The Corner

Logic Deficit

David Brooks ends his column by saying he would vote against the health-care bill if he were a senator, but along the way to his conclusion he is too kind to it. Consider this argument for the bill:

The second reason to support the bill is that its authors took the deficit issue seriously. Compared with, say, the prescription drug benefit from a few years ago, this bill is a model of fiscal rectitude. It spends a lot of money to cover the uninsured, but to help pay for it, it also includes serious Medicare cuts and whopping tax increases — the tax on high-cost insurance plans alone will raise $1.3 trillion in the second decade.

The bill is not really deficit-neutral. It’s politically inconceivable that Congress will really make all the spending cuts that are there on paper. But the bill won’t explode the deficit, and that’s an accomplishment.

Making something you consider a problem significantly worse instead of vastly worse is an accomplishment? How is this a reason to support the bill at all?

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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