When government does things better than private enterprise

Source: Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, December 11, 2012

The government’s scale and ability to look beyond narrow self-interest make its involvement in many programs the smart choice. Medicare is a prime example….

…Here’s a rule of thumb to consider for when government should take a role in providing a service: When it’s cheaper.

That doesn’t mean cheaper merely in a narrow sense, such as cheaper at the cash register, or for some people rather than others. Government can always achieve that end simply by subsidizing things by fiat. Congress could cut the cost of tablet computers simply by deciding to subsidize every household’s purchase by, say, $50 or $100. The same thing goes for dishwashers, or fine crystal.

Rather, it means cheaper for the economy or society at large….

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