Governor Wolf’s Medical Supply Confiscation / Reallocation Order is Bad Economics

Reading yesterday about Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s order issued Wednesday allowing for the confiscation and redistribution of medical supplies, and stewing over it for some time has me convinced that it is tremendously bad policy, counter to all concepts of property rights, and likely to be counterproductive.

In thinking about this problem, I have identified some main points I would wish to address about this order:

The principle: It is a violation of private property rights, the cornerstone of our free economy. Further erosion of this essential principle would cause irreparable harm to our economy and way of life.

The knowledge problem: The state government is nowhere near knowledgeable enough to be able to quickly and efficiently identify where medical supplies are needed most. This is a problem properly in the scope of markets, not central planners.

The potential for abuse and unintended consequences: While the Governor and his advocates insist that this policy is not intended to strip rural areas of lifesaving supplies in an attempt to save more lives in areas hit harder by the disease, there is tremendous potential for abuse.

The seen and the unseen: While we may see what look like improvements in the abilities of areas with higher population densities to treat cases, we will not see (at least at first), the extent to which this may cripple the rural response ability. This order may have the effect of essentially making it impossible for rural or remote hospitals to procure any new supplies at all in the near term. They will need to wait needlessly for government bureaucrats’ approval of their needs before procuring needed supplies. We will not see (at first) the effects of this order on the treatment of other conditions, which may be precluded by the unavailability of medical consumables and devices that are needed to treat patients with chronic diseases such as cancer, and heart/lung conditions.

The slippery slope: Orders like this smack of old Soviet-style allocation and rationing, which would be disastrous policies to adopt. In the event that such a policy were even moderately successful, or at least not a complete failure, in this pandemic situation, it could lead to very dangerous precedent being set in our modern economy.

Of course these are not the only points that could be raised, such as the arbitrary indexing of any compensation to material prices dated March 6, but they are the main ones that come to me.

Right Wing Tank Work

Today I spent a lot of time deburring and dimpling the right wing tank skin, stiffeners, and associated parts. I also found that the DRDT-2 works better for screw hole dimpling than the pneumatic squeezer did, so I ran the left wing tank skin back through the screw hole dimpling process, and the holes now look much crisper.

I also got a very nice surprise when Mom and Tim showed up unannounced for a visit and gave me a great little chest that Tim made for me in his wood shop. I’m going to come up with a good use for it that will not damage it. Tim said I should keep it in the workshop but I want to make sure I don’t get it dirty or scratched or damaged in other ways. It really is a nice piece of craftsmanship!

It is made of wormy chestnut, which is really pretty. I think it is finished only with linseed oil. The aroma is very nice, and I like the natural finish.

He even signed and dedicated it!

Something is Gained in Translation

I stopped at a convenience store this morning to get some snacks. I wondered what the marketing folks were trying to tell me about their product. Since I don’t read Japanese, I turned to Google Translate’s handy photo translation capability.

First Product, Chocolate covered puffed wheat:

Google Translate:

Wheat chocolate It is fragrant and nostalgic taste. It is a snack that stops when you eat.

Uh huh.
Second product, Squid Jerky:

Google Translate:

I baked about Kanamekara firmly. The taste spreads in the garbage mouth 16 g

You don’t say!

brief update

I’ve been spending time this summer getting the workshop ready to go so I don’t freeze my butt off working on the RV-10 in the winter.  Pics will follow once I’m substantially complete.

Also I have been working on finishing up the instrument rating.  Once I have that in my pocket and the workshop is ready to go, it should be full steam ahead on the RV-10 construction (I expect some interruption in productivity due to the expected release of Fallout 4 in November).