Tyler Cowen has some comments on the ObamaCare chatter

. . . the “war” is the joint view — extremely common in America — that a) tax revenues are on an acceptable track, and b) we should spend more and more on health care each year at high rates, including in per capita terms.

If you think that dual project is sustainable, you may be relatively interested in estimates relative to baseline.  If, like me, you think that project is like a failed and failing war, a success “relative to baseline” won’t much impress you.  In fact it may scare you all the more to hear about success relative to baseline, as that can be taken as a signal that there is no really good plan behind the scenes.  Here are a few factors which could radically upset current mainstream baselines:

Its not immediately clear to me what these two paragraphs mean exactly, but off the cuff I don’t know who the folks are who think that current tax revenues combined increasing health care spending is sustainable.

There are certainly people who don’t think about it much, that probably constitutes the bulk of society. Then there are people like me who think that sustainability is not an important consideration. Well, that’s probably just me, but I think I am slowly winning converts.

However, the mass of the chattering class is constantly talking about the need to reign in health care costs and/or reform the tax code, often with an eye towards more revenue.

Perhaps more interesting to me is this point by Tyler

Imagine people sitting around in Spain, in 2006, debating various scenarios relative to the “baseline budget.”  Maybe that’s America today, though we do not face the same particular problems or timing that Spain did.

This sounds like a point I would make. Doesn’t this reveal not only the asininity of this entire exercise but the deep foolishness in thinking that responsible and prudent action will save you from being royally screwed. After all, Spain had not only a low budget deficit but was running a strong surplus. They were a prime example of a good little European citizen. And, now here they are on the verge of destruction and being pressed into ever worse policies by the European elite.

My growing sense is that in their heart of hearts most people just can’t accept that the world is fundamentally unfair. They think there must have been something that could have been done to prevent this badness. If only . . .

If only nothing in many cases. You were just screwed. That is life.

If you want to get out with your head intact then the question is not how to be responsible but how to survive a crisis. When you are engulfed in flames – and you will be – what do you do?

This is why if there is any lesson from all of this it is to point out how fantastically awful the ECB’s management of the crisis has been. Will this stop policy makers from screwing up similarly in the future, of course not.

The hope is that we will know who to hang, and that we can proceed with the hangings in short order. That is the way out.

About these ads