Well... Paul Krugman stepped in it a bit this week with his comment,
"some years down the pike, we're going to get the real solution, which is going to be a combination of death panels and sales taxes"Which would seem to be 'stupid' enough, but I think his explanation for it on his blog (very appropriately named "Conscience of a liberal") is, if anything, even more illuminating and damning at the same time.
"Death Panels and Sales TaxesKrugman notes he's said things like this before (which I guess makes it all better), and others, myself included, have noted what Newsbusters notes, that many others have said the same thing before... though not on the campaign trail for some reason... such as,
I said something deliberately provocative on This Week, so I think I’d better clarify what I meant (which I did on the show, but it can’t hurt to say it again.)
So, what I said is that the eventual resolution of the deficit problem both will and should rely on “death panels and sales taxes”. What I meant is that
(a) health care costs will have to be controlled, which will surely require having Medicare and Medicaid decide what they’re willing to pay for — not really death panels, of course, but consideration of medical effectiveness and, at some point, how much we’re willing to spend for extreme care
(b) we’ll need more revenue — several percent of GDP — which might most plausibly come from a value-added tax
And if we do those two things, we’re most of the way toward a sustainable budget.
By the way, I’ve said this before.
Now, you may declare that this is politically impossible. But medical costs must be controlled somehow, or nothing works. And is a modest VAT really so much more implausible than ending the mortgage interest deduction?
So that’s my plan. And I believe that some day — maybe in the first Chelsea Clinton administration — it will actually happen."
"This budget balancing approach was similarly advocated by former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich in 2007:What the do-gooders like my Sister-in-law, and several of my old friends, don't want to consider or be slowed down by in their rush to do good unto you and me, are those very things which the bean counters and bureaucrats will be in charge of handling in the end, after those do-gooders have rushed off onto their next enthusiasm. And those bean counters and bureaucrats, having been given the power to do so by the do-gooders, will be left to simply take it upon themselves to make those decisions (life or death ones) based less upon considerations of Right and Wrong or the Rights of those involved ("and really, 'right'? 'wrong'? Rights?! How old fashioned!"), than on satisfying their own pressing political expediencies of "... medical costs must be controlled somehow, or nothing works...".
We're going to have to, if you're very old, we're not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It's too expensive...so we're going to let you die."
Simply put, your concerns for your life and those of your loved ones, are going to be given minimal concern, in order to ensure that those things which are of concern to the bean counters and bureaucrats are kept in order so that they can 'make the trains run on time'.
Perhaps it's stupid of me, but that doesn't ease my mind one bit, but it does neatly sum up the conscience of a leftist: do whatever it is that makes you feel kind, good and swell, and either ignore the possible consequences or hunker down and say 'it's for the common good', and let the bureaucracy clean up after you.
On behalf of the stupid people, I'd like to ask the smart people if that seems a particularly smart or even sensitive thing to do?