Monday, January 25, 2016

News Flash: Bernie Opposed the Iraq War and Other Countries Have Single Payer

When he was asked about Obama''s comment today that you have to focus on many issues as President-of course, Bernie focuses most on campaign finance-his response was that he understands and that proof that he's up to the job is he opposed the Iraq War. 

Isn't that the whole problem with his record? I still remember my argument with a Bernie supporter on Twitter who told me indignantly that Bernie has 'introduced a lot of legislation' into Congress and is known as the Amendment King. 

When I asked her how many of them passed, her response was even more indignant: Well sure if that's all you care about, what was acceptable to the corporatists. 

Well, no one gets the benefit of any bills that don't get passed or even have any other sponsors. 

He then pointed out that we ar ethe only country without single payer-which isn't completely true; some countries have a kind of amalgamation of a system. France is kind of halfway. 

He says that it's disingenuous and demagogic to point out that he will have to raise taxes to pay for. He argues that if he raises your taxes by $5,000 but you pay $10,000 in premiums then clearly you are better off. 

Sure if it works that way though this is a conjecture at this point without getting into the weeds and testing some of his plans rather rosy assumptions. 

It's also important to remember that any plan you can come up with that will effect literally every single American will have many losers as well as winners. 

Hillary's lesson in her own attempt to pass something like single payer in 1994-not exactly, but close-taught her one key point as Ezra Klein put it: first don't screw with what anyone already has. 

Even if in theory his plan would help many low income people-which is certainly a very big plus-it would also make a number of middle class folks who are  happy with their own employer's plan worse off. 

There coverage would be no better but they'd be paying higher taxes. 

Remember how much squawking there was about Obamacare-how it was going to take everyones employer plans? Well this now will in fact do that. 

So there are a lot of questions in terms of whether this is a plausible idea politically, etc, right now. 

In economics there is something called the time path dependent nature of policy. What this means is that often what might have been the best policy on Day one may not be so anymore at Day 50. I'll look it up later and maybe link it but for now there is a case to be made that in time we could get to universal care via ACA. 

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