Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Social Program Expansions In A Silly World

Is this a reasonable strategy for how Democrats can expand social programs in our times?

(1) When Republicans are in power and decide they want to pass a bloated and ill-designed domestic program without paying for it, vote with them so it passes. (See: Medicare Part D.)

(2) When you're in power and you decide that you want to pass a well-designed program that will cost some money while reaping the supposed political benefits of being deficit-neutral, suck some of the money out of the bloated program and use it to pay for your thing. (See: Affordable Care Act.)

As Ezra points out, Democrats didn't see any big political benefits from the ACA reducing the deficit. Maybe the successors of the defeated Blue Dogs won't care so much about deficit stuff and we won't bother with paying for stuff next time around. But if we have to, is this a reasonable plan?


wsn said...

I think I would describe that plan as a medium-term plan for a particular contingency. I would suggest voting against it generally (allow a few defectors if needed to get it to pass), say it cuts medicare funding (or whatever, puppies hate it) to win the next election, and then pass what you want using the money from their program.

The long-term goals have to be, I think, (1) raising revenue and (2) reorient our industrial plan from "killing things" to "making life better".

Anonymous said...

Off topic: FYI, Neil, Intrade has changed its fees. They're now charging $5/month. So unless you deal in high enough stakes to compensate for that $60/year, it may be time to get out.

Neil Sinhababu said...

You're right! That's ridiculous. Puts me in a tricky situation, since I may have to close a bunch of positions quickly without waiting for the events that I was hoping would make me money. My guess is that Intrade is going out of business and is now trying to screw people out of their money before it shuts down.