I am a fan of Fareed Zakaria and his CNN show “GPS”. Today (April 4, 2010) he had Tom Friedman (The World is Flat). While I disagree with much of Freidman, Zakaria allows different ideas to surface without the rudeness and ideological filter that plagues so much of media. He engages his interviews with some level of depth and is one of the best at bringing forth a rational global perspective.
He also had Andrew Sullivan, a blogger and writer for Atlantic, one of the few magazines I subscribe to . Sullivan believed that the Health Care Reform bill was neither right nor left but was dead center. John Meacham, editor of Newsweek, also made a case for how centrist Obama really is. I fail to see his record so far as a centrist. (I responded to Meacham’s editorial in American Thinker in Anything But a Centrist.)
The reason Rebelyid claims to be positioned to get beyond right and left, is because I find that those terms explain very little. I realize that many will think my positions to be conservative on many issues, but I do not support those issues because they are ‘conservative’ or ‘Republican.’
I truly do not care whether the health care bill is deemed centrist, socialist, or liberal. Either the ideas are good or they are not. I remember being with the economist Richard Timberlake when he was asked if he was of the Keynesian or the Austrian school of economics. He responded that there was good economics and bad economics.
The health care bill seems bad to me because requiring full coverage of preventive care interferes too much into the market and drives up cost. Requiring coverage of pre-existing conditions is a laudable goal that both parties desire. But this requires some price control and shifting; what good is forced coverage you cannot afford? And it requires citizens to be forced to buy insurance; otherwise the risk pool will become polluted and will drive up premiums.
Adding a 3.8% Medicare tax on investment on top of an expected 5% point increase on investment income will clearly discourage risk and investment which seems foolish with a 10% unemployment rate. It will reduce the tax revenue and make the deficit worse than projected.
These are a few of many negative consequences that seem clear from the outset, but with such a long and complex bill there are certain to be other major disruptions in the market that we have not yet envisioned. Government works best when it institutes a few clear rules and enforces transparency. It works poorest when it creates complex systems with a lot of regulations.
Whether this bill is leftist or centrist is irrelevant. It seems likely that it will cause costs to both increase and shift to the young. I agree with Sullivan that the electorate cannot have lower taxes and undisturbed benefits. Those who protest the deficit must be willing to give up some benefit to achieve a lower deficit. It seems inevitable we will means test benefits such as Social Security and cut obsolete programs such as farm subsidies. Obama advocated cutting obsolete programs while on the campaign trail. If he wanted to execute a centrist policy then he should make good on that promise.
But the advocates of the health care reform are also unrealistic. They claim they will expand coverage, cut costs and not sacrifice service or quality. This will not happen. It reminds me of an axiom in the steel business that applies to most business:
“Price, Service, Quality – Pick two out of three.”