Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Well enough alone

Americans are split when it comes to what the federal government should do concerning the recent health care bill.

Twenty percent think we should leave it as it is, 35 percent think it should be expanded and 37 percent think it should be repealed, according to findings from the Pew Research Center.

My guess is we'll have a preservation of the status quo. The support for expansion and repeal are roughly equal, so I doubt either side has much to go on -- that is, of course, assuming Democrats don't roll over on this one, which is a damn big assumption.

It's no secret that I'm for expanding to a single-payer system. My few interactions with insurance companies have been unpleasant to say the least, and as I understand it, my insurance is damn good. Maybe my mood is telling or maybe I expect to much.

The politically interesting point of all this concerns the deficit. According to the Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan group, the GOP plan to repeal the health care bill would actually increase the deficit by $145 billion over the next 8 years.

Also, consider that the George W. Bush deficits were larger than those of any other president in history and that the RNC debt currently sits at $23 million.

I'm not arguing that this makes Republicans fiscally irresponsible. Deficit spending during times of economic crisis are useful ways to stimulate business growth because of reluctance to spend from the private sector. Don't believe me? Ask Paul Krugman. That Nobel Prize in Economics should carry a bit of credibility.

I am, however, arguing that Republicans are disingenuous. They are engaging in practices similar to those of the Democrats, yet they condemn the opposition. They accuse Democrats of a "tax and spend" philosophy, but at least there is an input for the output. The real Bush doctrine was "don't tax and spend anyway." It doesn't take a financial genius to see how that will play out, but I didn't hear any Republican cries for reduced spending then.

Now the new GOP policy is "don't tax, cut," but the proposed program cuts would put a minimal dent in the deficit -- or even increase it in the case of the health care debate.

In the end, I feel like being the party of "no" is just a hard habit to break. Opposition isn't bad, but when it's blind, it can become stupid and down right dangerous, as my good friends at the Onion point out.

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