Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Nine Dumb Arguments Against Health Care Reform
And One Dumb Argument For It

Paul Waldman at American Prospect offers a good survey of dumb arguments againt health care reform, but he drops a clinker on his foot: he argues that Blue Dogs can't raise budget objections now because they didn't do so during the Bush years.
The Blue Dogs claim to be deeply concerned about fiscal responsibility, but the
truth is that they are motivated almost entirely by ideology. Nothing wrong with that, but don't try to tell us their only concern is deficits. Were that the case, they would be pushing not just for a public option to be part of the bill but for it to be open to every American citizen or company that wants it, because that would save the most money. ... [I]f they were only concerned about fiscal responsibility, they would have opposed the Bush tax cuts, supported tax increases to pay for the Iraq War, or opposed the war and its $2 trillion price tag entirely. But of course they didn't.
Translated: you were wrong before, so you have no right to be right now. This is incoherent. They have every right to be smarter today than they were yesterday.

This is not to concede that "the Blue Dogs" were insufficiently aggressive in the Bush years. "Blue Dog"a big category, perhaps somewhat open-ended. But I have always thought Jim Cooper's Financial Report was among the best budget criticisms availableback then Critics will say--yeh, but he was death on social programs soft on the war. Possibly but I should say that that the same criticism might be tossed back at his critics: lots of lefties would howl about the costs of the war, while soft-pedaling any concern about the costs of social programs. Of course, they were both right: governments have to pay for what they spend somehow, and it is irresponsible for either side to go bandying dollars around without a responsible program for bearing the cost.

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