs of liberalization are greater than the benefits. As I’ve written before this criticism doesn’t hold up to empirical scrutiny but a new line of attack is that immigrant trust levels could weaken productivity.  I decided to look at trust variables in the General Social Survey (GSS), a huge biennial survey of households in the United States, to see if immigrants and their children are less trusting than other Americans. The results were unexpected.

The first variable examined was “trust.” The question asked was: “Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you can’t be too careful in life?” I confined the results to the years 2004-2014 to measure more recent immigrants. The first generation is the immigrant generation, the second generation are children of immigrants, the third generation are the grandchildren of immigrants, and the fourth+ generation includes their great grandchildren and every older generation.

The first and second generations are less trusting than the third generation, confirming the findings of the literature. However, the fourth-plus generation is about as distrustful as the first and second generations. The immigrants and their children are not the trust anomaly, the third generation is. They are more trusting than every other generation of Americans (Figure 1).  
Figure 1


Source: General Social Survey

Related to “trust,” the “fair” variable asks: “Do you think most people would try to take advantage of you if they got a chance, or would they try to be fair?” It reveals the same pattern as “trust” –first and second generations are much more likely to say people try to take advantage than the third generation (Figure 2). However, the fourth+ generations are nearly indistinguishable from the immigrant generation and their children. Only the third generation sees other people as particularly fair. 

Figure 2


Source: General Social Survey

The third variable examined was “helpful,” which asks: “Would you say that most of the time people try to be helpful, or that they are mostly just looking out for themselves?” The same pattern emerged – the first and second generations were more similar to the fourth-plus generation. The second generation is nearly identical to the fourth-plus generation. The third generation was most likely to say that most people were helpful and least likely to say that people look out for themselves. Again, the third generation is the trust anomaly, not the immigrants.    

Figure 3











 Source: General Social Survey

The differences between immigrants, their children, and fourth-plus generation Americans are small when it comes to levels of trust, opinions of fairness, and whether people are helpful. It’s hard to see how these small differences could comprise the micro foundations of an institution-based argument against liberalized immigration. The question is not why native-born Americans trust and immigrants don’t, it’s why do third generation Americans trust so much while all other Americans and immigrants do not?


For “trust,” there were 1039 first generation respondents, 364 from the second generation, 327 for the third generation, and 4988 for the fourth-plus generation. For “fair,” there were 972 first generation respondents, 345 from the second generation, 304 for the third generation, and 4699 for the fourth-plus generation. For “helpful,” there were 986 first generation respondents, 347 from the second generation, 303 from the third generation, and 4700 from the fourth-plus generation. 


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Liberty and the Election

I am first honored to be asked to write a few words on liberty in the 2016 election:

Liberty is clearly on the march in 2016.  Starting with the "upset" win in Great Britain to leave the EU and recent elections such as the rerun of the Austrian Presidential election and excellent showings of the Alternative for Germany shows a constituency for liberty and national sovereignty.  (Not all those European parties are libertarian but some have liberty aspects to it, especially UKIP.)  UKIP has reached out to disaffected Labourites (I call them Farage Labourites - a echo to the Reagan Democrat of the 80s.) and won a national election (the EU MPs) and unofficially helped with the Leave campaign.  

Sovereignty is important because the Constitution can only be the supreme law of the land (As I like to say, next to the Bible most dear) if it truly is supreme.  So these Brexit style efforts are important.  The UK is a long way from liberty and the US needs work as well.

Actually there are three aspects of the rise of liberty and libertarian candidates (not all in the LP):  The "America First" non interventionist foreign policy positions of the GOP nominee hearken back to the 2008 and 2012 Ron Paul candidacies.  And Cong. Paul brought out millions of liberty minded individuals into the political process.  Millennials are rising and many see liberty as the answer.  When mainstream conservative/tea party run articles are the abuse of eminent domain or civil forfeiture or audit the Fed - it was Cong. Paul that started that.  Of course Trump has positions that are obnoxious to liberty but libertarian ideals are being heard and bearing fruit.  

It is likely the LP team of Johnson and Weld will win millions of voters, many of whom never voted for a Libertarian before.  That can only encourage others to seek local and state offices (as well as Congress and US Senate, too) either as a liberty-minded Republican or under the LP banner.  Millions are ready to consider a third party alternative.  

The third aspect of the 2016 election ought to be a look to the future.  I would say to you:  Consider a future run for a local or state office.  School Boards and local governments need liberty-minded officeholders.  Be a voice in the wilderness.  Call out profligate spending.  Stop useless regulations like business licenses, permits not needed for public safety, and bad land use planning.  As the wonderful agitator and abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison once wrote (I paraphrase a bit), be the village Hampden - raising the ideals of liberty in your community.  Sometimes you might be providing needed competition when many political races are unopposed in Virginia and the US.  Nearly 50% of the legislative seats in the Commonwealth were unopposed in the general election.  The LP ought to consider in 2017 running their best candidate not for Governor but for Lt. Governor - less likely to be a "lesser of two evils" ballot choice and sometimes the leading parties get ideological for that office.  The terrible and constitutionally suspect ten percent ballot access requirement is easier to get in the LG race. 

Whether in the GOP or the LP, this election can be a victory for liberty if people vote and participate in the political process.  

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Aleppo Distraction

The intense media criticism of Gary Johnson's minor flub concerning Aleppo is "gotcha" journalism misdirected from Donald Trump, who seems to wiggle out of every media attempt to amplify his seemingly daily gaffs. They can't seem to get Trump on major transgressions, such as his regularly shifting policy stances, lying, and saying politically incorrect things, and Hillary, until very recently, has been ignoring them altogether. Thus, Johnson, a candidate readily accessible to the media, thus gets overkill on an unimportant geography question.

Johnson clearly knew about the horrible Syrian humanitarian situation, even if he didn't know the name of Syria's formerly largest city. And for a non-interventionist candidate, one could actually hold Johnson to a lower standard than the two major party candidates. Syria, let alone, Aleppo is not strategic to the United States and thus the main U.S. concern should be humanitarian.

The Syrian regime and its many opposition groups are intrinsically weak, and thus the already long conflict is being fueled by outside powers, including the United States. If the United States wants to help the people of Aleppo and Syria, it should first quit supplying provisions, intelligence, and bombing runs to further stoke the war. 

But if the U.S. withdraws from involvement in Syria, won't ISIS growor, alternatively, the dictator Bashar al-Assad get stronger? Either is possible, but ISIS is mainly a regional threat and should be dealt with by regional powers. Assad may be one of those powers. But when your enemies are fighting each other--Assad, Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah vs. ISIS, the al Qaeda affiliate, and other radical Islamist groups--why get in their way? The best outcome for the United States would be that they fight each other to exhaustion. And at least the United States would have clean hands in making things worse for the Syrian people, because it doesn't now. The U.S. should withdraw from active participation in the conflict, except in doing what it can to donate relief supplies to suffering innocent civilians.  

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Did the UK pass the USA with respect to Human Rights?

When a person studies US history, they are bound to come across information about not just pilgrims... but puritans as well.  The same struggles have existed throughout the lifespan of our nation.  The struggle between those who believe in their right to live their chosen lives in peace and those who strongly desire to control others is as old as time itself.

Today in our country, the conflict continues.  Everyone wants to live their life the way they choose, however there are still many that want you to live as they tell you to live.  Like your body does not belong to you.  Still, in the land of the free, marriage equality is a hot issue.  Prostitution is mostly illegal nationwide.  Drug possession and personal use of substances that others deem immoral will still land a person in prison, thus ruining your life to save your life.  Even the simple act of not wearing a seat belt, a personal choice, can cost you economic losses, and if the wrong law enforcement representative sees you without a seat belt, it can even end your life.

It seems like we are all on a huge hamster wheel, with half of us wanting to live our lives in peace, and the other half chasing us around forcing us to live our lives the way they want us to.  Does this sound like freedom to you?

Many of us agree that the only purpose of government is to protect our security and our liberties.  Security should be defined by outside threats.. not consequences of personal choices that affect no one but the person making the choice.  So looking at the UK, a largely socialist entity, one might not expect a country which promulgates so much government control of everything to actively legislate that which should actually be addressed... human rights and the people's protection from government!

In 1998, the UK passed and later implemented the Human Rights Act of 1998.  That act includes many articles which dovetail with our bill of rights, with one interesting inclusion:  Article 8:  Respect for your private and family life.  Article 8 protects your right to respect for your private life, your family life, your home and your correspondence.  I cannot speak to the likely myriad offenses that the UK has likely committed to this article, but what I find interesting is that the intent of the UK Parliament was to protect their citizens from the others chasing them on the Hamster wheel.

Here in the baseball, hot dogs and apple pie USA, where our flag stands for freedom... we do not have these protections.  The natural question is... why not?  We have cameras everywhere.  We have people harassed daily for their personal and family choices.  Certainly our correspondence is not respected in any way, shape or form.  There is always a special reason provided by our government to give up our liberties.  The Patriot Act... The NSA...  9/11... all the way down to Seat Belt Laws.

I believe that it is time to re-focus our legislators toward the real purpose of government.  Something the UK at least noticed and decided to memorialize.  As Ben Franklin so wisely stated centuries ago, “ Those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”.  While the circumstances and context was not an exact match to the surveillance society of today, his words were absolutely on point.

The root of our declining liberty is a combination of rhetoric from politicians which instill fear and panic in the people, combined with the desires of modern day puritans who want others to live by their moral and or religious codes.

Hats off to the UK for memorializing Article 8 of the Human Rights Act.  I encourage the USA to follow suit, and stand by their associated promise to protect our liberties from our governement... fear or no fear.  We cannot stop the desires of puritans to control the personal lives of others, but we can most certainly stop the government from sanctioning their goals via legislation and enforcement. 

The time is now to take a hard look at the laws, regulations, and activities of government sponsored enforcers.  Re-evaluate the need for laws and regulations that hamper our personal liberties.  Should a crime be required to have a victim?  I think so.  My guess is that the founding fathers might have felt pretty much the same.

 I propose the following act  (only partially in jest):

Hamster wheel act of 2016

We, the people of the United States of America, hereby affirm that we will disembark from the Hamster Wheel and pay attention to how we live our lives, leaving the life choices of others that do not adversely impact our lives to them.  We require that our government perform their constitutionally promulgated responsiblities.. no more and no less.  The constitution  is re-affirmed with the caveat that there are penalties for government violations of the constitution against the people.  This includes barring any legislator or government official from violating the right of the people by either directly or indirectly disrespecting your private life, your family life, your home and your correspondence. 

It would be nice to keep them out of your business life as well...

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Liberty and Her Role in the Poll

I think this election is like almost all others in that it represents, as H.L. Mencken remarked, " advance auction of other people's property." In terms of of this election's effects on the future of healthcare freedom and free markets in health care, one choice is certainly awful and the other is quite possibly awful, so for those inclined to vote this cycle, the latter is likely a better bet. Because of this dismal choice, many will look for the first time at third party candidates, although there is no Ron Paul in this race. 

I think Jeff Deist, President of the Mises Institute, said it best in his keynote address to the Free Market Medical Association last month, when quoting Albert J. Nock, he encouraged everyone to "vote for themselves." "Present one, improved individual unit to the world," rather than place hope and faith in the failed crony leadership class of elites. Our best hope for freedom in healthcare and in general relies on our own willingness to withdraw our consent to be governed by the criminal classes. 


Keith Smith

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Suggestions: Blunt AND Constructive

I was told that I could be "very blunt" in making suggestions so here's a start.

1.  First, let me share some disappointments, and perhaps lost opportunities, as well as a suggestion to avoid more in the future.  With the campaign's permission, I asked the following to discuss a possible endorsement with Johnson or Weld: Former Assistant Secretary of State, Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell, Ted Olson, George Schultz, John Kingston, J.C. Watts, and former Governor Douglas Wilder.   Subordinates of these men, except for Wilder and Watts, responded.  All who did bluntly said their boss would not endorse.   The only one I spoke with directly was Wilkerson.  Moreover, they showed no interest in even having a conversation with Johnson or Weld or discussing the matter in any way.  What is the lesson?   If Johnson and Weld aren't doing it already, they need to make a personal approach themselves to secure such endorsements.   Relying on volunteers is problematic.   Someone like Colin Powell, not surprisingly, is not even going to consider making an endorsement unless he talks to one of the "main men."   For this reason, Johnson and Weld need to pick up the phone and make direct appeals.  Perhaps they are doing this but I saw no indication in the above cases.  In fact, I saw no indication that any of the above had even been contacted by the campaign.

2.  The campaign need to respond in a more timely matter with news releases about current events, such as Trump's call for Stop and Frisk, stating what the policies of a Johnson administration would be.   Hillary's proposed national service in exchange for debt forgiveness is another example.  Could a news release point out the comparisons to the old debtors prison?

3.  Direct approaches need to be made to the Black Lives Matter Movement.  Gary make a powerful case that libertarians offer a better choice on such issues as criminal justice reform.  An excellent way to lead off such an approach would be a news release highlighting support for an old slogan by black militants from the 1960s: " community control of police."  Neither Clinton nor Trump is saying anything similar to this but there is a rich, and radical, black tradition to draw on.  

4.  Let me stress again that any endorsement of the Basic Income Guarantee would be a terrible idea and represent a repudiation of Gary's repeated warnings about the dangers of "free stuff."  It will also drive away much conservative and libertarian potential support. BIG represents a modern version of "something for nothing" idea and, as David Henderson have noted, would also be tremendously expensive.  It also serves to undermine habits and of mutual aid and self-help.  A better way to approach the problems of the poor is to play to our tried and true libertarian strengths.  Let's emphasize the demand to  end eminent domain for private development (which is destroying poor neighborhoods), institute community control of police (as mentioned above), repeal of land use regulations which impede more affordable alternatives such as high-density housing and modular housing, and repeal  licensing laws that bar the poor from certain jobs.   The Institute for Justice has a great track record on the last issue and several very personalized examples of that kind of oppression.  

5.  The campaign needs to roll out a shadow cabinet and quickly. 

Yours truly, Phil Magness, and David Henderson and many others could also some pointers.



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Open Letter to Libertarians of all stripes everywhere

There has been much discussion regarding what Gary Johnson and Bill Weld have been saying in public, as the Libertarian Party Nominees for President and Vice President of the United States.  This election cycle has seen more interest in the Libertarian Party than any other election cycle in the history of our party’s existence! 

Is this Gary Johnson or Bill Weld making this happen?  Well, the answer to this is somewhat complicated.  The two Governors are walking a tightrope.  They are saying things in such a way so as to keep the national spotlight on their campaign, and it cannot be easy for them.  However, it is also extremely helpful to their campaign that they are running against two of the most polarizing figures in the history of US electoral Politics, and that is saying something!

The problem, as many Libertarians have been noting, is that Gary Johnson and William Weld have been saying things, publicly, that are not congruent with Libertarian Principles.  There are those within many of the various Caucuses who would like to see a motion to distance the party from the campaign.  I believe this would be a huge mistake for several reasons, but to start with, the Johnson Campaign has been listening, and has walked back those egregious statements shortly after the blow back had been called to the campaign’s attention.  One of the other reasons is what happens to the campaign AND the Libertarian Party should we apply the “nuclear option?” 

Many of us have agreed that the people, after November, will remember two things about the Libertarian Candidate:  “Fiscally Conservative, Socially Liberal.”   There may be something in some people’s minds about smoking pot, but if they remember anything at all, that is all that will be remembered, and while I get that this sentiment is bothersome to all of us, it is the reality.  If we apply the nuclear option, people will remember Libertarians as those people who shot down their own candidate after they nominated him at their convention!  How do we trust anything they stand for if they are so wishy washy that they cannot even be loyal to their own candidate?  The campaign will be destroyed, which some Libertarians may not be unhappy to see, but so would the chances of the Libertarian Party doing anything meaningful in the future, at least for another 6-8 years.   We have been working on a very long game Ladies and Gentlemen, we work to win hearts and free minds; minds which have been conditioned, in some cases, for decades!  Minds which have been conditioned by fear tactics put forth by political opportunists, and the ONLY way we can continue to do what we need to do is to take our message to the people!  Let me say this again, WE need to take our message to the people, WE DO NOT need to let Gary Johnson do the heavy lifting, and then criticize him when the message is not what we want it to be. 

Here is the call to action:   If there is a problem with the Johnson Campaign’s message, don’t tell Facebook, tell the Johnson Campaign!  They have demonstrated that they will listen if problems are presented to them.  The second part?  Libertarianism is about individual empowerment; it is about the grass roots.  Demonstrate this to the world by taking the Libertarian message EVERYWHERE!  Come to the convention in 2018 and help make the Party what we want it to be!  Finally, WE work to end Ignorance, and Fear; let’s make the world a better place for us having been here!     


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Brexit's Impact on Health Globalization

As the election campaign trundles on, it becomes even clearer that Hillary Clinton, assisted by her enabler Barack Obama, is the anti-liberty candidate, supported by Planetary-Poisoner Monsanto, and for coercive, mandatory vaccines. Only Trump is clearly opposed to mandatory vaccines. Johnson opposes Federal mandatory vaccines but waffles on State and local vaccine mandates. This is troubling. Fortunately, both of the latter oppose the CDC's newly announced stance on detentions for mandatory vaccines at the CDC's discretion, an act that is clearly criminal.

Global harmonization is finally meeting stiff opposition on a political level with BREXIT and people awakening to the dangers of TPP and other managed-trade agreements masquerading as "free-trade" agreements. We are at the tipping point and only time will tell which will prevail.

Scott Tipps

President of National Health Federation

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Freedom and Toleration: You Can't Have One Without the Other

So, why did the German people acquiesce to Nazism? Why did so many of the population willingly turn in Jews or dissidents to the Gestapo or the police?

Everyone assumes that it was terror, that Nazis intimidated people. Hitler himself, after 10 years in power, said "One can not rule by force alone."

In reality the Nazis were often terrified of public opinion. When people expressed outrage at the involuntary euthanasia of the retard or mentally ill the National Socialist regime backed down. When the White Rose students were caught the Nazis rushed them to judgment and executed them before the public could even find out. The parents didn't even know they were on trial until the day of the trial—four days after their arrest. (See Noble Treason, by Richard Hanser) The regime was frantic that resistance could be indicative of a wider anti-Nazi movement. In Denmark (see Countrymen by Bo Lindegaard) resistance by the Danish government and population got the Nazis to pull back. One reason the Jews of Denmark escaped was that the Nazis regime was worried that any real effort to round them up would destroy their most important illusion—that National Socialism was popular and widely accepted. When the Nazis tried to round up the Jews of Berlin with "Aryan" wives (most of the spouses were German women married to Jewish men) the wives gathered outside the center where the men were being held and protested. The Nazis tried to hide the protests by shutting down public transit in the area, but after seven days they gave in and released the men—even to the point of returning several who had already been sent to Auschwitz. Most of these men, and a few women and children, survived the war.

Nazis used intimidation on open dissidents and troublemakers only, not the general public. The public, however, were heavily paid off by the government. (See Hitler's Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War and the Nazi Welfare State by Gotz Aly) First, Jewish owned businesses and wealth was plundered and redistributed to the German public. Then the Nazis plundered the nations they occupied, using the proceeds to win the favor of the German public.

Some want to pretend it was a "Keynesian" solution that caused German "prosperity" after Hitler took over. Not so. It was stealing massive amounts of wealth and redistributing it within Germany itself. Of course, you can rely on stolen bounty for only so long before it too runs out. A lot of Hitler's popularity was purchased by a welfare state.

But, another important tool of control was to change cultural values in Germany. Reinhard Heydrich, who was a key figure in the "Final Solution" said "The control of the Jews through the watchful eye of the whole population is better than having him by the thousands in a district where I cannot properly establish a control over his daily life through uniformed agents."

The Nazis used various cultural values held by the population to stay in power. Consider the anti-Semitism of Germany. First, the Catholic Church had pushed anti-Semitic images for centuries. Martin Luther's reformationists were even worse with Luther himself penning a virulent anti-Jewish tract for the public. The far Right in Germany hated the Jews but so did the Marxists. Marx claimed capitalism was Jewish in nature and the Jewish exploiter and the capitalist exploiter were one and the same. (See Capitalism and the Jews by Jerry Muller) Hitler didn't create hatred for the Jews, he used a pre-existing hatred but exaggerated it.

The Nazis used fear of exploitation of young girls by evil, perverted Jews using the foundation laid by Catholicism, Luther and Marx. As Nathan Stoltzfus points out in Resistance of the Heart: Intermarriage and the Rosenstrasse Protest in Nazi Germany, these beliefs meant that people started reporting Jews for dating gentiles long before the Nazi state tried to end intermarriage. The Nazis set up a complex system of rewards and punishments to make it unacceptable to intermarry and the general public became willing accomplices because they believed the values the Nazis held.

Cultural values are critical in a free society. The paleo-conservatives dismiss liberal values in our society, arguing against a libertarianism which emphasizes culture and liberal moral values. They want us to believe that intolerance is conducive to a free society "just as long as they don't initiate force." Of course, they are deluded to think hateful values won't lead to the initiation of force. It will be justified as a form of self defense. They are protecting the children, or putting an end to shameful exploitation, or preventing the defilement of the race, but they will get there eventually.

Cultural values ultimately determine the direction of the society. Ayn Rand argued that such values determine the politics of a nation. It isn't that politics determine values, but values determine politics. She had confidence in the American public at large because she felt they ultimately clung to values of tolerance and liberty. (Intellectuals she wasn't so sure about, but the "masses" in America she held in very high regard—contrary to the image portrayed by people who don't understand her, or hate her.)

A couple of years ago in a lecture, I said:

"Individuals live in a cultural bubble that surrounds them. Like it or not, it inhibits how people behave. Remove the cultural inhibitions and people act on their prejudices. When certain levels of intolerance are achieved within a culture restraints disappear and people begin acting on their hatreds. Values matter. A culture that believes that women are inferior will deny women equality of rights. A society that believes that homosexuals are a threat will persecute homosexuals. A culture that fears foreigners will impose barriers to immigrants. Actions follow values.” That’s really it—actions follow values. They always have and they always will.


James Peron is the President of the Moorfield Storey Institute. 

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Health Care, Fairness, and Regaining Our Freedom

The growing evidence-based consensus on Obamacare is that it is unworkable.  It has failed in its primary objective of making insurance affordable and used by all, while at the same time it worsens or destroys the healthcare and insurance of those it should have left alone.  Total enrollment is only half the 22 million that the Congressional Budget Office promised three years ago for 2016; all five of the largest insurance companies say they are losing money on their Obamacare policies;1  three of these have announced they are reducing participation in the Obamacare exchanges; other insurance companies have left the insurance pools, and premiums nationwide are up more than they would have been in the absence of Obamacare.  Going forward, 2017 premium increases are scheduled to be 58 percent in some places and are expected to average 23 percent!2  Worst of all is that Americans, who love freedom, are being subjected to some of the most oppressive interferences into their private lives ever. 

Documenting the failures and inconsistencies of Obamacare would take many pages.  In contradiction of the Pollyannaish pronouncements claiming victory by its supporters, the facts are that 70 significant defects in the legislation have already had to be legally changed, altered by the Supreme Court, or even illegally ignored by the President.3  This includes, for example, annulling the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program for government-subsidized insurance, which Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) dubbed a “Ponzi scheme of the first order.”  However, if Hillary Clinton is not elected president in November, if Democrats control neither the House nor the Senate, and if the 60-vote supermajority cloture rule is wisely jettisoned by the Senate, the US will have its best possibility to fix the problems of health care going forward.  What should we do?

In what follows I provide a rationale, a fairness principle that everyone should be able to support, and an application of it to a glaring health care problem. 

The rationale:  Start from the obvious truth that any policy which for its success requires people to do what is against their own interest is not as good as policy that benefits everyone.  Good policy is analogous to setting fair rules of the game.  Fair rules prevent cheating and incentivize all contestants to play the game to the fullest on their own behalf.  Bad policy advantages some by stripping advantages from others. 

The principle:  The fairness principle that follows is that a public program should be designed so that every citizen receives fully what they pay for, and pays fully for what they receive unless what is under consideration is charity, and charity is reserved to voluntary private organizations and individuals in the private sector.  Government, of course, can assist the function of voluntary private organizations and individuals in various ways that are consistent with the principle.  Notice that a marketplace satisfies the fairness principle automatically.  If you pay for three eggs, you get three eggs, and if you want two eggs you pay for two eggs.  In insurance contexts, the principle would imply that actuarial fairness needs to apply to all age groups and both sexes. 

The healthcare application:  Obamacare provisions should be replaced with ones that align with the fairness principle.  A number of changes follow, the first of which is described below because it speaks directly to the most prominent objective stated for Obamacare, which was incentivizing everyone to hold health insurance.  As it now stands, that incentive is absent.

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) should be rewritten so that emergency care for the episode in question must be administered regardless of ability to pay at the time as is the case now, but

  • provision be made for tracking non-paying recipients into the future so those who can pay back in the future are required to do so, and
  • prices charged for EMTALA-based care may not exceed the best prices charged by the supplier to the most favored of its customers.  I.e. the prices non-paying recipients are required to pay out of their future resources must match the lowest offered by the supplier to anyone else.

There are various ways that government can be helpful to the tracking process.

These small changes satisfy the principle, but do what Obamacare does not do.  They create the right intertemporal motivation so that everyone will have the incentive to be insured, but without the freedom-destroying mandates of Obamacare.  It is a short step to extend the principle to deal with the temporary need for help with insurance that will be paid back by those who may need to be tracked to make future payment.  Those who do not need subsidies or credits are left entirely alone to pursue health care and health care insurance (both are private goods which are the proper sphere for us to provide for ourselves) in competitive actuarially fair private markets that are personally responsive to us, satisfy the fairness principle, keep costs low, and restore freedom to we the people.

Earl L. Grinols

Distinguished Professor of Economics

Hankamer School of Business, Foster  320.13
Baylor University


1. Greg Ip, The Unstable Economics in Obama’s Health Law, The Wall Street Journal, 17August 2016,

2., “The 2017 Requested Rate Hike Challenge!! (currently: 23.3% across all 50 states + DC)”, 13 May 2016.

3. Grace-Marie Turner, 70 Changes That Make Obamacare a Very Different Law than Congress Passed, Forbes, 26 January 2016,

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