First, here is Dean Baker:
Robert Samuelson did one of the great pox on both your houses pieces at which the Post excels. He criticized the right, as personified by Grover Norquist, for being unwilling to raise taxes. Then he trashed my friends at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities for refusing to produce a balanced budget, which he argues would have to show large cuts in Social Security and Medicare.Here is what I walk away with:
Those of us who don't work for the Post, and therefore are free to speak honestly about the deficit, know that the whole long-term deficit problem is the story of the broken U.S. health care system. If the United States paid the same amount per person for its health care as people in any other wealthy country we would be looking at long-term budget surpluses, not deficits.
Of course the short-term deficit story is about the downturn caused by the collapse of the housing bubble, which the Post apparently still have not noticed.
- The long term debt problem is created and sustained by the Republican party because it is unwilling to let the US have a health care system like the rest of the developed world: an effective one with broad coverage and at half the cost. Republicans prefer big profits and dysfunctional delivery to keep their corporate patrons happy.
- The short term debt problem is not a problem because it will disappear when the economy recovers from the Little Depression. But, of course, the Republicans are working hard to ensure that there is no recovery before 2012 because they want to maximize their electoral chances despite what harm this might cause the country.