Imagine if grocery shopping worked like health insurance. Let’s call it “food insurance”.
First of all, you’d better hope that you’re not self-employed or unemployed. You see, way back in World War II the United States created strict wage controls as part of theStabilization Act of 1942. Since employers still wanted to compete for the best employees–even in wartime–they had to get creative. Instead of offering higher salaries (which was now illegal), they began to offer fringe benefits. The most important of these was healthcare insurance. Let’s pretend that food insurance started in the same way. That would mean that, today, if you get your food insurance through an employer-provided plan you not only get a nice tax advantage on your own premiums, but you can also rely on the employer to pay some of your costs as a matter of traditional expectations. But if you’re self-employed, you not only lose the tax-advantage, but also the ability to get the lower rates that come with buying insurance for bigger groups.
Now let’s imagine what actually shopping for groceries would look like.
One thing Nathaniel left out is the cost of our legal system, which is significant. Adopting the “English Rule” (loser pays legal fees) would be a major step in the right direction.