John Goodman on Justice
By David Henderson
A few days ago, I posted on a John Goodman post in which he asserted that he knows of no theory of justice that would imply that the Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare, is a good idea. There followed a lively discussion on Goodman’s site. One of the discussants who often chimes in was Princeton University health economist Uwe Reinhardt. Professor Reinhardt wrote:
In our capacity of economist, we have nothing to say about the morality of public policy.
As citizens, of course, we can comment on morality as it derives from whatever theory of justice we favor.
There is no overarching theory of justice. Here as elsewhere, it is a matter of consumer choice.
I agree with Uwe Reinhardt’s statements. But notice that he avoided the issue that John Goodman raised. John was granting that there’s no one theory of justice that everyone agrees with, which is what I assume Uwe meant by “no overarching theory of justice.” But John was going beyond that and challenging people to give a theory of justice that would imply the particular elements of ObamaCare, some of which he identified in his post. So far, neither Reinhardt or any of the other people who have commented on John’s post have tried to do it. Instead, they name specific things that they find unjust pre-ObamaCare and simply assume that ObamaCare fixes those things and doesn’t do any things that they would think are unjust. But they’re just assuming. They aren’t examining the details and they aren’t making an argument.