“Free Contraception:” The Left Once Again Ignores the Law of Unintended Consequences
Democrats love to promise people things and blame Republicans for that thing not being available. The latest thing being promised is contraception.
A question the contraception-promising Democrats should ask themselves before they legislate free contraceptives for all is: if contraceptives are free and those who produce them have to do so for no cost and derive no profit from their product’s manufacture and distribution, who’s going to make it?
No one does anything in the free market without profiting from their effort, so why would anyone make anything that the government tells them to make without making a profit? The liberals who are on the vanguard of this issue will tell us that the manufacturers will continue to get paid by the taxpayers who fund the government, but how long will this last? Or as liberals love to ask: how will this be sustainable? Eventually, those in charge of the government will accuse the producers of these products of fleecing the taxpayers. Think it can’t happen? Look at the petroleum industry. Currently the biggest profiteer from a gallon of gasoline is the federal government but this “windfall” profit that the government gets for doing nothing does not prevent politicians from constantly accusing the oil companies of reaping “windfall” profits. The fact is that an oil company makes 9 cents of profit per gallon of gas after doing all the work to extract, refine, and distribute the final product to you and me. The U.S. Federal government makes 37 cents per gallon of gas in profit from doing nothing but leveling that 37 cent-per-gallon federal gasoline tax on each gallon sold. So who’s doing the “windfalling?”
When upstart politicians trying to get their names in the news talk about leveling “windfall” profit taxes on oil companies in order to pad the government’s already existing oil tax base, the oil companies are only incentivized to do one thing: sell less gas.
Let’s now apply the same incentive principle to contraception. Does one actually believe a politician someday won’t “investigate” how much a drug company or condom company is making in profits from the subsidies that are paid them by the government to supply birth control pills or latex condoms to all the people who use them? What happens when the government, in an austerity measure or due to legal action, stops paying the amount of money to these companies needed for them to produce and distribute their products? Does anyone really believe they will continue to do so? Of course not. The only eventual outcome will be that these products will totally disappear from the marketplace. At that point, rest assured, the same politicians who demanded that these products be made available to the public “for free” will blame the companies that no longer make them and their political opponents for the products’ absence.
The other possible result is that once the companies that currently produce these products stop doing so, the government itself will step in to do it. This never ends well because when the government does something the private sector can and should do, the first thing that suffers is quality and the second is safety. Fine, have the government make our condoms and birth control pills, but who will be held accountable when the condom proves to be leaky and the birth control pills cause permanent sterility? The answer is no one because the politicians who created this mess will have long since retired.
How ironic then that the very people blaming their political opponents for “denying” safe and reliable contraception to women will be the ones who are actually denying, over the long term, safe and reliable contraception to women.