Two Krugmans In One

by Benjamin Zycher

Let me be blunt: Paul Krugman, who some decades ago was a serious guy, has become unhinged.  Believe it or not, he actually argued last weekend that “a literal description of [the Romney/Ryan health policy reform] plan is that they want to expose many Americans to financial insecurity, and let some of them die, so that a handful of already wealthy people can have a higher after-tax income.” Nowhere in this rant is there any recognition that government financing of “coverage” inexorably would require some of the rationing that he believes would yield deaths among the poor and elderly, about which those evil Republicans would applaud, apparently.

Unlike most of us, Mr. Krugman has not become wiser with age.  Here is his rant in favor of a single-payer system, on December 26, 2005: ”The public sector . . . sooner or later [would] have to make key decisions about medical treatment.” And “health care—including the decision about what treatment is provided—[would become] a public responsibility.”

So there we have it.  A literal description of the Krugman health-policy stance is that he wants to expose many Americans to explicit government rationing and thus financial insecurity, and let some of them die, so that a handful of federal bureaucracies can have radically larger budgets and power. And so that Mr. Krugman can bask in the applause of the sophisticates at the Upper West Side cocktail parties.

— Benjamin Zycher is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute.

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