Friday, September 28, 2007

David Brooks: The Entitlements People

A read the whole thing analysis by the NYT's David Brook:
...According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of uninsured children has been declining steadily for years. It shouldn’t be that costly or hard to insure the ones that are left.

And yet because S-chip is a product of the current climate, the expansion plan in Congress has all sorts of corruptions and dishonesties built in. First, it perpetuates a smoke screen of obfuscation between who pays and who chooses. States have an incentive to ramp up benefits because they know that most of the cost will be borne by taxpayers somewhere else. Second, it entices children out of private and into public insurance, even though after 2012 it cannot cover the cost.

Third, it creates a fund-raising mechanism cowardly in the extreme. Politicians in Washington like to talk in the abstract about shared sacrifice. They could go to the American people and say: We need to insure more children and to do that we’re going to raise broad-based taxes slightly.

But that’s honest and direct, and therefore impermissible. Instead, this program is funded by raising taxes on smokers, who generally are much poorer than average Americans and much less educated...



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