Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Two Best Budget Items of the Day

First, economist and former administration staffer Jared Bernstein is now blogging, and he has an excellent shortish item on why the federal budget is not like your family budget.* Highly recommended for those who have been tempted to buy that analogy.

Meanwhile, Ezra Klein has another very helpful post on Medicare and the budget, titled "You can't save Medicare by raising taxes." This is really important for liberals, in particular, to understand: the long-term problem with the budget is a health care problem, not a budget problem. It does need to be solved, but not because otherwise the federal budget will have problems. No, it needs to be solved because otherwise the US economy will have problems. The good news is that it's at least possible that ACA reforms, if implemented, will help. The bad news is that Democrats tossed pretty much every idea anyone had into ACA, at least as a pilot project. Why is that bad news? Because movement conservatives have decided that they hate everything about ACA, and so they're now strongly against all of those potential cost-savers, regardless of who first thought of them or how "liberal" any of them are.

On the other hand, the House budget includes the Medicare cuts that Republicans specifically campaigned against just last year, so perhaps it's still possible for Republicans to embrace cost-cutting aspects of ACA, as long as everyone keeps quiet about it. We'll see.

* Jared Bernstein is also -- and I should mention that we're not related -- tweeting as of Monday, which means that I've now fallen into third place among Bernsteins tweeting about politics, at least judged by follows. I'd like to be bitter, but Jared is terrific, and David S. is a way good reporter and tweeter, so what are you gonna do? Although I'll take any follows I can get...


  1. The GOP is still claiming to be against cost-cutting in Medicare? But they just voted to privatize the whole damn thing! I think the political usefulness of their "keep the government's hands of Medicare" posture is rapidly diminishing.

  2. Take out that bit on your Twitter page about rooting for the Giants and maybe I will follow you...

  3. If I understand the projects on Medical spending correctly, not only do Americans now spend significantly more for health care than other OECD countries, but that our rate of growth is significantly higher that those other counties. My question is how likely is that to continue? When Americans are spending 5 or 6 times what the French or Canadians do, won’t we find the political will to take on the Pharmacy and Medical lobbies?

    The other aspect is that I’ve already seen that my employer is passing on more and more of the cost to the employees. My guess is long before the budget becomes a problem, the whole employee provided private medical care system will just break down.


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