"The Donald" Tells a Story

by JOHN C. WOHLSTETTER October 24, 2013


We learn why O-Care roll-out crashed & burned....

Last night Donald Trump, the honoree at TAS's annual Robert L. Bartley dinner (RLB was the legendary Wall Street Journal editorial page guru for three decades), told an anecdote that explains why governments mess up so often.  During the mayoralty of Ed Koch the city tried to renovate Wollman's skating rink, a legendary Central Park facility defunct since 1980.  After six years and $12 million the project had gone nowhere.

Trump to the rescue: He tells Koch that he will finish the project in six months and guarantees to cover any cost above $3 million.  Koch accepts in June 1986 and the rest is history.  Trump completes the task in 3-1/2 months, at a cost of $2-1/4 million.  The rink turned a record profit, which was donated by Trump to various public works projects and private charities.

The core problem the city couldn't address was the artificial ice.  The city had contracted with--get this--a Miami firm.  The firm's solution used Freon gas as a coolant.  As soon as the ice was punctured anywhere the gas escaped.

The Donald had a better idea: he called the Montreal Canadians and the rest, as they say, is history.  Which solidified Trump's growing public reputation as a guy who could get things done.   And which explains why governments are often so utterly incompetent.

Bottom Line.  Now you know why the ObamaCare roll-out was such a disaster.  And why a market-based health care system very likely would be far superior.

As legendary regulatory economist Alfred Kahn famously said, markets do not have to work very well to work better than regulation.

Mr. Wohlstetter is the author of "Sleepwalking With the Bomb" (Discovery Institute Press, 2012). Follow John on twitter at @JohnWohlstetter 

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