Critical Condition

Centrism Defined

Politico reports today on the latest effort to drum up support for health-care socialism by moving some of the “benefits” (i.e., vote-buying) forward in time, from 2013 to next year, so that the Dems can campaign on these goodies during the mid-term election season. This strikes me as shameless even by Beltway standards, as was the effort last week to move the $247 billion physician fix into a separate bill so that the CBO scoring of the health-care bill as a standalone would show slightly less fiscal irresponsiblity. That heroic effort failed to get even a simple majority; even a cynic like yours truly was shocked that Harry Reid brought the proposal to the floor.

It will be interesting to see how the CBO scores whatever bill emerges on the Senate floor if it contains this little bag of Halloween treats. In any event, two points: First, am I wrong to think that the prospects of health-care socialism in the Senate are a good deal worse than advertised? Why else would we be seeing such proposals as this one, and such shell games as the proposed physician fix now lying in state at the local landfill?

Second, and more amusingly: The Politico article describes Jim Kessler as the “vice president for policy at the centrist [emphasis added] Third Way,” and then quotes him as follows: “Democrats will be the party that passed health care reform, and Republicans will be the party that tries to repeal it.”

So there we have it. “Centrism” is the ability to describe health-care socialism as “reform” while referring to efforts to resist vote-buying in pursuit of it as a repeal of such “reform.” It’s truly amazing.

– Benjamin Zycher is a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute.

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