Monday, November 15, 2010

Balancing the Budget - The Home Game

When I followed a link to the NYTimes "you fix the budget" gimmick, I was disappointed. Not that I expected it to be a realistic exercise, but it was so full of forced and often false choices that I rolled my eyes and left the page. It's like one of those telephone opinion polls when they ask, "If you had this partial piece of information, would it make you more or less likely to vote for candidate X" - If you can believe it, they actually want you to answer "More" or "Less" instead of "Yes".

By way of example, how will cutting earmarks in fact cut the budget, when they relate primarily to how money is to be spent, not whether it will be spent? And Putting the canard of "malpractice reform" right at the top of the list for health care reform, of course, sends entirely the wrong signal about the usefulness of the exercise to anybody who knows a whit about malpractice litigation (as opposed to having internalized insurance industry propaganda). What about fraud and waste, either of which alone is a much larger cost than the entire cost of malpractice litigation? Also, why not means test Medicare - where is the option for increased copays and deductibles for seniors with substantial means, or even continuing to charge wealthy seniors a premium? Is that seriously too complex a possibility to be factored in? We must tax, cut, but not actually reform? (And those examples barely touch the surface.)

Mythago doesn't post to her blog very often these days but when she does, boy can she get to the point.

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