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About As Reasonable As They Come

March 23, 2010

In his requisite post-healthcare whine column, David Brooks talks about ballooning spending and debt in response to a bill that the non-partisan CBO scored as reducing debt and spending and fails to take into account the alternative, i.e. doing nothing and to combat ballooning spending and the rising federal debt.

He also says, “It is an undertaking exponentially more complex than the Iraq war, for example.” Really? Constructing a functioning democracy of in a country disparate ethnic groups with a history that includes millennia of strife and decades of dictatorship and no functioning economy in a region with high anti-American sentiment is exponentially more complex than bringing the American healthcare system up to par with the rest of the developed world? Obviously, it depends on how you frame it but Brooks’ statement is, well, ridiculous, and indicative of the Republican/neoconservative hubris (“we go over there, shock and awe, throw out Saddam, and they greet us as liberators“) that got us into Iraq in the first place, The Iraq War has been an unfunded $3-trillion dollar initiative with questionable effects on American security. Wouldn’t that be the place to start when discussing deficit reduction instead of a bill with the obvious ameliorative effects of the healthcare bill?

Brooks is, however, about as reasonable as they come for conservative  these days. At the end of the column, he breaks Republican dogma by suggesting a consumption tax.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Tim permalink
    March 24, 2010 8:56 am

    Just added Megan McArdle to the reader feed (she’s in the “Testing” folder of the reader) so I can’t vouch for how she is all the time, but her take on pessimistic take on the eventual outcome of healthcare at least seems well thought out. I’m refererring in particular to this post:

  2. Somerset permalink*
    March 24, 2010 10:09 am

    Nothing to disagree with the overall point – the bill should produce the results expected – but the framing of the bill as a $200 billion dollar a year expenditure ignores both the fact that there were cuts and efficiencies that, according to the CBO, more than make up for that expenditure and the cost of the status quo which would have bankrupted the country on its own, according to many estimates. I’d say McArdle does more reasonable than Brooks, as she (as far as I can tell) is always talking about concrete matters, as opposed to Brooks’ atmospherics about this or that supposed crisis of American character.

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