Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Obamacare, The Mythical Man-Month and The Forgotten Man

First, let me say that I'm not opposed to making health care available to those who need it.  Any opposition I have is more related to two ideas: “The Mythical Man Month” and “The Forgotten Man”.

The Mythical Man-Month

The Mythical Man-Month is a book written by Fred Brooks in 1975 about software engineering projects.  It’s actually quite relevant to the “glitches” with the HealthCare.gov website for signing up for the Affordable Care act.  This book introduces “Brook’s law”:
Adding more people to a late software project makes it later
The idea introduced yesterday that we are going to add the best and brightest people to fix HealthCare.gov shows me the naivety of the government regarding principles that have been known in the industry for 40 years.  See my post “Why Can't Nine Women have a baby in one month?” for technical details.

The Forgotten Man

This is simply stated as “Person A sees a person B who is suffering.  Person A passes a law to help person B.  The law demands that person C provides help to person B.  Person A claims credit for making things better.  Person B’s plight is lifted.  But person C, who works hard, pays their taxes, is a good neighbor, cares for their family, etc. is never thought of – he is the forgotten man. (Sumner’s Forgotten Man).

In conclusion, I see a government, in a genuine attempt to help, take something complicated, make it more complicated and inefficient, and then get innocent hard working people to pay for it.  I hope I’m wrong.    

Update:
Builders of Obama's health website saw red flags


1 comment:

Unknown said...

The Forgotten Man was also the basis and title of a fairly recent, very good book about the Great Depression by Amity Shlaes; highly recommended. Ms. Shlaes has also just published a biography of Calvin Coolidge.