An editorial in today's New York Times about health care complains that "Too many people are being hit with relentlessly rising premiums." It cites a Kaiser study that found "the average premium for a family policy offered at work rose above $13,300 in 2009 — up from $5,800 in 1999." The Times insisted "ways must be found to slow the rise in health care costs."
It was enough to make me wonder about another cost that might be described as relentlessly rising: the cover price of a single copy of the New York Times purchased at a newsstand in New York City. For most of 1999 the price of the Times on a New York City newsstand was 60 cents. Today, in 2009, it's $2. That's a 233% increase that outpaces the 229% increase in family health insurance premiums over the same period that the Times is so worked up about. It may be safer to go without reading the Times than it is to go without health insurance. If you can't afford the cover price of the Times, you can read it at the library for free, just like the poor can go to a public hospital emergency room or go on Medicaid. But, strangely enough, you don't see the Times calling for government action to protect consumers and families from the relentlessly rising prices being charged by those greedy, rapacious newspaper publishers.