In a recent op-ed, Paul Krugman cuts through the budget fog and points out, "The whole budget debate, then, is a sham. House Republicans, in particular, are literally stealing food from the mouths of babes — nutritional aid to pregnant women and very young children is one of the items on their cutting block — so they can pose, falsely, as deficit hawks."
That the current budget debate is fraudulent is obvious to anyone who's paying attention. As I've mentioned, Wisconsin is a shining example -- Governor Scott Walker gave away over $100 million in tax breaks to the usual members of the investment class before declaring that the state's fiscal situation was so desperate that state employees would just have to bend over and take one for the team.
Says Krugman, "What would a serious approach to our fiscal problems involve? I can summarize it in seven words: health care, health care, health care, revenue."
It is health care -- not the broad category of "entitlements", but specifically health care -- that is set to rise sharply without action, both as the population ages and as our ridiculous system diverts a greater percentage of money away from doctors and nurses and into the pockets of private insurers like UnitedHealth, a company whose annual profits are greater than the entire budget of several states, and also into the coffers of Big Pharma companies, many of which are even bigger than UnitedHealth.
While Obama's health care reform plan is a weak effort, it's the most serious effort out there to address long term deficits.
Krugman continues, "This brings me to the seventh word of my summary of the real fiscal issues: if you’re serious about the deficit, you should be willing to consider closing at least part of this gap with higher taxes. True, higher taxes aren’t popular, but neither are cuts in government programs. So we should add to the roster of fundamentally unserious people anyone who talks about the deficit — as most of our prominent deficit scolds do — as if it were purely a spending issue."