Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Yes, We Are All Going To Die, After All

This is an interesting piece by the always provocative Megan McArdle. The paragraphs that got my attention:

"Maybe Obama will "bend the curve". Maybe he will raise taxes on the middle class, and really spike them up on the wealthy. Maybe aliens from the Horsehead Nebula will invade, and we'll have bigger things to worry about than the US budget. But based on the actual information we have now, Obama will leave the United States in much worse fiscal shape than his predecessor.

This is not because George Bush made him do it, or screwed up the economy for him. It's mostly because Medicare is about to turn into the sucking chest wound of the Federal budget, and Obama is the chap lucky enough to be there as the hemorrhaging really gets going. It's not really his fault (other than in the sense that he chose to run for office in an unpropitious sort of year). But it doesn't matter whose fault it is, because the answer is "every single president since Coolidge". He's the guy who has to figure out to close the budget gap that was bequeathed to him by Lyndon Johnson and FDR, and which his predecessors--Democrat and Republican--have been punting on for decades. Rather than embrace that responsibility, or even eye it warily, he's decided to ignore it in favor of his personal policy priorities. That's entirely understandable, and hardly unique. But it hardly puts him on a higher plane than George Bush."

In light of the "It's Obama's Fault", "No, it's Bush's Fault" back and forth that DMarks and I tend to engage in, I found this passage very intriguing.


  1. Yes it is interesting. I think she is on to something here.

  2. I read a longish article recently with a very similar thesis. Basically, funding for Medicare is a flipping mess and nobody wants to deal with. Like any mess nobody wants to deal with and it's only going to get worse. (I want to say I read it in New York magazine, quite possibly my favorite magazine).


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