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The rain falls on the just and unjust alike

Paul Krugman can say some dumb things for a pretty smart guy:

Death Panels and Sales Taxes

I said something deliberately provocative on This Week, so I think I’d better clarify what I meant (which I did on the show, but it can’t hurt to say it again.)

So, what I said is that the eventual resolution of the deficit problem both will and should rely on “death panels and sales taxes”. What I meant is that

(a) health care costs will have to be controlled, which will surely require having Medicare and Medicaid decide what they’re willing to pay for — not really death panels, of course, but consideration of medical effectiveness and, at some point, how much we’re willing to spend for extreme care

(b) we’ll need more revenue — several percent of GDP — which might most plausibly come from a value-added tax

And if we do those two things, we’re most of the way toward a sustainable budget.

Yeah, we really have to think about having M&M pay for expensive procedures with a small likelihood of success, but that’s really a dumb way for a liberal to say it, especially considering the origin of that “death panels” term. But even so, “death panels” aren’t the only way to control costs.

We pay twice as much for health care as the other industrialized nations. At some point we’re gonna have to consider not just WHAT we’re willing to pay for but also HOW MUCH we’re willing pay for EVERYTHING, including routine care.

We can’t control M&M costs without addressing the entire health care market. And the best way to do that is a little thing called “single-payer.” While medical professionals deserve to be well compensated, “for-profit” health care makes as much sense as “for-profit” police and fire departments.

Krugman’s comments about a national sales tax are even more aggravating.

If we REALLY want to address the deficit then we need to TAX THE RICH!

It’s really that simple.

(h/t Lambert)

36 Responses

  1. Provoking was Riverdaughters, “I support overturning Roe v. Wade and so should you

    What was Krugman thinking? Hasn’t he read the analysis explaining the huge savings we’d get if we implimented Medicare for Everyone?

    With Medicare for Everyone we DON’T HAVE to RATION (period) Why do we have have to continually fight this “Death Panel” crap?

    • He must have gone to another White House dinner.

      Hey Paul, that’s not wine they’re pouring in your glass!

      • I didn’t think of that…. It really might explain a couple of his recent posts. When smart people talk dumb, it’s usually deliberate.

    • If you think about it, going to a Single Payer System wouldn’t save anything because our corrupt Senators and Representative would sell us out for thirty pieces of campaign silver.
      It would be the equivlient of the F-22 that the Pentagon doesn’t want but was being shoved down its throat.

  2. “If we REALLY want to address the deficit then we need to TAX THE RICH!”

    As well, we could greatly reduce the amount spent to blow $htt up. Of course, if they continue to destroy the middle income class, we are doomed anyway.

    • Honk, honk!

    • The upper classes of global plutocracy ultimately depend on robbing the labor and resources of weak countries.

      In turn, that ability depends on Uncle Sam being able to send our brothers and sisters to get killed fighting rebels when the local quisling elites fail to suppress rebellions against such exploitation.

      But what happens if the US economy collpases, and so the US can’t afford its globe-girdling military might any more?

      China just doesn’t have the global power projection abilities to take the place of the USA as the gendarme of global plutocracy.

      Which would mean a field day for the wrathful rebels, and the end of global plutocracy.

      So, unless the upper classes are complete morons, they’re going to have to save the USA.

      Alas, I see precious little evidence they are not complete morons. 😦

  3. Krugman may be auditioning for Larry Summers’s job. He has the required qualification in Obama’s view – a Nobel prize.

  4. Looks like this weekend won’t be so bad after all.

    The Raiders aren’t playing this week but thanks to Denver it looks like they’ll be moving into first place in the AFC West.

  5. I submitted this comment on Krugman’s post this morning. I don’t it’s abusive but it also is still in moderation.

    Neither the ending of the mortgage interest deduction nor a VAT should be acceptable. Both are bluntly regressive. Why will no one call for the ending of the largely useless and unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a way to cut spending? Until they do that, the people should accept no advice from the likes of the “serious” denizens of the Beltway!

  6. As a health care professional, who sees the mounds of paperwork on my desk throwing prior auths, justifications, and reams of form comletion between me and what my patients need, I can see a very effective was to cut costs.


    Apologize; sometimes I just have to yell when I get yet another one of those: Did you consider Drug Z before Rx’ing Drug Y? from Mangaled Company A. Of course, it’s Why didn’t you consider Drug Y before Rx’ing Drug Z? from Mangled Care Company B.

    Or when I have to explain yet again to some “Health” insurance company beancounter that my patient has yes, a lifetime need for his walker with seat unless there really is found a cure for multiple sclerosis. A retroactive cure.

    • Ooops, that should be “form completion” and “very effective way” in para one above. See what looking at insurance co paperwork does to the brain?

    • Under single payer system in Canada, MDs spend, on average, 45 minutes PER WEEK on paper work!

      • Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP):

        The United States has the most bureaucratic health care system in the world. Over 31% of every health care dollar goes to paperwork, overhead, CEO salaries, profits, etc. Because the U.S. does not have a unified system that serves everyone, and instead has thousands of different insurance plans, each with its own marketing, paperwork, enrollment, premiums, and rules and regulations, our insurance system is both extremely complex and fragmented.

        The Medicare program operates with just 3% overhead, compared to 15% to 25% overhead at a typical HMO. Provincial single-payer plans in Canada have an overhead of about 1%.

        It is not necessary to have a huge bureaucracy to decide who gets care and who doesn’t when everyone is covered and has the same comprehensive benefits. With a universal health care system we would be able to cut our bureaucratic burden in half and save over $300 billion annually.

      • {{{tears out hair; looks up Canadian requirements for entry}}}

    • HONK! HONK!

  7. Axelrod: No ‘permanent’ tax cuts for rich
    Obama’s adviser is mum on the extension of Bush tax breaks, emphasizes the ephemeral nature of the current code

    A top adviser to President Barack Obama says the White House objects to “permanent” tax cuts for the wealthy but is silent on the possibility of extending current tax rates for the short term.

    Obama adviser David Axelrod says the president only wants to make permanent the tax cuts for the middle class that expire at the end of this year. He urged Congress to resolve the tax-cut question during a lame-duck session of Congress.

    Options facing Congress include extending middle-class tax cuts permanently while continuing tax cuts for the wealthy for only one or two years, or to adopt short-term extensions of all tax cuts.

    After all, the wealthy are struggling right now just like we are.

  8. I like fire departments, but everything else on that list stinks. Food safety? Really? Lately that has been the ultimate death panel. Here, have some e coli spinach and some salmonilla eggs. They’ll go well with your high fructose corn syrup and aspartame.

    I grew up with government run health care. I promise you, there are death panels. Now, if you have a system like medicare where both the rich and the poor participate, abuses are a whole lot less likely to happen.

    • Medicare for All should be standard. Hell it should be the only thing we settle for at this point. No more half-baked answers, the question is too important.

      • Should absolutely be standard. They just have to figure out how to transition out the 3 million jobs in the private health insurance industry once the recession ends. Migration may happen in earnest when cadillac tax kicks in at employers in 2018 as currently scheduled. Still long time to wait.

  9. Anyone post this today?

    Opinion | One and done: To be a great president, Obama should not seek reelection in 2012
    By Douglas E. Schoen and Patrick H. Caddell


    Fat chance.

  10. OFFS. We shouldn’t be rationing health care any more than we should be rationing VOTES. Health care is a CITIZENSHIP RIGHT, not a Consumer Good.

  11. Irony is not dead? This is from HotAir but it’s still HCR.

    Health Care Reform Group Gets Waiver from… Health Care Reform?

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