Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Coming to Terms with the Fallout of Health Care

A  friend and I have been having a discussion about the health care bill.  He thinks that the entitlement features and the goodies which come first will benefit Obama.  I think the bill is wildly unpopular.  Turns out, according to a USA Today poll that the numbers seem to support my position.  65% of the respondents believe the recently passed bill is too expensive and to intrusive.  That mirrors a poll taken by the WP yesterday.

My logic on this bill is simple.  The American people are grumpy about their current state - in the WP more than two thirds think the country is headed in the wrong direction.  A lot of the grumpiness stems from the perception that Washington is a place of special deals.   The American people did not like the bailouts.  They did not like all the deals that made the health care bill possible.  That is regardless of whether that is the way public policy is made in this era.

My conclusion is that the President will have a mighty hard time in convincing the American people that the proposal will ultimately do all the things that he says it will - including reducing the deficit.  The deficit by the way is a proxy for the bailouts - people don't like all this debt and the rapid increase in debt.

The whistling in the dark response from many of health care's supporters is that if the GOP takes over in November they will not be able to repeal the entitlement.  I am not so sure.  Part of the strategy would be to fail to fund the implementing parts of the bill (like the 18,000 new IRS agents).

All of this depends in part on the GOP coming up with a reasonable set of ideas to move the country forward.  We cannot get back to the thrilling days of 2008.  If they have learned their lessons (and that is a big if) they will be victorious in 2010.  If not, get ready for continued grumpiness.

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