Friday, February 12, 2010

Harry Reid: Dog bites man

This is an actual quote from the Senate minority leader: "Greedy insurance companies care about more about profits than people." Has there ever been a more banal statement from a public figure? Corporations always seek to maximize profits to satisfy their shareholders; what else should we expect? To talk of corporate "greed" is redundant; it reminds me of someone who told me in June it would be a hot summer. It is known in logic as a tautology–a statement that needlessly repeats an idea. (Example: politician X lies because he so seldom tells the truth).

The constant demonization of the insurance companies is a failure to understand a common principle in pychology known as the fundamental attribution error. According to this concept, people tend to wrongly blame bad behavior on a person or organization rather than to the situation or circumstances. (Go to 36:49 on this video for an excellent explanation). As the speaker points out, the structure of our health care system encourages the insurance companies to act they way they do. Insurance companies in Europe that are regulated differently do not act irresponsibly, because the system encourages responsible behavior. This is what politicians should be discussing, but it's much easier intellectually to resort to meaningless statements like "greedy health insurance companies."


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Jack Davis said...

You're welcome. Hope you got an A!