Monday, November 13, 2006

Trade Deficits and Health Care


In an unsigned editorial the New York Times opines,
The Democrats need to take a more pragmatic view of the lopsided trade situation. The surest way to make American businesses more competitive — and workers more secure — is to resolve the nation’s health care mess. And the government needs to update and strengthen the safety net for workers who are hurt by global competition.
One of the joys of the unsigned editorial is that the author can express half-baked ideas with absolute certainty. But what do those suggestions mean? How do you "strengthen the safety net for workers who are hurt by global competition"? Train experienced workers to gain entry level jobs at a fraction of their former salary? Extend unemployment benefits?

As for national health care, the last time the Democratic Party made that a priority it was, to put it mildly, unsuccessful. The problems of establishing universal health care have been discussed and debated countless times. It may well be that "resolving the nation's health care mess" will help keep U.S. plants open, help keep existing jobs in the U.S., and help attract new jobs which might otherwise have been created in foreign nations. But what solution do you choose? And how do you implement it?

I suspect that if the author had any solid ideas, they would have been shared - perhaps under a byline. As it stands, as is quite typical of unsigned editorials, it attempts to define the way the world should be then leave it to others to figure out how to make it happen.

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