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More broadly, I believe that government assistance should always be based on need;Right. And everyone should pay the full cost of attending public school unless they are poor enough to qualify for tuition assistance. And everyone should pay the full cost of each use of public roads unless they are poor enough to qualify for road toll assistance.When the government provides certain basic services for free it sets a tone. It sets the tone that certain things are important enough that everyone should have access to them regardless of who they are or what their circumstances are. More broadly, it sets the tone that the United States is a community where people care about each other and help each other even when it is not purely in their own self interest.If some rich person can't get their Escalade started and needs to take the public bus to evacuate before a hurricane, I would prefer that the United States send the message that it cares about the safety of all US citizens and give the rich person a free bus ride.On the other hand, unless the US government is going to build luxury beach front vacation homes for every poor person who loses their home in a hurricane, I see no need to for the US government to (re)build luxury beach front vacation homes for rich people.I don't mind if rich people get the same government assistance that poor people get but I do mind if rich people get government assistance that poor people are not able to get. The right solution is not to make government assistance need based but instead to make it equally available to everyone.


not really


not really, there is a 'spill over effect' from people who are not self-sufficient to hospitals a la mental ward.

also, are nursing home residents not extremely dependent?

Jack Sprat

POSNER: Suppose all the states joined the compact; then we are speaking of another federal government, in effect, so what would have been gained?

Cleverly, but irrelevantly, the above quote defeats the point of a regional compact.

Regional compacts work when the only states involved are those affected by the relevant problem. The transaction costs that come into play in coordinating action between all 50 states would not be an issue, because all 50 states would not be involved. Involving all 50 states would indeed reproduce the Articles of Confederation, but that would not be a regional compact: it would be a national compact.

Part of the appeal of a regional compact is the lowered transaction costs: if the only states affected are States A, B, and C, taking a bill to Congress subjects it to being loaded down with pork from States H, J, and K. Then you end up with our current energy bill, instead of Governor Pataki's nuclear power compact. Are we supposed to believe that our current engery policy is the most efficient solution to our energy dependence problems?


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Rob Stewart

Posner argues with an uncharacteristic level of certitude that an increase of skilled workers will lower wages for individuals in the specific field. I wouldn't be so "sure" about this. H1 Visa's require "sponsorship" by individual companies, and a painful process of paperwork, regulations, and government ineptitude. Many times, permanent sponsorship can only be gained when one has worked for the same company for an extended period of time, so the worker becomes an indentured servant of sort incapable of bargaining for better wages. The paperwork and regulations donít allow for a smooth movement of workers and a traditional market-clearing price. Wages in fields that cater to highly skilled foreigners are lowered by these ìtransaction costsî, and an elimination of these costs as suggested by Posner would likely increase these wages, not decrease them as Posner suggests. As an American PhD working in one of these fields, I welcome Posnerís suggestion because I believe that my wages would go up.

Reverend Bayes

Has anyone else noticed the uncanny resemblance between Becker and Senator Palpatine from Star Wars? Perhaps I am the only one....


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