Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fiscal Responsibility

Let's say you were shown the following graph:
And that I told you the dollar amount on the left is .. say... average tax rate per person for various countries. On the right the line goes to.. let's call it a "dollars the taxpayer sees back in services". Obviously an upward sloping line would be good, and a downward sloping line would be bad.

Now let's say that the thickness of the line represented the number of government services used by the average taxpayer, so a thick line would be good and a thin line bad. Make sense?

By any estimation, the United States in that graph is horrifyingly inefficient, and conservatives would be SCREAMING that the government needs to be trimmed, that taxes need to be cut and that LIBERALS ARE TO BLAME (of course).

But what would they say if the actual context of that graph was shown?

What the fa-hells? The United States pays 1.65 times more than the next highest country in public + private health care expenditures per capita, but has less than average life expectancy at birth. On top of that, we have very few doctor visits per year.

Wouldn't anyone who truly believes in fiscal responsibility say that our current system is horrifyingly broken, and that we should investigate alternate models that obviously can produce much better results?

What is fiscally responsible about opposing major healthcare reforms*? Beuller? Beuller? Anyone?

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