October 8, 2007


I read in the papers about President Bush's heartless veto of SCHIP -- and that's how it's always described, heartless, like he's taking money from orphans or is going to personally infect these nameless masses of kids with some horrible disease and then sit back and laugh in the White House as they aren't treated because they don't have "access" to health insurance - and I had a couple of thoughts.

First off, I thought after the Democrats raised the minimum wage in this country, nobody was going to be poor anymore. Silly me. Too bad they didn't have a set of bench marks for that feel good but harm some while helping some others kind of non-solution. The way to raise wages isn't by legislative fiat but by helping people to be more productive.

Secondly, where were all these handringers when President Bush was proposing tax cuts for parents? What a novel idea, let parents decide where they want to spend their money for the children, not Washington.

The crazy thing is, the fight is over just how much the program gets expanded, and oh by the way we're already covering kids above "the poverty line".

Before we get caught up in all the partisan back and forth, with deception the rule of the day, or go all gushy because children are involved, let's think. What kind of healthcare system do we want - one with more third party pay, or one with less? And how do we want to pay for programs - with targeted taxes on one group to help another group, or with broad based taxes to help broad swaths of society? Do we want a battle over icons, another meaningless skirmish between two political parties, or do we want to think clearly about public policy? Because in the mangled words of a real political titan, here we go again -- down the path of slogan wars and demonizing not just what we don't understand, but what we don't want to understand.

Posted by Kevin Murphy at October 8, 2007 11:39 AM | National Politics