Pressing the Reset Button
Matt Emerson writes in a comment on Eric’s post about Goldman Sachs:
I find it revealing that neither Commonweal nor America bloggers have seen fit to address the CBO’s analysis of the Democrats’ proposed healthcare legislation.
A snippet from today’s Washington Post article:
“Congress’s chief budget analyst delivered a devastating assessment yesterday of the health-care proposals drafted by congressional Democrats, fueling an insurrection among fiscal conservatives in the House and pushing negotiators in the Senate to redouble efforts to draw up a new plan that more effectively restrains federal spending.”
I don’t pretend to any expertise in economics, but I was struck by an op-ed piece in today’s Wall Street Journal from a former aid to Hubert Humphrey. He is concerned about the direction the President’s domestic agenda has taken and offers a number of suggestions. Here’s one:
Cut back both your proposals and expectations. You made promises about jobs that would be “created and saved” by the stimulus package. Those promises have not held up. You continue to engage in hyperbole by claiming that your health-care and energy plans will save tax dollars. Congressional Budget Office analysis indicates otherwise.
It’s time to re-examine these initiatives. Could your health plan be scaled back to catastrophic coverage for all — badly needed by most families, but quite affordable if deductibles are set at the right levels? Should the Rube Goldbergian cap-and-trade proposals be replaced with a simple carbon tax, with proceeds to be allocated to alternative-fuels development?
The evolving health and cap-and-trade bills are loaded with costly provisions designed to gain support from congressional leaders and special-interest constituencies. In short, they have become an expensive mess. This legislation will not clear Congress by the August recess, as you have requested, and could be stalled for the remainder of 2009. Settle for incremental change: Do not press Democratic legislators to vote for something they fear will destroy them in 2010.
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