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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Health snare

by Gil Weinreich
Undoubtedly much of the American public is outraged by the health care legislation passed by the House tonight, not least the ugly way in which it was rammed through against popular opposition. But I think it will take time before the American people appreciate just how destructive its impact will be.
Sure, folks know medical care will become bureaucratic and unresponsive. Just as a Canadian premier escaped to America for a necessary operation, Americans will soon enough learn the joys and hassles of medical tourism. People also realize that taxes will be heading up, up, up to keep up with the extraordinary cost of this program, which was not fully funded.
But I think folks are in for a surprise if they are expecting mere Eurosclerotic economic decline. After all, European socialist countries have experienced decades of anemic growth, social and economic stratification, yet have maintained a reasonable standard of living nonetheless.
But there is a crucial distinction between then and now. They had a dynamic growth engine (i.e., the United States) the equal (at least) of their combined economies importing their goods. Now that the U.S. is slamming the breaks on its economy, who in the world will -- or even can -- pick up the slack?
It will take time for this consequential economic shift to gain recognition. Let's hope that fully sinks in before the next elections.

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