Fareed Zakaria argues well that Paul Ryan’s sweeping budget plan is a character test for Barack Obama. And, asks Zakaria,
will Obama choose to be a statesman or a candidate? Like Zakaria, I
believe that Ryan’s budget plan is a courageous act. In fact, kudos to
Paul Ryan for his act. But there’s not a chance in hell that it’ll
pass. Still, at least one budget plan is on the table.
Typical of Republican thinking, the underlying thesis of the plan is
that if individual’s have to pay for their health care, they’ll shop
around, looking for the best bargain, and that that will drive down
costs. Nahhhh. Health is a unique, economic good and won’t follow the
usual market patterns. Look at higher education: consumers pay for much
of the cost, but the prices still rise at three times inflation every
year. When it comes to doctor care, I doubt that I’m unusual. I always
go for the top expert and the hell with the costs. If they didn’t have
the insurance to cover much of the cost, some consumers might shop for
cheaper, but I’m unconvinced.
Back to Obama: how will he respond? Zakaria summarizes the issue this way:
Obama has an obvious script in front
of him. He could turn every item in Ryan’s plan into an attack ad, scare
the elderly and ride to victory in 2012. But that would probably mean
we had pushed off reform of entitlement programs one more time, hoping
that someone sometime in the future will lead this country..
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