Medicare vs. Obamacare

[updated below] Andrew Biggs crunches some numbers on Medicare over at the AEI blog.   Contra Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann and others adopting the new “Obamacare vs. Medicare” talking points, Biggs rightly points out that Medicare is not a program conservatives should be defending.  Conservatives should be looking at ways to reform Medicare, certainly, but…

“Well, what are you doing creeping around a cow shed at two o’clock in the morning? That doesn’t sound very wise to me.”

In the comments to Scott’s post last week, greginak (who was one of the few to hone in on Scott’s central point) asked for the “posters to offer criticisms of their own theories.”  This seemed like an interesting and worthwhile exercise, so I figured I’d give it a try, with some help from Monty Python.  I…

Democracy Doesn’t Do Nuance: Why the Dems Lost Control of the Debate

Not surprisingly, this poll from Gallup showing that the extremity of the town hall protests may be succeeding in increasing opposition to health care reform – and certainly have not provoked a backlash – is rightly the story of the day and has the Right celebrating, and the Left a bit bruised, with the proud partisan Big Tent…

misconceptions and deregulation

Just very briefly – “deregulation” does not mean the stripping away of all rules or the desire to enter into a state of anarchy.  So when I speak of “deregulating” the health care industry, I’m mainly talking about removing rules that prevent competition and create monopoly or that are expensive but provide no real benefit. …

I’m caught in the grip of the city, madness*

Ezra Klein is worried that our dysfunctional debate over health care reform is symptomatic of broader problems with our democracy: What we’re seeing here is not merely distrust in the House health-care reform bill. It’s distrust in the political system. A healthy relationship does not require an explicit detailing of the “institutional checks” that will…

Is There Any Depth of Support for Wyden-Bennett?

TWO UPDATES, SEE BELOW: A common refrain I keep hearing for why Wyden-Bennett would have no chance of succeeding if it ever came to a vote is that even though it has bi-partisan co-sponsorship, the Republicans co-sponsoring it are merely using their co-sponsorship as political cover since they know it has no chance of actually passing. …

another slightly more academic-sounding addition to a relentlessly partisan and biased liberal blogosphere

“The League should feature higher standards for honest assessment, especially since I’ve commented on this exact point here once already. Honestly, I’ve thought very highly of the League in spite of its generally left-leaning direction [….] But this pushing of a manifestly dishonest characterization even after being called on it makes me reevaluate whether the…

Impulses and Vectors

Responding to my defense of the value of libertarianism/blatant excuse to repost Mr. Henley’s Jester quote, OG regulars Michael Drew and Bob make some great points about the idea of libertarianism-as-vector that led me to some unexplored thoughts about ideological frameworks. First, Michael wonders whether the concept of libertarianism-as-vector means that libertarianism can be a…

government and monopoly

“Monopolies are not innovative, whether they are public or private.”  ~ Megan McArdle “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do Two can be as bad as one It’s the loneliest number since the number one.”  ~ Three Dog Night A fairly obvious example of government-created monopoly is the public utility.  You likely have…

On Safety Nets

“By treating any and all social safety nets as irreversible steps on the Road to Serfdom, we allow liberals and progressives to shape those policies in ways that are inefficient, ineffective, and overbroad – even though Adam Smith, Hayek himself, and Friedman each advocated for a form of social safety net, demonstrating that social safety…

A Realistic Health Care Alternative Going Nowhere

[N/B: See below for a significant update/clarification] One of the criticisms levied at the alternative health care proposals discussed by E.D. and I over the last few weeks has been that these proposals, which rely heavily on vouchers and/or subsidies, are irrelevant to the debate that is actually taking place.  Yet this is not really…

comedy and tragedy

Enlarging government is like doing drama.  Limiting government is like doing comedy. Let me explain. At the Oscars, the Best Picture nominees are almost always dramas.  Usually they are tragic and romantic and perhaps even epic.  The Best Actress segment is typically a handful of tearful, sobbing vignettes plucked from whatever dramatic, tragic, epic-romances are…

Nothing To See Here

One cost-free way for conservatives to appeal to minority voters would be to do a better job of policing internal discourse. After all, repeating “Party of Lincoln!” ad nauseum doesn’t really help things when pervasive racism seems alive and well on the right wing of the political spectrum. But conservative operatives have evidently decided that…

the deception of dignity

“But it’s not right to end on a note of cultural pessimism because there is the fact of President Obama. Whatever policy differences people may have with him, we can all agree that he exemplifies reticence, dispassion and the other traits associated with dignity. The cultural effects of his presidency are not yet clear, but…