September 11, 2009

You know just how crazy Ann Coulter's worldview is getting when Bill O'Reilly serves as an honest-to-God voice of sanity in dealing with her proposals for how to reform health care, as she laid them out on The O'Reilly Factor on Thursday.

Coulter, who's evidently just wrapped up another genuflecting session before the altar of Ayn Rand, thinks the whole problem could be solved just by doing away with state regulations and "opening up competition," at which point "every problem would go away":

O'Reilly: But every problem wouldn't go away. The one thing that I would like to see the federal government do is strict oversight on the insurance companies when they hose people. I mean, I don't think they should be throwing you, Ann Coulter, off the rolls if, God forbid, you get MS or something.

Coulter: That will not happen. But Bill, that will not happen under competition. Look -- [Crosstalk] -- no, no, let me make this point. No it will not. The government was regulating, the SEC was closely watching Bernie Madoff. Government regulation doesn't stop that sort of thing. What stops it is, people knowing you're investing with this guy at your own risk, and then all these private organization develop. Competition is what enforces that.

O'Reilly: Yeah, well, I don't believe that. I think competition can drive the prices down, but it cannot make an insurance company honest. Only a federal oversight committee that says if you don't do it, we fine you.

Coulter: Yes it can. Yes it can. Otherwise, what about the SEC with Bernie Madoff?

O'Reilly: No, Bernie Madoff got away with it because the SEC, under a Republican, Christopher Cox, simply wouldn't investigate him. That's why he got away with it.

Coulter: That's the government regulation! Why do you keep thinking a different regulator will be better? Government regulation does not solve these problems, competition does.

Because if I belonged to a health-insurance company that threw me off when I got sick, people would hear about it. There would be magazine articles. And I don't mean to be me, I mean people --

She's really been drinking the Randian capitalist kool-aid, hasn't she? Hell, people get thrown off their insurance when they get sick all the freaking time and there sure as hell aren't magazine articles about it.

But the Madoff analogy really takes the cake. O'Reilly, as we noted, is sensible about this: The SEC failed in its regulatory capacity precisely because it was under the guidance of a Republican who didn't believe in regulatory oversight!

Coulter subscribes to a philosophy which argues that less government regulation makes for better competition which in turn enforces honesty and ethical behavior. But when in fact it's demonstrated that such governance produces outrageously (not to mention criminally) dishonest behavior, she blames not the practitioners who gutted that oversight for its then-predictable failures, but rather the entire concept of oversight itself.

It's a classic tautology: Let's gut government oversight so that when it fails, we can blame it, thereby creating an excuse to do away with it altogether.

It's also, of course, the kind of completely insane thinking that has dominated movement conservatism in recent years. And a large part of the reason we have Bernie Madoffs and AIGs in the first damned place.

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