Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ralph Shnelvar on Government Commissions

The August 14, 2007 Boulder Daily Camera printed an OpEd by Ralph Shnelvar criticizing some biased methodologies of government commissions. It includes the following analysis of the 208 Commission:
...Another strategy is to charter a commission, but to a) formulate the rules so that a certain conclusion must be reached, and b) pack the commission with your cronies. This is the strategy that was used in Colorado to charter the so-called 208 Commission, which is foreordained to recommend vastly expanded government participation in the healthcare sector.

Unlike most other perfunctory commissions, the foregone recommendations that the 208 Commission will present will do severe damage to Colorado. Let me draw an analogy. Imagine that the year is 1900, and the government is interested in flying people between the Americas and Europe. A Regional Transatlantic Development commission is chartered to investigate "Lighter-than-air craft capable of transatlantic crossings."

It is, of course, packed with representatives of balloon manufacturers, the people least qualified to come up with innovative solutions. You immediately see the problem. Airplanes are left out of any possible solution recommended by the RTD. Of course, RTD will recommend further public funding into dirigibles and blimps, and will state that these are the only feasible solutions to getting people to Europe by air. The next step would be to mandate that only lighter-than-air devices are legal, since they are the only ones deemed to be safe.

It has been my experience in politics over the last few years that this technique of blindsiding the voters by eliminating options early on has become far more prevalent. I've now seen this done over and over again, so that the outcome is guaranteed before any real debate is possible.

...At the state level, the constraints placed on the 208 Commission are such that only massive government intervention that will cause health care rationing, and lower quality for everyone is a possible outcome. The free market solution is completely impossible under 208's mandate. It is, of course, only a free market solution that can truly expand health care opportunities for all Coloradans.