Economics

Heartland Paper to Dems, Obama on Health Care: "Tear it Up, Folks. Just Tear it Up and Start Over."

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The Cincinnati Enquirer calls for a time-out on the Dem plan for health care overhaul:

President Barack Obama should call a time-out on health care reform, go back to the drawing board, and actually listen to what all Americans are saying instead of dismissing those who object as simply uninformed stooges. Polls show that Americans increasingly agree with Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., who argues for a more incremental approach and says it's "a real mistake to try to jam through" the proposed Democratic overhaul.

Even some of Obama's supporters seem unsettled by the botched message and bumbled strategy on health care reform. They wonder why he ceded the job of crafting a plan to the likes of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her left-leaning allies who have yearned for a government-run, universal single-payer plan – an overhaul far more radical than Americans were ready to accept.

The editors at the Enquirer list the basic issues they think reform should address, such as "first, do no harm" and "cover everybody." Their specific ideas are less interesting that the fact of their opposition, which reflects a large and growing lack of cofidence that this president and this Congress are the ones to unilaterally overhaul and expensify (yes, a useful neologism to describe the last decade of federal politics) a massively complicated part of our lives. The Enquirer editorial board leans right but they are centrist in the best-worst sense of that term, meaning they do live the big government when it's about "helping" people, especially people in depressed areas such as southwestern Ohio. If you've lost them, you're in real trouble, buddy.

Whole thing here.

And it's good advice for other mega-legislation waiting in the wings, such as cap-and-trade and "consumer protection" stuff. Ruling be decree may be more fun, but ruling by a consensus borne of actual conversation, debate, and suasion is longer-lasting and better overall. Over a broad set of hugely important issues, ranging from foreign policy to health care to entitlement spending, we've had nary a peep of real talk in well over a decade. That's one of the reasons why things are so godawful on those fronts.