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Goods versus rights

Posted: May 6, 2010 12:01 p.m.
Updated: May 7, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
As I read Nancy Gauthier's letter to the editor today ("You're welcome," April 25), one word struck me: Right.

She wrote: "Millions of Americans have been shut out of the right to have basic health care."

I think people need to know the basic difference between a right and a good (as in goods and services). The litmus test goes something like this: If it costs you money, it is a good, such as lawn care, child care, dental care or health care.

If it is a right, it costs you nothing. The right to speak freely costs you nothing; costs me nothing.

The right to speak freely is at no cost to you or me. The right to assemble is the same. The right to pursue happiness is at no cost to you or me.

The way we know that health care is a good, and not a right, is that your health care will cost me money.

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