The worst reason to build a hospital

The Rio Grande Foundation has been involved in ongoing discussions over whether or not to expand UNM Hospital. Over the weekend, the new President of UNM had an article in the Albuquerque Journal outlining why he believes the hospital expansion is needed.

Color me unimpressed. Rather than basing his arguments on the supposed shortage of hospital beds and the need for the hospital to build yet another hospital in order to serve the community, Frank chooses to focus on the supposed economic impact and “multiplier” impact of the hospital’s construction. To say the least, this is an argument that we take issue with. Frank’s argument is straight out of the Keynesian economic cookbook which becomes more discredited as every day goes by. After all, is it really more beneficial to the overall economy to tax people to the tune of $146 million to build a hospital or to leave that $146 million in the pockets of average citizens. You may see the hospital, but what is left unseen is what average citizens would do with the money if left to their own devices. Of course, advocates of bigger government always side with higher taxes and more spending.

As the New Mexico Board of Finance considers this hospital expansion, it needs to base its decision on whether the expansion is the highest and best use of taxpayer dollars, not some discredited economic theory that would just as soon allocate resources to fight off an alien attack.

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