Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Believing Your Own Spin, pt. 2

Ezra Klein again:

"Atlanta: If it's so easy to save $500-600 BILLION on medicare (doesn't Obama say: we can cut payments for medicare by that much?) - then why don't they just pass that bill?

Are they saying there is that much waste in the program? Why are they holding that money hostage? If it's the lowest hanging fruit (they say it is, it must be true) - just pass whatever needs to pass to save that money. Would anyone vote against that bill? Really?

Ezra Klein: Oh yeah. Saving that money isn't the hardest thing in the world, but nor is it the easiest. A lot of politicians are willing to do it if they also get health-care reform out of the deal. But they're not willing to do it if it's not part of a trade.

I've said this again and again, if the Republican Party included real deficit hawks, they could make an incredible bargain here. They could rip up the employer tax deduction and create a powerhouse MedPAC board and much, much more. The fact that they're just crossing their arms and shouting "no" suggests they're not particularly worried about spending, after all."

He is right that the Republicans have largely limited their participation in the reform effort to say no, however, the one substantive idea that Republicans have offered is to rip up the employer tax deduction or cap it. This was a center piece of the McCain health care plan, and consequently became the target of a very effective (and opportunistic and shameless) attack ad by the Obama campaign. Obama and the unions have taken the employer tax deduction off the table, not the Republicans. This is unfortunate because it manages to achieve two very important things at once: 1. raise revenue; 2. Control costs.

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