Words are used ... to conceal reality. "Goods" is one of those words ... "Bads" are beginning to be recognized, even by economists, as something we should subtract from our goods in calculating where we stand. "Nones" are less well known. A none is something of no value we are forced to buy. Professionals specialize in nones. The purest example is perhaps the requirement in some states that all corpses, even those to be cremated, must be embalmed: it does not good, it does no harm, it simply transfers some money from survivors to undertakers. Government is a might producer of nones.
Some government agencies pass their time administering themselves without doing any good or even harm to the public; debate about those agencies frequently centers on how well they do their jobs rather than on whether the job is worth doing. The military industries of course provide the most colossal examples of the type: a nuclear aircraft carrier, in the unlikely event it is used, is a good or a bad, depending on your point of view; most likely, however, it will rust peacefully away, as a billion-dollar none.
As he reached out to punch the clock that would meter his bill ... the lawyer could reflect that his profession was doing as well as any this side of organized medicine. The medical analogy intruded itself ever more insistently. Lawyers began asking whether prepaid might be the M&M of their profession. M&M: that's not the candy, it's Medicare and Medicaid, and the sweet rewards those programs have brought to the health industry. M&M, and before them Blue Cross, had successfully severed the link between patronizing the professional and paying the bill.
If the third party principle is working right, the source of the money will be so muddied that it will be clear that no one is paying--but that of course means everyone, so the average man will once again receive the bill.