The Opportunity Costs of Capitalism

The White House has released a booklet called “The Opportunity Costs of Socialism,” and it purports to show that wait times under socialist health care systems are far higher than they are in the good ol’ capitalist USA. However, as Sarah Kliff hilariously points out, the folks who put this together used data for senior citizens, all of whom are part of Medicare in the United States. And as we all know, Medicare is a socialist health care system:

This looks like a great case for Medicare for All! And while we’re on the subject, here are a couple of charts to show the opportunity costs of capitalism as well. First, our health care system kills an awful lot of people:

And we spend a helluva lot of money to kill them:

Since I am neither Donald Trump nor a Republican, I will add that there are lots of other measures of health care effectiveness, and the United States does very well on some of them. The truth is that all the health care systems in advanced countries have both good and bad points, and it’s actually pretty difficult to judge them on an overall basis. If you do, the US is usually in the top third or so, but not at the very top.

But there’s one thing we can say for sure: we really do spend a ton of money to maintain a health care system that’s (a) good but not great, (b) fantastically complicated, error-prone, and likely to overcharge, and (c) covers only about 90 percent of the country. I’m a capitalist, not a socialist, but like it or not, capitalism has its opportunity costs too.

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

Straight to the point: Donations have been concerningly slow for our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, over the next few weeks so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

Straight to the point: Donations have been concerningly slow for our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, over the next few weeks so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate