One of the best blogging academic economists — Greg Mankiw — gives his perspective on the federal health care takeover:
In the end, while I understood the arguments in favor of the bill, I could not support it. In part, that is because I am generally more of a libertarian than a communitarian. In addition, I could not help but fear that the legislation will add to the fiscal burden we are leaving to future generations. Some economists (such as my Harvard colleague David Cutler) think there are great cost savings in the bill. I hope he is right, but I am skeptical. Some people say the Congressional Budget Office gave the legislation a clean bill of health regarding its fiscal impact. I believe that is completely wrong, for several reasons (click links). My judgment is that this health bill adds significantly to our long-term fiscal problems.
The Obama administration’s political philosophy is more egalitarian and more communitarian than mine. Their spending programs require much higher taxes than we have now and, indeed, much higher taxes than they have had the temerity to propose. Here is the question I have been wondering about: How long can the President wait before he comes clean with the American people and explains how high taxes needs to rise to pay for his vision of government?
I assume the question is rhetorical. A public figure, like our president, who can’t even bring himself to allow mere citizens to see his college transcripts and papers, will not soon be fessing up about the prohibitive cost of operating his version of government.
By the way, Communitarian or Nanny State, are politically correct labels for political philosophies which are closer, or prefer, socialized forms of government as opposed to a more laissez-faire form of government. The point is not whether we are strictly in one category or another [we are exclusively in neither], but rather which form of government are we moving towards. There is no question that the Obama administration is moving us aggressively away from laissez-faire form of government. In my book, Socialism lies at the other end of that spectrum. So the question to be answered by those who object to the Socialist label is: What aspects of Socialism are objectionable to today’s leaders of the Democrat party?