Posts Tagged ‘alternative

06
Apr
11

“mystified”

Steve Benen: Yesterday afternoon, the lead story on Mark Halperin’s “The Page” was the White House’s mild rebuke of Paul Ryan’s Republican budget plan. Halperin’s headline: “Obama Pans Ryan – Without Alternative.”

This was one of those cases in which the media establishment had accepted the Republican line before Republicans had even offered it. Ryan wants to eliminate Medicare and gut Medicaid; the White House disapproves; and the media is already demanding an “alternative”….

This morning, Halperin’s lead story was a GOP endorsement of yesterday’s lead story. The headline: “Boehner Asks For Bam’s Budget ‘Alternative’.” … I have two follow-up questions for the duo.

First, what kind of “alternative” is the White House expected to offer, exactly? If the political establishment is waiting for the administration’s plan to use unicorns to reduce unemployment to 2.8%, and Obama’s “alternative” to eliminating Medicare, I suspect Halperin and Boehner are going to be waiting a long time.

Second, if the request is for an “alternative” budget, I might remind them that the White House already presented Obama’s alternative. Mid-February really wasn’t that long ago, but that’s when the administration presented a budget plan for the next fiscal year. They put it online, and it generated a lot of discussion. Halperin and Boehner might have heard about it.

“The president is certainly entitled to disagree with our budget, but what exactly is his alternative?” Halperin seems to like the question, but Obama’s alternative was sent to Congress nearly seven weeks ago.

I’m often mystified by our discourse. This is one of those times.

More here

16
Feb
11

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




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