Friday, February 26, 2010

Clients or Citizens?

In yesterday's massive pile of pony manure, the universally maligned healthcare summit at Blair House, there was indeed a buried pony. Here is said pony: the six minutes of Paul Ryan explaining with laser-like sharpness exactly what ails ObamaCare:

Ryan wasted not a word and neglected not a salient point, in our view. Everything he said about the financing is utterly and totally true, and it does no good to note that both parties have from time to time hidden the costs of their initiatives with budget tricks. The truth is out there, and this is the truth.

But amidst the costs of ObamaCare, Ryan also nicely lays out why Rs insist that this bill needs to be done over entirely. Republicans disagree with the fundamental premise of ObamaCare because they have a fundamentally different view of the body politic. Ryan makes this his pointed conclusion: that the essential difference between Ds and Rs on this issue is that Ds want the government to control costs and Rs want people to control costs.

The difference in effectiveness between fiat price controls and markets setting costs by supply and demand is well enough known not to need repetition. Need we cite the fact that those small segments of the medical industry where government subsidies do not play a role--like laser vision correction and cosmetic surgery--are also those where actual cost competition is strongly at work?

As a handy heuristic and mnemonic device, we recommend the following: Democrats regard Americans as clients. Republicans regard them as citizens.

This difference is so vivid and deeply ingrained in both parties that BHO at one point yesterday remarked that health insurance coverage must be first-dollar coverage because otherwise people won't go to the doctor. His Americans are clients who need care, not citizens who make decisions.

Oddly enough, Hollywood has a movie coming out in which a character loudly proclaims that because BHO is President, "We make decisions." Let's hope so.

SWNIDish postscript: If the election were held today, we would vote for Paul Ryan for President. We like what we saw in those six minutes.

Update: IBD notes what we note: Ryan lays out the facts, and BHO does not rebut them.


Anonymous said...

I find it interesting to note that often times the "R" Presidents can only pass "D" ideas and the "D" Presidents can only pass "R" ideas. NAFTA being one example, medicare drug benefit being another.

I wonder if BHO tried the "R" ideas how far it would go?


Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Anon, we too note with some curiosity that many legislative achievements are results of compromise when government is divided. To your list we'd add welfare reform, No Child Left Behind, and Reagan's tax cuts and defense buildup.

We are confident that if BHO got behind R ideas or Wyden-Bennett, still an genuinely bipartisan approach that has the chance to "work," he'd get a bill to sign. We believe that he refuses to do so, either too convinced of the transparent correctness of his own position, too beholden to his sponsors on the left, including labor unions, or both.