Thursday, November 04, 2010

Conservative Domestic Policy Reform in US and Canada

Reihan Salaam sets out an attractive domestic agenda for the Republicans here. Everywhere and always the biggest villains are tax expenditures. Next are cost-plus gummint contracts (and disguised cost-plus contracts). The right sometimes views the first as tax cuts and the second as being friendly to business. It needs to realize that tax expenditures are just welfare and cost-plus contracts are corporate welfare.

The Pithlord's not against a welfare state, but of course we have problems with affordability, especially in healthcare and moral hazard, especially in income support. A bad way to reform is just to means-test everything, since that effectively makes for punitive marginal tax rates on the working poor. The better way is to impose deductibles and then co-payments, which could be means tested. The welfare state needs to think more like an insurance company.

Universal Health Care Safe With Republican Congress

Check out the Republican proposals. Every single item increases government responsbility for healthcare in the US.

The revolution is permanent. There will be much negotiating around the edges. The demographic/cost tsunami will eventually force US politicians, like those in Europe and Canada, to do some unpopular things, although this will be delayed to the last possible moment. But universal healthcare will remain a responsibility of the federal government. Forever.

Good thing too in my view, and enough to ensure that Nancy Pelosi's name will last forever. But it doesn't matter how I evaluate it, since it's really none of my business. The point is as a descriptive matter, BHO has achieved what even LBJ couldn't.