Barack Obama

Robert Samuelson on Obamacare: "It's not now, and it's not 'us'"

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The Washington Post economics columnist is none too impressed by the president's contributions to the health care debate:

Yeah, but Sarah Palin exaggerated that one time on Facebook!

One job of presidents is to educate Americans about crucial national problems. On health care, Barack Obama has failed. Almost everything you think you know about health care is probably wrong or, at least, half wrong. Great simplicities and distortions have been peddled in the name of achieving "universal health coverage." The miseducation has worsened as the debate approaches its climax.

There's a parallel here: housing. Most Americans favor homeownership, but uncritical pro-homeownership policies (lax lending standards, puny down payments, hefty housing subsidies) helped cause the financial crisis. The same thing is happening with health care. The appeal of universal insurance—who, by the way, wants to be uninsured?—justifies half-truths and dubious policies. That the process is repeating itself suggests that our political leaders don't learn even from proximate calamities.

Whole thing here. Samuelson's "Lessons From the Great Inflation" here.