16 July 2009

Good Point

One of the biggest objections I heaer to the various plans to reform health care, and to the public plan in particular, go something like "At a time like this, we shouldn't be..." (insert pet peeve: taxing payrolls, spending money, increasing the deficit, etc).  Kevin Drum makes a good point which I had kind of missed:

 Fighting the Zombies | Mother Jones
"At a time like this." I think I've read critiques similar to this about a thousand times now. I guess it sounds mighty clever, hoisting Keynesians by their own petard or something. But it's nonsense. The "pay-or-play" payroll tax increase doesn't go into effect until 2013 — and if the recession isn't over by then we've got way bigger things to worry about than a minor increase in payroll tax receipts.
Absolutely right.  I would argue that it's a bad thing that the most important features of the House bill don't go into effect till 2013, since the reforms are needed much sooner.  But if nothing else it should put to rest the "At a time like this..." objection, since if the economy hasn't recovered by then we'll all be living in caves and bartering gasoline for ammunition...


  1. we'll all be living in caves and bartering gasoline for ammunition...

    Welcome to Omamanation!

  2. I can't wait for more payroll taxes personally. Being a single female with a son, no child support, and little disposible income, I'm stoked. I'll feel much less guilty, that's for sure...if only the payroll taxes could come faster so my guilt over keeping a small amount of money for my savings account and whatnot could end sooner...I'd be a happy girl to say the least.

    I can't wait to look my son square in the eyes and say, "Sorry, I couldn't save much for your college fund because people in our country needed the money more than you needed an education..." He'll feel so proud of me.

  3. K,

    Funny, I didn't realize that you made more than $250K, because that's tho the dems are talking about raising taxes on.

    I agree with you -- I do not think that payroll taxes which are inherently regressive should be increased. If they are it will only be because your conservative allies refuse to allow more progressive funding sources to be brought to bear.

  4. Typo:

    I didn't realize that you made more than $250K, because that's NOT WHAT the dems are talking about raising taxes on.

  5. SF: Re the "progressive funding sources"? Such as what, pray tell? The gov't has one and only one source of funds and that is to take it from citizens through taxes. It can be direct as in income taxes, or it can be indirect such as via corp taxes, which taxes are passed through to the consumer, ie the taxpayer. There is NO other source of gov't money!

  6. Speaking as someone in the IT business, it takes a while to get the infrastructure in setup for a major program like this. You will remember there were problems with the Part D rollout, and this is MUCH bigger.

    To elaborate: most of the problems with Part D were due an insufficient appreciation of the time table that health insurance runs on. Most of the enrollments, etc, are compressed into a very short time, basically December. The plan for Part D was to get started in September, but it was unworkable. When the timetable was compressed, the systems got stressed. They really did a huge amount right.

  7. I'm paying for Medicare and Medicaid and SCHIP and general assistance and social security or whatever...

    Ergo, you're crayzee if you think I won't be paying for this too. A lot of the money is supposedly coming from ill-defined "savings" that will magically happen with Medicare and Medicaid. When that savings doesn't materialize (EMRs will save us $100 billion/year is it?), they'll just raise taxes on me too. Duhr. I'm sure lots of welfare programs started out with taxes on the wealthy only.

    If they make it like Massachusetts with low physician payments, at least I won't be out of a job since all the newly insured will be coming to visit me when their clinics don't accept the insurance at a high cost to the system...you can never really estimate how much each person will spend.


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