January 12, 2005

Orthodontists' cartel


Why isn't this a political issue? Orthodontists are incredibly overpaid for an easy job (no late night phone calls). A reader explains:

Regarding your post entitled "What's the deal with orthodontists?"-- my understanding of the situation is that Orthodontistry schools keep a stranglehold on high prices by only admitting the top 1 (or some such number) % of Dentistry school graduates, thus ensuring that the number of orthodontists available is less than the market's demand for their services. That's what the studious dental student husband of a friend of mine told me, at least.

Apparently, only 280 orthodontists are allowed to graduate every year, or less than one per million Americans (I don't know how many retire each year, but the net increase in orthodontists must be much lower). Further, the cartel may persecute inventors who devise new labor-saving (and thus income-reducing) braces, as was argued in the case of Viazis v. American Association of Orthodontists.

The cost of the orthodontists' cartel per American family is huge: Let's guesstimate that half of American kids get braces at an average cost of $3,000 each, of which 50% is a premium extorted by the cartel. So, the typical American family with two kids is being ripped off to the tune of $1,500 each. (Even if your insurance pays for it, you are still paying in reduced wages.)

Yet, nobody cares. Why not?

Steve Sailer's homepage and blog is iSteve.com

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