Friday, April 25, 2003
How do you spell "elitist?": Try K-R-U-G-M-A-N. Today, if you hadn't heard it before, Krugman reveals that he's none too fond of the Bush tax cuts -- past or present.
This time, Krugman uses Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt's recently-announced health care plan to present his argument.
[C]ongressman Richard Gephardt's new proposal — to scrap the 2001 tax cut and use the reclaimed revenue to provide health benefits to the uninsured — has been widely dismissed as unrealistic. And in political terms that's probably true. After all, these days it's considered "moderate" to support an irresponsible tax cut that is merely large, as opposed to gigantic.
But today I'd like to take a holiday from political realism, and ask a naïve question: Why shouldn't the American people favor a proposal like Mr. Gephardt's? Never mind the details; why shouldn't the typical citizen, faced with a choice between Bush-style tax cuts and a plan to provide health insurance to most of the uninsured, choose the latter?
Ummm...because the tax cut will help spur job growth and the economy, while the health care plan will not?
Krugman, who likes to assail the rich and corporate America on a regular basis, finds it convenient to think kindly of the very companies he typically vilifies when it benefits his argument.
Would ending that risk [of the loss of health insurance] be worth several hundred dollars a year to the typical family? (It doesn't have to be worth $800: Mr. Gephardt's plan, which would provide increased tax credits to employers, would also lead to higher wages, offsetting some of the tax-cut reversal.) Yes, without question.
What exactly makes Krugman believe that greedy companies would take that extra money they keep from the tax credits and pass it on to their employees? I've got a pretty generous employer (as media companies go), but you'll excuse me if I choose to count on a politician (who I can vote out of office) to provide me with more money than I do a greedy corporate bigwig (that I have no power over).
If American families knew what was good for them, then most of them — all but a small, affluent minority — would cheerfully give up their tax cuts in return for a guarantee that health care would be there when needed. And even the affluent might prefer to live in a society where no sick child was left behind.
Hello, I'm Paul Krugman. I'm smarter than you. If you agree with me, then you know what's good for you. Otherwise, you're simply stupid.
I'm sorry, but that arrogance makes me sick.
Also, seriously, is there a sick child that gets left behind in this country? Remember just a few months ago that an illegal immigrant child was smuggled into the United States for a lifesaving organ transplant (that went tragically wrong)? I will concede that there are problems with the health care system in this country, but I don't think that any child is "left behind."
Anyone sat in a hospital emergency room lately? Did you see them turning people away because they had no insurance? No money? Didn't think so. As far as expensive, lifesaving operations go, I've covered fund-raiser after fund-raiser that small communities hold to try to raise money to help families that can't afford operations.
Another suggestion to Professor Krugman: Instead of writing a column about opportunity costs, why don't you look into Gephardt's plan and analyze it. How much will it really cost? What are its pitfalls? What are its strong points? Economically how feasible is it? Use some of those degrees you have!