Thursday, May 6, 2010

Health Reform's Credibility Problem

In the course of making a point about Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, Matt Yglesias offers this:
Meanwhile, no matter what you do aren’t you going to be left with a major credibility problem? congress can pass a law saying “we promise we’re not guaranteeing these debts” but will that be credible? After all, they were never officially guaranteed in the first place. Yet when Congress voted in spring 2008 to lay the groundwork for bailing them out, it was barely even controversial. And there’s just no way for the 111th Congress to ensure that the 118th won’t change the law and authorize new bailouts.
The idea that you simply can't count on future Congresses to live up to commitments made today seems eerily similar to claims made by many on the right over the tax on high cost health plans. That's the one that doesn't kick in until 2018, and is extremely unpopular with Labor, a major Democratic constituency.

Now that Yglesias is on board with this notion, it would be nice if both the left and the right could simply stipulate it and we could move on. Perhaps even move on to talking about whether or not foisting the cost of current consumption on future generations is a good way to run a country.

Maybe we could even ask the Greeks since it seems for them at least, the future is now.

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