Sunday, April 14, 2013

Guest post: Observations on Paul Krugman’s Column: “Medicaid and Freedom”

Observations on Paul Krugman’s Column: “Medicaid and Freedom”
Samuel L. Skogstad

New York Times columnist---or, more accurately, polemicist—Paul Krugman is also a Nobel Laureate in economics, and a distinguished professor at Columbia University. Yet his NYT columns regularly and consistently overflow with flaming, hate-filled rhetoric against “conservatives” and “Republicans.” Exaggeration, vilification, and sweeping unsupported generalizations are his preferred tools of “analysis.” His “Medicaid and Freedom,” reprinted in the Sarasota Herald Tribune on April 9, 2013 is an excellent example of his use of these instruments of bigotry and demagoguery.

In that column he reiterates his usual theme, namely that “the U.S. Right” (which he uses interchangeably with “conservative,” and “republican”) only favors policies “comforting the comfortable, and afflicting the afflicted.” The proof he offers is the expected opposition of many Republicans to the Medicaid expansion in President Obama’s proposed FY 2014 budget. He adds that “Republicans oppose the expansion of programs that help the less fortunate.”

Krugman’s intellectual contortions allow him to conclude that the massive expansion of government control over the production, delivery and pricing of health care and health insurance (he doesn’t distinguish between the two,) (aka Obamacare) will greatly increase individual freedom. If you oppose it you oppose freedom. This is the way charlatans argue. What has become of the modest and respected scholar who toils away in the vineyards of academia, seeking truth through honest, objective and rigorous inquiry?

This observer and many of his fellow economists believe that Obamacare is a nightmare of confusion and complexity, precisely because it seizes control over the production and delivery of health insurance and care. If the problem is that too few people can afford access to the healthcare system, a far less expensive and less inefficient way to attack it would seem to be to let the public sector role in paying for it expand, while relying on the price system and free private markets to deal with its production and delivery. There is much room for legitimate debate on the definition of the problem and possible solutions. But Krugman is not advancing the cause of honest dialogue by merely genuflecting before Obamacare and vilifying people with competing points of view.
Dr. Skogstad is an economics professor and a brother Marine. ~Bob

No comments:

Post a Comment