August 14, 2002

Cats and Dogs Almost Living Together

Raining frogs, plagues of locusts, cats and dogs living together! I agree with the Wall Street Journal editorial page:

WSJ.com - Major Business News: ...we'd like to offer one post-Waco suggestion. To wit, that President Bush convene a more workable forum and think seriously about economic policy. We'd suggest he lock himself in a room with Larry Lindsey from the White House, Glenn Hubbard from the Council of Economic Advisers and John Taylor from the Treasury. Then he could reach out to Stanford University to add Michael Boskin...

That's a good idea. An economic policy made by those people would be much much better than our current made-by-White-House-Communications policy.

On second thought, I don't agree with the WSJ. They add to that list:

John Cogan and Martin Anderson.

Anderson is the Reagan hack who misrepresented what the sources of the 1980s deficit were. John Cogan spent the late 1980s and early 1990s arguing that budget deficits were caused by the institutional structure of Congressional decision making. To the best of my knowledge, he has never found the time to acknowledge that the end of the deficit in the 1990s was in striking contradiction to all his writings. For the rapid contraction and cure of the deficit once Clinton made it presidential priority number one shows that the institutions are the tools, not the masters, of the High Politicians.

Whew. Saved from having to agree...

Posted by DeLong at August 14, 2002 11:17 AM | TrackBack

Comments

Mureen Dowd

New York Times

President Bush tried to fix the economy before lunch yesterday.

He managed to last for 20 minutes each in four economic seminars at Baylor University. He dutifully scribbled some notes as participants talked, looking as happy as a high school kid in trig class, and bounded out of his chair when Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill told him he could be excused.

"Yes, well," a visibly relieved Mr. Bush said, jumping up after an exhausting 18 minutes in "Economic Recovery and Job Creation," "that's the life of the president. Always has to go."

Or as the radical economist Groucho Marx once observed: "Hello, I must be going."

Posted by: on August 14, 2002 11:30 AM

[deleted] I'm not interested in having this comment section turned into another usenet-style personal attack-ridden internet slum...

Posted by: on August 14, 2002 01:14 PM

heh, clearly all those years of academia and training could not have given you the ability to arrive at a position through careful thought; you must just be a hack.

Posted by: Dennis on August 14, 2002 01:26 PM

Well, "deficit reduction" is listed as the second bullet point of this unnumbered list from the white house archive:

http://clinton1.nara.gov/White_House/Publications/html/briefs/ii-1-plain.html

Posted by: Jason McCullough on August 14, 2002 01:27 PM

Apparently you are correct, DeLong and Krugman are both liars.

From the new American Heritage dictionary:

Main Entry: li·ar

Pronunciation: 'lI(-&)r

Function: noun

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English lEogere, from lEogan to lie -- more at LIE

Date: before 12th century

: one who makes factually accurate statements which expose the glaring contradictions in the conservative orthodoxy

Posted by: QED on August 14, 2002 01:29 PM

House Approves Clinton Plan to Raise Taxes, Slash Deficit

By Eric Pianin

The Washington Post

WASHINGTON

The House Thursday night approved 243-183 the broad outlines of President Clinton's five-year economic plan, a new Democratic vision for reinvigorating the economy and reducing the deficit by $510 billion that would require a huge tax increase, bruising cuts in defense and major "investment" spending.

Under the plan, adopted as part of a multi-year budget resolution, Pentagon spending over the next five years will be slashed by $115.7 billion more than was recommended by President George Bush -- a move that will cause widespread layoffs in the defense industry and fuel additional base closings.

To help finance Clinton's domestic spending initiatives and to reduce the deficit, the budget resolution also would net about $249 billion in new revenue, one of the largest tax increases in U.S. history.

The Democrat-controlled House also moved toward approval of a $16.2 billion economic stimulus package, after opposition from Rep. Charles W. Stenholm, D-Tex., and other conservative Democrats melted in the face of vigorous last-minute lobbying by Clinton and congressional leaders.

Clinton was up until midnight Wednesday telephoning House members to solicit support.

"The president is a very powerful lobbyist," said Stenholm, who was blocked by the leadership from offering an amendment that could have eliminated more than half the stimulus. "We struck out." ...cont.

Posted by: Eric Pianin's Washington Post Article on August 14, 2002 01:42 PM

The Clinton Tax Increase: Why taxing the rich makes sense

SYNOPSIS:

A big fight is looming over one of the key elements of Bill Clinton's economic program: higher income taxes for wealthy Americans. Families with taxable incomes above $ 140,000 currently pay a tax rate of 31 percent. The Clinton plan will raise that rate to 36 percent, and families with taxable income over $ 250,000 will pay 39.6 percent. To block these increases, the Republicans have wheeled out heavy intellectual artillery. Harvard's Martin Feldstein, a former Reagan adviser who fell out with his boss over federal budget deficit reduction, claims that new taxes on the rich will raise very little money and may even end up increasing the deficit.

Raising taxes on high incomes makes sense. During the 1980s, the incomes of the top 1 percent of families doubled in real terms while the incomes of middle-class households stagnated and the poor got poorer. The tax policies pursued by the Reagan and Bush administrations were not the main cause of the growing inequality in the United States, but they did favor the well-off. Now we face a huge budget deficit, much of it to pay interest on the debt run up under Reagan and Bush. It's not irrational to think that those who prospered most during the 1980s should pay a large share of the bills from that decade. It is also politically crucial for the Clinton administration to place as much of the new tax burden as possible on high-income families. After all, what is the alternative? Leaving aside the usual rhetoric about eliminating waste and fraud, the only serious option is to raise taxes or cut benefits for the middle class and poor. So while the president has called for a little bit of sacrifice from all Americans, he wants to concentrate the pain on people with high incomes. Indeed, he proudly declares that 70 percent of the taxes he proposes to raise will come from only 2 percent of the population.

Rich reaction. Nobody knows for sure how rich American families will react to Clinton's new tax initiatives. Think of a family that currently has a taxable income of $ 200,000. The Clinton program will raise the rate on the top $ 60,000 of that income from 31 to 36 percent; if the family doesn't change the way it works and saves, it will pay $ 3,000 in additional taxes. But suppose that the family decides, in the face of these higher taxes, to work a little less or to increase contributions to a tax-deferred retirement plan. If these steps reduced taxable income by $ 10,000, for example, the tax revenue will be $ 600 less than before.

Clinton's economic advisers have not released the assumptions and methodology behind their revenue estimates, but reports indicate that they assume no reduction in work effort and only a small amount of tax avoidance. In fact, it is possible that some high-income families may actually work harder because of higher taxes. Suppose a couple earning $ 200,000 a year has a $ 600,000 mortgage, two children in expensive colleges, large car payments and lavish tastes. To maintain this lifestyle, the couple might redouble their efforts in the workplace to compensate for the income lost to higher taxes.

What about tax loopholes? During the 1970s, well-off families engaged in elaborate legal schemes such as oil- and gas-drilling partnerships to shelter income from taxes. Supporters of Clinton's plan argue that today's tax laws offer many fewer loopholes -- and that the president's plan tries to close some of those that remain. Still, Clinton's critics claim that ingenious taxpayers and their lawyers will find legal ways to make taxable income vanish.

Despite the uncertainties, taxing rich American families to help reduce the nation's enormous budget deficit is a policy worth supporting. What is the downside? The new taxes on high incomes are only part of the Clinton plan. If revenue from these levies is $ 10 billion less than expected, it certainly won't kill the $ 6 trillion U.S. economy. Republicans worry about the impact of the tax increases on work incentives and economic growth, but the American economy thrived in the face of much higher taxes on well-off families during the 1950s and 1960s.

And consider the benefits. Higher taxes on the rich will probably raise a lot of money, although the revenues may not reach the $ 25 billion-a-year level that Clinton's advisers expect. Equally important, heavier taxes on the wealthy will help convince middle-class Americans that the sacrifices they still have to bear -- the energy tax and the soon-to-be-announced costs of health reform -- are fair.

So, two cheers -- and crossed fingers -- for the Clinton tax plan.

Originally published, 5.31.93

Posted by: Krugman supports Clinton's deficit reduction Plan on August 14, 2002 01:43 PM

As my previous two posts show, the deficit reduction package was passed before the Republicans took control of the Congress in 1994. If the above poster Dennis is going to call Bradford Delong a "pathetic liar" and a "hack" I suggest he examine whether his own "standards of probity" and "ability to arrive at a position through careful thought" are not compromised by hatred. Remember, in Christian theology (which I believe in), anger is a sin. I know Krugman is often angry too. However, the "Krugman disease" that Dennis condemns seems to be something called "honesty".

Now, to lighten the mood with some humor:

"Integrity is essential. If you can fake integrity, you've got it made." -- Groucho Marx

Posted by: WP article & Krugman on August 14, 2002 02:04 PM

Re: "you must simply be a pathetic liar"

Sir,

I know this might be difficult for you to hear so

please be sure you're sitting down.

Not everything you hear on Rush Limbaugh is, how should I put this...accurate.

Read "The Agenda" by Bob Woodward. It is about the first hundred days of the Clinton Presidency.

It lays out exactly what they were focused on in those early days. Clinton ran on a single message. "It's the economy stupid". I am sure must know at least that much. Even Rush mentioned it from time to time. They set about trying to solve the problem. He spent the first few weeks of the transition with Robert Rubin attached to

his hip. Rubin told him they would need to lower

long term interest rates. That required them to convince the bond market they were serious about reducing the deficit. They came up with a plan that included increases for the most affluent, a defacto rate cut for wage earners because they

raised the ceiling on how much you can earn before

federal income taxes kick in, and expanded the earn income tax credit. They wined and dined Greenspan and were able to bring him on board as

endorsing their plan. That helped sell it to the bond market and interest rates began to fall. The

expanding of available credit lifted the economy out of the doldrums and the tax increases began to swell the treasury. That's what happened. I know you might not have heard about it in the conservative echo chamber, but nevertheless, it did happen. What, exactly did the Republican

congress do that lowered the deficit? Name one thing. Take it away, dittohead..

Nick F

Posted by: nick foresta on August 14, 2002 02:10 PM

To speak of fiscal developments as being a matter of an individual President's priority, without reference to the make-up and priorities of Congress, to say nothing of larger macro-economic trends and geo-political developments (anybody hear of something called a "cold war"?) that the individual President had little, if any, effect on, is revealing of such an ahistorical, short term, view of events as to beggar belief. Seriously now, does one actually believe that 100 years from now, that President Clinton's "priority number one" will be seen as a dwarfing other components of the fiscal trends of the 90's, such as the demise of the Soviet Union (with a concurrent shrinkage of the defense budget), an explosion of technology-driven productivity, which resulted from investments long in the making, to say nothing of the priorities of the institution equally responsible for spending and taxation? One can reference news articles from 1993 to one's heart's content, but how about an article from 1983 about the development of a faster microprocessor, or one from a few years later about the Berlin wall crumbling, or from 1995 about Congress' brief period of relative spending restraint (now sadly gone). All of these developments were as least as responsible, if not more so, as Bill Clinton's "priority number one" for the fiscal trends of the 90s.

Posted by: Will Allen on August 14, 2002 02:17 PM

Thanks for the posts. Remember the Clinton tax plan was a key element the Republicans used in taking control of the Congress. House Leader Gingrich fought Clinton step by step, though fortunately with little success on economic policy. As for DeLong and Krugman, terrific. Krugman is bravely outspoken and wonderfully correct in policy analysis. That he is outspoken is not the matter. That he is correct is what so upsets. DeLong the same. Bravo.

Posted by: on August 14, 2002 02:18 PM

Hmm. Lindsey and Hubbard are hacks too.

See The Two Larrys for Lindsey.

And check out THE RICH, THE RIGHT, AND THE FACTS for Hubbard.

Posted by: Bobby on August 14, 2002 02:26 PM

Yes, it does require breathtaking courage to be the lonely voice critical of George W. Bush in the institution of the New York Times. Truly inspirational.

Posted by: Will Allen on August 14, 2002 02:34 PM

'Seriously now, does one actually believe that 100 years from now, that President Clinton's "priority number one" will be seen as a dwarfing other components of the fiscal trends of the 90's"

I think the technical term for this is "moving the goalposts," Will.

Posted by: Jason McCullough on August 14, 2002 03:31 PM

Call it what you will, but the intent is to draw attention to the inherent silliness in much of what stands for serious discussion regarding economic trends, and how those trends are related to the fiscal policies of our favorite, or most despised, politicians. Presidents do well when they simply avoid screwing up on the scale of a LBJ or Nixon (I favored impeaching Nixon for the imposition of wage and price controls).In the short run, dumb luck plays a large role in how a President's fiscal policies are viewed, and it will only be in the hind-sight of decades that the partisan flames will die down enough to provide objective commentary. My guess is that Reagan will be primarily remembered for applying the coup-de-grace on a totalitarian empire that previous Presidents had also wisely confronted, some more effectively than others. For all the talk of disastrous Reagan deficits, it seems the largest disaster than can be located is the mildest recession of the post war period, so it would seem that his decision to slash marginal rates while undergoing a defense build-up, and not vigorously pursuing a reduction in domestic spending, can be defended reasonably easily. I think it likely Clinton will be remembered as a fairly trivial President, who inherited the office under perhaps the most favorable conditions of any President in the 20th century (one would certainly have to go back to at least Coolidge or Harding for similarly favorable conditions), and then proceeded to risk very little in the pursuit of anything important. Presidents have at most one or two critical issues to face. Reagan's were the management of the conflict of the Soviet Union, and doing what could be done to stem a serious bout of inflation. Any objective observer must conclude that the former task was handled rather well, and that the latter, through the appointment of Paul Volcker was addressed effectively also. If one wishes to argue that the Volcker selection was a lucky choice, feel free; I would rather have a lucky President than a smart one any day. It seems clear that the most pressing long term issue facing this society in the 90s was the actuarially unsound entitlement programs, and Clinton was very hesitant to address them in any fashion, other than to give his wife something to do regarding health care, which she proved to be rather inept at. Regarding international matters, it is hard to see what Clinton had any marked success at, perhaps with the important exception of going against much of his party on NAFTA, which was tempered by his reluctance to risk capital in attempting to maintain Presidential fast-track authority. Much of anything that was accomplished internationally in the 90s was attributable to there no longer being a neo-Stalinist empire around, stirring up trouble, and our current conflict would seem to suggest that much was ignored that would have been better off being attended to. Don't misunderstand, I think it likely that any President, in the wake of the collapse of communism, would have been hard-pressed to marshal the wisdom and political skill necessary to remobilize the foreign policy apparatus to address the trends in the Islamic world, which is why I don't judge Clinton as being a terrible President in this regard, merely an inconsequential one.

Posted by: Will Allen on August 14, 2002 04:28 PM

" ...Equally important, heavier taxes on the wealthy will help convince middle-class Americans that the sacrifices they still have to bear -- the energy tax and the soon-to-be-announced costs of health reform -- are fair."

The what?

;-)

Posted by: Jim Glass on August 14, 2002 05:02 PM

>>>John Cogan spent the late 1980s and early 1990s arguing that budget deficits were caused by the institutional structure of Congressional decision making. >> To the best of my knowledge, he has never found the time to acknowledge that the end of the deficit in the 1990s was in striking contradiction to all his writings. <<<

But was it?? I just looked back to 1997 -- well after the Clinton tax hikes and budget plan were in place -- and the CBO's budget projection was for deficits rising from $100 billion then to $170 billion in 2000 and then up and through the $200 billion range in later years.

That being the case, the big surpluses we got instead sure look a lot to me like they came from unexpected revenue during an unexpected boom. And, once that revenue got expected and built into the Congressional budget process, well, here we are with deficits again. I'm not sure we can't take this as confirmation of what Cogan wrote.

Not that some fiscal discipline didn't make a difference, starting with Bush I's agreement with Congress to put spending caps and PAYGO spending rules for new appropriations in place, in exchange for the tax hike that got him unelected, and then Clinton's role too. (I'd amend Cogan to include the President as a player in the process who makes some difference -- but he's not a dictator, and is subject to many of the same incentives it is.) Yet those 1997 CBO numbers seem to show it all left us still far short of the mark.

And then, what happened when the unexpected surplus hit? Paygo went out the window and discretionary spending boomed that very year -- without any change of Adminstration or leadership to explain it.

If fact, didn't someone on his excellent weblog have a talk with a former budget chief (Rudy Penner?) about this very phenomenon? [Searching "Penner" on your site..] Ah, yes...

"So what happened at the beginning of 1998 to change things so completely? That's still not clear to me...

"Rudy: I believe it was the surplus. PAYGO was originally designed to stop tax and entitlement policy from increasing the deficit. (Really, to preserve the gains from the 1990 budget agreement.) After 1997, it had the effect of preventing any reduction of the surplus and that didn't make much sense...."

Nope. No sense to Congress at all! Then the boom went away and here we are again. Was Cogan *so* wrong?

Posted by: Jim Glass on August 14, 2002 06:29 PM

Will Allen's comment can be reduced to one sentence: in the 1990s U.S., computer technology, the end of Soviet rivalry, and changed Congressional priorities were at least as influential as Bill Clinton in turning a budget deficit into a surplus. He may be right, but he provides no specific evidence that these factors were “at least as influential, if not more so” as he claims.

Even if this is true, Bill Clinton did more for deficit-reduction than the alternative, a re-elected George Bush Sr., probably could have. This is not necessarily because Clinton was a better president than a two-term Bush Sr. would have been. Rather, Clinton had political support within his party for making unpopular tax rate hikes of 5.0% and 8.6% for taxable-income exceeding $140K and $250K a year; Bush Sr. did not. During his first term, Bush Sr. had angered many members of his own party by appointing the liberal David Souter -- confirmed after a bruising confirmation battle -- to the Supreme Court and undoing some of Reagan’s massive tax cuts. To this day, many GOP leaders hate Bush Sr., and love Reagan. Unfortunately for the U.S. today, Bush Jr. is more like Reagan than like Sr..

For more information, please see DeLong’s essay “How Much Credit Does Clinton Deserve for the Economy?” (http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/TotW/clinton.html ) {It is also linked below.}

Posted by: "How Much Credit Does Clinton Deserve for the Economy?" on August 14, 2002 06:30 PM

The President is just one player, true, but he seems to be a very, very important player. Even when Congressional leaders say that the President's budget is "dead on arrival," they still don't deviate from it very much.

Right now we're in the middle of an experiment to see what happens when you shift from a President who thinks fiscal policy is very important to one who doesn't--to one who, in fact, thinks that if he cares about the budget balance he's likely to lose the 2004 election. The business cycle is superimposed on the effects of Presidential and Congressional decisions--you can't take the entire swing in either direction as a result of the shift in Presidential leadership. But so far it looks awfully like the shift away from a President concerned about the budget has a large effect--just as the shift from a President who didn't care (Reagan) to one who was conflicted (Bush) to one who did care (Clinton) also turned out to have an enormous effect.

Brad DeLong

Posted by: Brad DeLong on August 14, 2002 08:19 PM

WA: [T]he intent is to draw attention to the inherent silliness in much of what stands for serious discussion regarding economic trends...In the short run, dumb luck plays a large role in how a President's fiscal policies are viewed, and it will only be in the hind-sight of decades that the partisan flames will die down enough to provide objective commentary.

SCWA: Partisanship does not necessarily cloud one’s judgment. John Maynard Keynes, who belittled the people at Versailles, accurately characterized how badly World War I reconstruction was being handled in his book “Economic Consequences of the Peace.” He published this book in the same year the same year the Versailles Treaty was signed, 1919. Also, a lack of economic expertise can be a greater hindrance to understanding than bias. A lot of economic rhetoric used by pundits and politicians preys public ignorance.

WA: For all the talk of disastrous Reagan deficits, it seems the largest disaster than can be located is the mildest recession of the post war period, so it would seem that his decision to slash marginal rates while undergoing a defense build-up, and not vigorously pursuing a reduction in domestic spending, can be defended reasonably easily.

SCWA: According to some economist whose name I forget, who was featured on PBS’s NewsHour, Reagan’s spending cuts on bridges and roads have cost more to repair than they saved, even after adjusting for inflation. Also, creating most of a six-trillion dollar national debt which consumes something like 13% of the federal budget could be considered a disaster if it was unnecessary. I don’t have the background to know how much of Reagan’s military build-up contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union. GOP pundits were as surprised by the collapse of the Soviet Union under Bush Sr. as anyone. I am certainly glad that it occurred peacefully. If Will Allen can defend $20,000 of per capita debt “reasonably easily”, he should do it. Where is the specific evidence that the Soviet Union would still be an enemy without Reagan’s military buildup?

WA: I think it likely Clinton will be remembered as a fairly trivial President, who inherited the office under perhaps the most favorable conditions of any President in the 20th century (one would certainly have to go back to at least Coolidge or Harding for similarly favorable conditions), and then proceeded to risk very little in the pursuit of anything important.

SCWA: Trying to provide universal health care at reasonable cost, even if politically impossible, wasn’t “anything important”? Krugman’s book “Age of Diminished Expectations” has a chapter about the economic problems associated with providing health care. The U.S. manages to spend more per-capita on health care than Western Europe while producing poorer overall results. Yes, the Clinton Administration badly mismanaged its reform efforts. However, health care reform is still an important issue.

The "socialized medicine" plans produced such a political backlash that Clinton switched to taking political baby steps afterward. Also, during his second term, he was on the defensive dealing with flak surrounding Whitewater, Lewinsky, and his perjury impeachment.

WA: Regarding international matters, it is hard to see what Clinton had any marked success at, perhaps with the important exception of going against much of his party on NAFTA, which was tempered by his reluctance to risk capital in attempting to maintain Presidential fast-track authority.

SCWA: Clinton succeeded in bailing out Mexico in 1994, though that was partially to support NAFTA, in which Clinton already had a lot of credibility invested.

http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/OpEd/resolvingthepesocrisis.html

Krugman writes that Clinton stood up against Big Steel and protectionist Democrats to support trade:

It's quite a contrast with Bill Clinton, who --like Mr. Bush -- declared his belief in the benefits of free trade, but -- unlike Mr. Bush --was willing to spend a lot of political capital in support of that belief. Many Democrats are protectionists, so Mr. Clinton reached out for Republican support to pass both the North American Free Trade Agreement and the treaty creating the World Trade Organization. He defied intense bipartisan opposition to rescue Mexico from its 1995 financial crisis, which might have destroyed Nafta, and resisted pressure to limit imports, including steel imports, during the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998. http://www.pkarchive.org/column/030802.html

Posted by: Some comments on Will Allen's on August 14, 2002 08:37 PM

'I favored impeaching Nixon for the imposition of wage and price controls.'

Wow. Ok, Will; whatever.

'Where is the specific evidence that the Soviet Union would still be an enemy without Reagan’s military buildup?'

Ok, this is officially way-off-topic now. There's two separate questions here:

1) Did United States increases in military spending make the USSR collapse?

2) Did Reagan intentionally try to do this?

I don't know about 1); all I've seen is some vague stuff about how the Soviet archives show no significant military spendings increases during the 1980s. I'm pretty confident 2) is false, though. The only documentary evidence that Reagan intentionally was trying to spend the USSR into bankrupcty that I've been referred to is NSDD 75:

http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/nsdd/nsdd-075.htm

Wierdly, there's nothing *in there* that can be constrused as support! The directive, if anything, reads like they expected the USSR to be around for a long, long time.

I seem to recall everyone, the GOP included, being pretty damn shocked when the wall came down.

Posted by: Jason McCullough on August 14, 2002 09:17 PM

As I said, I would rather have a lucky President than a smart one anytime. If your point was that the positive developments regarding the Soviet empire in the late 80s were merely dumb luck, well go ahead and believe what you wish, but my guess is that 100 years from now Reagan will be given some degree of credit for handling the single most important issue of his time with reasonable effectiveness, which will mean he will judged favorably. Mr. De long seems to persist in chracterizing the fiscal trends of the 80s as disastrous, which is his right, but it would be nice if he could cite which particular citizens experienced "disaster", and how this group was significantly larger, proportional to the population, than other groups who experienced "disaster" during similar lengths of time in the nation's history. By my definition of "disaster", the policies of the 60s were far more "disastrous" particularly for the 50,000+, and their families, who came home in bags, for no good reason, due to an incompetently prosecuted war. The word "disaster" means something. If your definition of "disaster" is that bridges are repaired in an economically inefficient manner, thereby restricting the ability of national govenment to transfer property more extensively, well, that is your right, also. As for Clinton, please indicate what issue during his term had more long term importance than entitlement programs (particualrly if you maintain fiscal trends are of primary importance), and what he did to address the issue in an effective manner. I understand that many prefer to have political bodies be the primary means by which health care is rationed, and it is a very complex issue. It would be preferable, however, if all parties to this debate would frankly admit that rationing will occur under any regime adopted, and that means some people will suffer from not receiving the health care that might otherwise enjoy, due to the unavoidable implications of scarcity, which are particularly acute when it involves cutting edge technology. I think it doubtful that this issue can be addressed in a fruitful manner until someone in a position of political leadership has the courage to speak frankly about it.

Posted by: on August 15, 2002 06:45 AM
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