April 3, 2008

the flexible economy

Mobility is down 27% year to year, likely due to the housing bust: people can't move if they can't sell their homes, and are much less likely to move if they can't get more for the homes than they owe. In economic hard times, it makes it even harder for people to get work.

Here's the thing. Constraints on mobility and innovation are also long-standing results of our health insurance system. Fear of being unable to get or afford health insurance is one of the biggest existing deterrents to starting a small business, free-lancing, or otherwise innovating in ways that free-market economic principles would seem to support. I don't understand why universal (preferably single-payer) health insurance isn't the single biggest issue for the Chamber of Commerce and every small-business organization out there, as well as for anyone who has ever considered starting a business or has free-lancing skills.

Big corporations should be in on it too, seeing as their competition throughout the industrialized world already gets the huge subsidy of paid-for employee health insurance. They have to pay taxes for it, yes, but, unlike health insurance, that's a predictable expense that grows fairly slowly.

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