Written by Michael F. Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
I find myself on the wrong side of the facts. Again. So says Paul Krugman:
Still, wouldn’t private insurers reduce costs through the magic of the marketplace? No. All, and I mean all, the evidence says that public systems like Medicare and Medicaid, which have less bureaucracy than private insurers (if you can’t believe this, you’ve never had to deal with an insurance company) and greater bargaining power, are better than the private sector at controlling costs.
I know this flies in the face of free-market dogma, but it’s just a fact.
And Krugman should know. As the following clip shows, this is a guy who always has the facts on his side:
Yes, that was me at the beginning of the clip. Krugman was selflessly trying to instill in me his respect for evidence and his command of the facts. For some reason, I have yet to absorb either.
Since being introduced as Mitt Romney’s running mate, President Barack Obama’s campaign and Democrats have been hammering Paul Ryan over his budget proposal. The narrative at the moment is that Ryan’s plan would “end Medicare as we know.”
The suggestion is absurd. Ryan’s plan, which was crafted with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) doesn’t touch Medicare for anyone 55 and older and only creates a a voucher system as an option to going along with the traditional program.
Romney is hitting back at Obama’s campaign on Medicare, emphasizing cuts to the government-run healthcare program that will be made as a result of ObamaCare — cuts that would have been made under Ryan’s budget, which has been noted by Ezra Klein and Avik Roy. But, as Philip Klein explains, there are dangers to Romney’s campaign if they focus too much on the issue:
In the past several days, Romney has attempted to turn the tables on Obama by noting that his own national health care law — Obamacare — cut Medicare significantly.
Since announcing Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney has seen a surge of support from many of the same people who have been skeptical of his campaign. Some are still many who are not happy with the selection, perhaps best explained by Corie Whalen this morning. But writing at Newsmax, Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, is encouraging grassroots activists to get behind the Republican ticket:
Romney made a good choice — a great choice in fact. It was a real indication to grassroots America that the Romney camp is willing to finally engage on the big issues that matter most in this election. It’s not quite enough to say that Obama has failed, we know that. Incumbent presidents should not win reelection with persistent unemployment over 8 percent and a staggering $16 trillion in debt. Clearly Obama needs to be fired. But what are you, the Republicans, actually for?
Paul Ryan understands that progressivism is a fundamental threat to the American system based on bottom-up individual freedom and opportunity. He understands that economic growth comes from start-up entrepreneurs who struggle for success — who did, in fact, “build that.”
He understands the threat of the entitlement state, how it will bankrupt the country and lock future generations into a system that taxes more and more, but returns less and less. He understands economic opportunity and the need for a tax system that is low, flat, fair and honest.
He even understands sound money, and how the Federal Reserve is destroying our currency, and the economic consequences of its destruction.
Paul Ryan is one of us.
As expected, the attacks on Paul Ryan’s budget proposals are well under way. Specifically, President Obama’s campaign is attacking Ryan’s Medicare reform plan, which was a plan pieced together with Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon.
The proposal would offer a competing plan different than the current “fee-for-service” model, by giving new enrollees — those younger than 55-years-old — the option of a voluntary voucher program to purchase health insurance. Nothing would change for seniors already in the system.
But President Obama is already demagoguing the issue, claiming that the Ryan-Wyden plan would have hurt Medicare, which is our most costly long-term entitlement, and refuses to acknowledge that his own health care law cuts more than $700 billion from the government-run health insurance program for seniors.
During an interview with Wolf Blitzer yesterday, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) tried to tear down Ryan, who was picked by Mitt Romney as his running mate, claiming that the plan is “extreme” and would hurt seniors. Blitzer came back at Wasserman Schultz’s talking points about Ryan’s proposal, noting that anyone over 55 would not be affected in any way and that the traditional “fee-for-service” option would still be available for those who want it.
Here’s the video:
The honest answer is that it probably means nothing. I don’t think there’s been an election in my lifetime that was impacted by the second person on a presidential ticket.
And a quick look at Intrade.com shows that Ryan’s selection hasn’t (at least yet) moved the needle. Obama is still in the high 50s.
Moreover, the person who becomes Vice President usually plays only a minor role in Administration policy.
With those caveats out of the way, the Ryan pick is mostly good news.
Here are the reasons why I’m happy.
Who were the conservatives in the colonies during the Revolution? They were those loyal to the Crown. They were those who supported the status quo because of the state privileges that they received. Unfortunately, today’s conservatives do the exact same thing.
The fight today isn’t between conservatives who are interested in individual liberty and liberals who are interested in socialism. Neither party are interested in more freedom for you. They are interested in power and money. The both revel in the sovereignty of the state and the subjugation of the individual. That is no different then the attitude that King George had in regards to his “subjects” in the American colonies before the Revolution.
The Revolution of 1776 was the opposite of conservatism. It was a revolution of thought and reason in which the individual was sovereign and government was the servant. Like Judge Andew Napolitano used to say on Freedom Watch, “Does the government work for us or do we work for the government?” That is a fundamental question that the history of conservatives in this country have gotten wrong.
The victories of the collectivists in this country are never rolled back. The New Deal by FDR and the “war on poverty” by Johnson which are typically expounded by the conservative intelligentsia as the reason why we are living in an increasingly collectivist society have been cemented into America. If you want more freedom in this country today your best bet you are told is to support Republicans. But are they the party of liberty like they claim?
During the debate over ObamaCare in 2010 and after, many conservatives and libertarians have criticized Medicare rules that would allow unelected regulators on the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) to essentially ration healthcare. Some critics, including several Republican members of Congress, went as far as calling the IPAB “death panels” due to the board’s purpose, which is to keep Medicare costs down.
With ObamaCare firmly now set, thanks to the Supreme Court’s terrible decision last month, House Republicans have rolled out another plan to repeal the law, but it apparently will leave this controversial aspect in place. Why? Because they can’t:
The bill that the House is slated to vote on next week will repeal just about all of the law, except for one small subsection that sets up how the House would vote on the Medicare cuts recommended by the Independent Payment Advisory Board — a new panel set up by the law to suggest ways to rein in Medicare spending.
The subsection prevents the House from changing those rules, including through repeal. If the bill repealed the entire law, Democrats could have raised a procedural point of order against the repeal measure and likely killed it, according to a House GOP leadership aide.
Keeping this one subsection — subsection (d) of section 1899A of the Social Security Act — would prevent that.
The Supreme Court will any day now issue their decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as ObamaCare. There is little doubt that, from a constitutional perspective, much is on the line. But from a fiscal perspective, there is just as much to be concerned about.
We’ve noted that ObamaCare will cost more than the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) originally estimated. Recent studies, both from the CBO and Medicare trustee Charles Blahous underline the fiscal threat of the program to taxpayers. But the Heritage Foundation notes another recent study from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary (OACT) showing that ObamaCare will do nothing to lower health care costs:
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary (OACT) just released its projections for national health spending through 2021. The picture isn’t pretty, as health spending will continue to increase at a much faster rate than the gross domestic product (GDP), consuming 19.6 percent (almost one-fifth) of the nation’s economy in 2021.
Yesterday, I was grabbing a cup of coffee while browsing through Twitter when I saw a headline that literally made me spit my drink out of my mouth. President Barack Obama will apparently attempt to paint Mitt Romney, who has mathematically secured enough delegates to win the GOP nomination, as a libertarian (note Obama doesn’t actually use that term to describe Romney, but the beliefs describe are libertarian in nature):
President Barack Obama is previewing his next strategy in the 2012 campaign — an audacious effort to paint former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and the majority GOP as radical libertarians that have abandoned mainstream American politics.
Since 2000, “we [Democrats] haven’t moved that much. … What’s changed is the Republican Party,” Obama told a group of wealthy donors gathered Monday night at a New York town-house owned by Marc Lasry. Lasry is a billionaire equity-capitalist who runs a $20 billion fund that buys up the shaky assets of failing companies.
Republicans “have gone from a preference for market-based solutions to an absolutism … [to] a belief that all regulations are bad; that government has no role to play,” said Obama, who has presided over record unemployment of at least 8.1 percent, record deficits of more than $1 trillion per year, and a record $5 trillion increase in the national debt.
The president’s divisive strategy is designed to persuade swing-voters that the former governor of Massachusetts is a radical libertarian, even though Obama has repeatedly said his health-sector law is modeled on Romney’s Massachusetts law.
There is always ego involved in politics, there is no denying that. Some elected officials may say that they are public servants or what have you, but that’s a talking point more than anything else, so a certain amount of arrogance and narcissism is expected when dealing with elected officials. But what you don’t expect is a president to go through White House biographies of their predecessors to invoke themselves:
Many of President Obama’s fervent devotees are young enough not to have much memory of the political world before the arrival of The One. Coincidentally, Obama himself feels the same way—and the White House’s official website reflects that.
The Heritage Foundation’s Rory Cooper tweeted that Obama had casually dropped his own name into Ronald Reagan’s official biography on www.whitehouse.gov, claiming credit for taking up the mantle of Reagan’s tax reform advocacy with his “Buffett Rule” gimmick. My first thought was, he must be joking. But he wasn’t—it turns out Obama has added bullet points bragging about his own accomplishments to the biographical sketches of every single U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge (except, for some reason, Gerald Ford). Here are a few examples: