The possibility of deficit reduction
It didn't fit in the last post, but I also wanted to quote this bit from David Leonhardt's column:
Complaining that Congress and the White House aren’t doing enough to reduce the deficit is always a popular pundit game. So it’s no surprise that the last few weeks have been filled with knowing claims that health reform will fail to control spiraling health costs.
Sometimes, however, Washington really does succeed in reducing the deficit. Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower both did it. President Bill Clinton and Congress eliminated the deficit. Their 1993 budget bill was derided by some of the same people now criticizing health reform as an economy wrecker. Instead, that budget bill created the first significant surpluses since the late 1940s (and helped make possible the 1990s economic boom).
Worth keeping in mind. Critics are right, of course, that Congress might not stick to the deficit reduction built into the health-care bill. In that way, cost controls are uncertain even when they are present. But they are a lot less uncertain than the outcome of inaction. Cost controls might not work when you try them, but they definitely don't work when you don't.
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