I know it’s a little early, but it’s a short week and I find it difficult to believe that this post by Ronald Brownstein can be topped for sheer cluelessness. How could anyone hope to surpass the childlike credulity required to believe that the Baucus “reform” bill set a “standard” for fiscal responsibility to which Congress will now adhere:

Baucus’ bill was the first to establish the principle that Congress could expand coverage while reducing the federal deficit; now that’s the standard not only for the Senate but also the House reform legislation.

My cat, George,  isn’t naive enough to believe the budget projections promulgated by Baucus and his accomplices on the Senate Finance Committee. As Michael Cannon wrote when the Baucus bill was voted out of committee, its advertised $829 billion price tag was less than half of what it would have actually cost:

Sen. Max Baucus’s (D-MT) health care overhaul would cost more than $2 trillion.  It would expand the deficit.  But he has carefully and methodically hidden those facts – so well that he has completely hoodwinked nearly all the major media.

Like his hoodwinked colleagues , Brownstein really seems to think that the Baucus example has lit the way toward fiscally responsible reform. Unfortunately, this isn’t the intellectual nadir of Brownstein’s post. In addition to being hopelessly naive about congressional cost estimates, he also believes Congress can repeal the law of supply and demand:

To save costs … Republicans mostly want to change the incentives for patients … In essence, the Republican view is that the best way to hold down long-term costs is to directly expose patients to more of them. Few Democrats accept that logic …

In other words, “few Democrats accept” the existence of an immutable law of economics. Brownstein obviously doesn’t understand that market forces continue to manifest themselves regardless of how many Democrats (or journalists) “accept” them. Arnold Kling responds to this remarkable passage as follows:

When you read “that logic,” what is meant is the law of supply and demand. It’s a good thing that Congress doesn’t vote on whether to accept the logic of gravity.

Kling should be careful about giving these characters ideas. On the other hand, if Congress really wishes to pass a piece of useful legislation, one that will do the nation some good, I recommend a statute requiring all journalists to take (and pass) Econ 101 before being eligible to write about government entitlement programs.


If the utter failure of his “stimulus” package hasn’t convinced you that the President should be kept away from an industry as large and important as U.S. health care, that he has been recommending Brownstein’s clueless post should do the trick. 

No, I’m not kidding. Obama evidently liked the piece, and his Chief of Staff has assigned it to his minions as required “homework.” We need to get these people out of there. Brownstein is just a journalist. Obama and his accomplices at the White House have real power.

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