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I Don’t Think It Works That Way

October 14th, 2009 · 4 Comments

Megan sez:

That’s a bold prediction.  I’m skeptical.  I think it is more likely is that this thing passes, and fails spectacularly.  There are too many moving parts, and if any of them breaks, the whole thing rapidly starts to spin out of control and eat a gigantic hole in the deficit.  If it does break, I think that Democrats keep control of Congress just long enough to explain why they keep having to enact whopping new tax increases every few years.  Republicans don’t need to improve their message.  They just have to wait for Democrats to recover their reputation as tax and spend politicians who woefully underpredict the cost of everything they propose.

Because as we know, universal entitlement programs become wildly unpopular once it’s clear that their costs are utterly unsustainable without huge tax increases. The programs are promptly repealed, and become a huge liability to the party that proposed them.



As Mr. Smith said, there’s a lot of ruin in a nation. If the implosion isn’t pretty damn quick, I expect the cement will have set.

Tags: Economics



4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Megan McArdle // Oct 14, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    You are assuming that “fails spectacularly” means the program ends . . . all I said was that it wouldn’t work as described, and would cause massive problems.

  • 2 Barry // Oct 15, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Megan – just W(hy)TF should we care about your opinion? You regularly show yourself to be either full of it or lying, in fields where one might (wrongly) assume that a Chigago MBA leads to some understanding.

    Frankly, you and your fiance are just two members of the professional astroturf association; you just have better cover.

  • 3 Barry // Oct 15, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Julian, you’re assuming that Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are unsuccessful. They’ve done a lot of good, and the of Medicare alone is a potential problem, which might be helped by healthcare reform.

  • 4 Adam Herman // Oct 17, 2009 at 2:57 am

    Not all entitlements are created equal. Social Security and Medicare are popular. They will always exist and be cut back only with great reluctance, and only in the face of a crisis.

    However, welfare has never been popular. It was a millstone around Democrats necks until the 1996 reform, which cut the rolls by 2/3rds.

    This current reform effort is also fairly unpopular and I don’t think it’s going to get any more popular once it goes into effect in 2013. It will always be vulnerable and always be a political liability for Democrats until it is eventually cut back and reformed by Republicans like welfare was.