Hard to Split Cloud, Silver Lining

Signing healthcare reformTeasing out the link between moderation in health spending and subpar economic growth is a daunting but important task that could have a big and unpredictable impact on the American economy in the years and decades ahead.
Continue reading Hard to Split Cloud, Silver Lining

The Tea Party Luddites

dont tread Ask Tea Party adherents what inspires them most and many will say their reverence of history. Indeed it’s not unusual at Tea Party rallies to see bands of self-referential patriots dressed up in Revolutionary War garb, wearing tricorn hats and carrying their defiant Don’t Tread on Me flags. Continue reading The Tea Party Luddites

Adding Doctors Inflates Bills Without Aiding Health

Congresspeople Schwartz and Schock While much of Washington worries about how to constrain Medicare costs, two contrarian legislators want the program to spend $1 billion more annually to fund residency training for new doctors.

Their plan responds to a projected physician shortage. There’s heated debate about whether there will be a physician deficit in the future and, if so, how to best respond. There’s less debate about whether increasing the physician supply will increase our medical bills. It’s intuitive. More doctors will not only bill more so they can make an adequate living, but will order more tests and referrals. Normal economic logic that increased supply drives prices down doesn’t work in medicine. Continue reading Adding Doctors Inflates Bills Without Aiding Health

Mitt Romney: Gordon Gekko or Thurston Howell?

Is Mitt Romney more like Gordon Gekko, the greedy anti-hero in the movie Wall Street, or Thurston Howell, the elitist millionaire in the TV show Gilligan’s Island? Is he a rapacious, heartless capitalist with no conscience, or a conceited man of privilege who doesn’t have a clue how the rest of us live but patronizingly believes he does?

The Obama campaign has chosen the Gekko frame to define Romney for the fall election and has staked its early advertising on it. But Howell may be an even better bet. Continue reading Mitt Romney: Gordon Gekko or Thurston Howell?

Conservative Judicial Activism?

Some liberal commentators have worked themselves into a righteous lather over the Supreme Court’s hearings on the constitutionality of Obamacare. In particular, E.J. Dionne, Jr. of the Washington Post accused conservative justices of acting “as an alternative legislature, diving deeply into policy details as if they were members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.”

It’s the conservatives, seethed Dionne, who are the real judicial activists, whom they pretend to deplore. What blatant hypocrisy! Continue reading Conservative Judicial Activism?