Friday, February 20, 2009

Of The Bones Of The Entitlement Scare Orszag Will Make Our Bread

Jane Hamsher hasn't responded to what I understand as Ezra's point, so let me make the point again.

There's a bunch of Washington Post types who have been pushing the "entitlements are going to bankrupt us, let's cut Social Security" line for a while now. Orszag's response: "Social Security faces an actuarial deficit over the next 75-100 years. In the past, I’ve resisted the term ‘crisis’ to describe that kind of situation. This is not quantitatively as important as getting health care done.” And then, charts like this.

So, Mr. Broder, how do you like the idea of spending 18% of America's GDP on Medicare? Half of that, mind you, will be because of "excess cost growth." Now wouldn't you like a plan to control excess cost growth?

The idea is to give entitlement scaremongers something to really be scared of. That is, rising health care costs, which Ezra has argued is Orszag's obsession. (You can see it on Orszag's old blog.) Do this right, and you make them our allies, or at the very least not our opponents, in the health care fight. They're the sorts of people who will buy a story about big costs eating us in the future. Sell it to them.
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