the party of no alternative

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and senior staff, react in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, as the House passes the health care reform bill, March 21, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Jonathan Cohn (Senior Editor of The New Republic): Conservatives and Republicans had a lot to say about the budget President Barack Obama released on Monday. None of it was good. The budget doesn’t do enough to stabilize federal finances, they said. And it doesn’t do enough to slow rising health care costs.

…But for all of those critics out there, furious that Obama hasn’t proposed a more fiscally responsible budget, I have a question: Do you have an alternative? More specifically, do you have an alternative that would both slow federal health care spending and be politically viable? The answer, I think, is no.

…The health law does more than simply create or expand government programs. It cuts wasteful spending, such as subsidies to private insurance companies. It also raises some taxes. Put it all together and, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the program actually generates more money than it would spend. Repeal it and the government’s bottom line actually gets a little worse.

….Remember, the government’s health care costs were out of control before the health reform debate even began. That’s why the overhaul starts up so many initiatives that attempt to improve the efficiency of medical care, making it possible to reduce costs without reducing care. Some will work, some won’t. But the only way to find out is to try them. If lawmakers repeal the measure, those experiments will stop – and we’ll be right back where we started.

Of course, conservatives and Republicans sometimes vow to repeal “and replace” the health law … it generally means enacting a hodge-podge of familiar conservative initiatives… no serious economist believes these steps will, by themselves, substantially slow down health care spending either for the government or for society as a whole…..

….the conservative alternatives don’t offer better guarantees. In fact, the promises they make are far more illusory.

Full article here

5 Responses to “the party of no alternative”

  1. 1 Sonjia Duncan
    February 16, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    The public is beginning to pay attention to health care reform/obamacare but we need to make sure the lies are put to rest. Remember all politics are local.

    • 2 hgerhard
      February 16, 2011 at 1:40 pm

      You are absolutely right. At a recent meeting of local Democrats, preparing for our Democratic caucus, the issue of health care reform was brought up repeatedly. We decided to have a larger meeting next month to discuss the new law in detail. There is much more interest now in actually looking at what the law contains rather than just dismissing it. It’s a great opportunity to fight the misinformation and increase support for the President.

  2. 3 Temp
    February 16, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    “Politically viable”, I like that because once you add those words to the challenge, everyone shuts up. ‘Slash defense spending by half, enact single payer, etc.’ Yeah, that’s great. Now tell us how to get it pass this congress. Their response? crickets or shouts of ‘Obama…..balls….grow a pair…..spineless….just like bush.’

  3. 5 majii
    February 16, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    I’ve had a problem with people on both sides of the aisle when they criticize PBO’s suggested policies. They never have anything except complaints and unworkable solutions. It’s easy to say that you want this or that, or that it should have been done this way or that way, but these people never seem able to view anything realistically. They tend to conveniently forget the republicans and conservadems’ opposition to the majority of the president’s policies, that many of the members of Congress are more dedicated to carrying out the wishes and desires of their corporate sponsors than they are with working on behalf of the people, and the influence of the rw media which always puts a rw spin on everything the president does which causes people to endorse/embrace policies that don’t serve their best interests. It seems that it takes having a republican in office who does crackpot things like trying to eliminate unions for state employees, or one who attempts to rewrite state laws on abortion that transforms and objection to abortion from murder into justifiable homicide to get the attention of the citizens. Better late than never is good, but it’s not good enough. Americans have to learn that voting in every election is important, otherwise you get politicians like Kasich, Walker, and Scott who have no interest in what the citizens want/need but lots of interest in helping themselves and their rich cronies to get richer on the backs of tax payers.

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