07 December 2009

Obama and fiscal conservatism

Ezra Klein - The Obama administration doesn't care about the public option and Congress doesn't care about cost control
Color me unsurprised that Barack Obama didn't mention the public option in his remarks to the Senate last weekend. One of the dynamics that hasn't really penetrated in this debate is that the Obama administration is mainly interested in the cost controls. The president will throw the public option overboard if Susan Collins asks him nicely. Conversely, Peter Orszag will lay down in traffic to save the Medicare Commission. Generally, Democrats want to reform the health-care system because they want to cut the number of uninsured. The Obama administration's commitment to health-care reform stems from their belief that it's the first step towards cutting long-term deficits.
In a lot of ways, Obama is proving to be a much more conservative President than one might have expected.  Despite how the teabaggers might want to portray him as a raving liberal, he's decidedly not.  Lord knows he's disappointing his liberal base, myself included, on many issues, with his cautious and often centrist approach.  I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt and trust him, since if nothing else he seems to be taking a very responsible line.  On this point, he is probably right -- that long-term cost control needs to take precedence over the liberals' fantasy dream plan for health care reform.

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