Healthcare Logic Fail

2 comments September 3rd, 2009at 08:31pm Posted by Eli

Ezra’s overview may be correct, but he’s wrong on the specifics:

Matt Yglesias, explaining the tactical thinking of liberals who want to draw a line in the sand over the public option, writes, “If you become known as the guys who are always willing to be reasonable and fold while the Blue Dogs are the guys who are happy to let the world burn unless someone kisses your ring, then in the short-term your reasonableness will let some things get done but over the long-term you’ll get squeezed out.”

This seems a bit like a firefighter attempting to out-arson an arsonist. The reason the Blue Dogs have a reputation for being happy to let the world burn is that they really, really, really are willing to let the world burn, let health care fail, let cap-and-trade die, let Iraq grind on. The reason liberals have a reputation for not wanting to let the world burn is that all the anti-burn initiatives under discussion are, in fact, items from their agenda. They really, really, really don’t want the world to burn.

Well, I don’t know that the Blue Dogs actually want the world to burn, but they certainly have very little interest in voting for any kind of progressive initiatives, especially ones that might inconvenience their corporate donors in any way.

But the problem with the “Progressives have to cave in because they don’t want the world to burn” argument in this context is that it presumes that the bill the progressives want to obstruct is better than nothing, and it’s not.  A mandate without a public option is an economic loser because it gives the insurance industry even less incentive to reduce costs than they have now, and a political loser because everyone will absolutely hate it.

Yes, progressives don’t want the world to burn, but that’s only a relevant argument when you’re urging them to throw on water, not gasoline.

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Healthcare,Politics

2 Comments

  • 1. Cujo359  |  September 4th, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    A mandate without a public option is an economic loser because it gives the insurance industry even less incentive to reduce costs than they have now, and a political loser because everyone will absolutely hate it.

    Anyone with the least bit of sense seems to be able to see this clearly, yet the Villagers can’t. Makes you wonder.

  • 2. Eli  |  September 4th, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    I trust you’ve met Mr. Sinclair?


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