F.D.R. had his New Deal; well, Mr. Obama has his Big Deal….Consider, in particular, three areas: health care, inequality and financial reform.
So writes Paul Krugman in today’s New York Times in a paean to the accomplishments of the re-elected president. Krugman explains:
Health reform is, as Mr. Biden suggested, the centerpiece of the Big Deal. Progressives have been trying to get some form of universal health insurance since the days of Harry Truman; they’ve finally succeeded.
Yet there is some dissent:
True, this wasn’t the health reform many were looking for. Rather than simply providing health insurance to everyone by extending Medicare to cover the whole population, we’ve constructed a Rube Goldberg device of regulations and subsidies that will cost more than single-payer and have many more cracks for people to fall through.
Then there is income inequality:
Over all, 1-percenters will see their after-tax income fall around 6 percent; for the top tenth of a percent, the hit rises to around 9 percent.
But again — dissent:
This will reverse only a fraction of the huge upward redistribution that has taken place since 1980.
And third, Mr. Krugman cites Dodd-Frank and “financial reform.” But there is still dissent:
The Dodd-Frank reform bill is often disparaged as toothless, and it’s certainly not the kind of dramatic regime change one might have hoped for after runaway bankers brought the world economy to its knees.
Great. We have a health care plan that raises costs for everyone and covers fewer people, a tax policy that punishes success without any meaningful benefit to the less wealthy, and financial reform that is “toothless” and probably nothing more than an onerous new layer of costly bureaucracy. These are “accomplishments.” And in our new era of “symbol equals reality,” we are to ignore those who disagree with the symbolism and accept the notion that “well, we tried” is as good as “great, we did it.”
By the by, who is the “dissenter” to the Krugman column? Krugman himself. Yes. All these quotes are taken from the same article.
We have a headache.