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Friday, July 08, 2005

government vs. public health

Krugman's "Free to Choose Obesity?" is the second in an ongoing series on obesity. First off, don't you love the title and the way he uses scare quotes around the phrase "free to choose" in the body of the column? Krugman's sooooooooo much smarter than that dumb Milton Friedman, who used that phrase so famously. I used to like Krugman as a writer but I've developed a pet theory on why he's gone downhill so much: the further he strays from his speciality, international trade, the dumber he sounds. He ends today's column with this jaw dropper:
Above all, we need to put aside our anti-government prejudices and realize that the history of government interventions on behalf of public health, from the construction of sewer systems to the campaign against smoking, is one of consistent, life-enhancing success. Obesity is America's fastest-growing health problem; let's do something about it.
Where to begin? Did alcohol prohibition count as a public health measure? Was that a success? Also, I guess the good professor is unaware of the numerous studies that show that FDA regulation costs far more lives than it saves. He should check out FDAReview.org for some tips. That's just two examples off the top of my head but why let facts get in the way of a good rant, eh?

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