To-day, in the online edition of The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty, you’ll find the following column — in which I find myself in the unusual position of saying that David Brooks did say one true thing in his New York Times column:
There’s noIinhealth care reform
Credit where credit is due: David Brooks does say one true thing in his New York Times columnThe Values Question(Nov. 24) on government health care reform:The system after reform will look as it does today, only bigger and more expensive.
Brooks is certainly right that nohealth care reformproposal with any chance in mainstream partisan politics promises any fundamental change to the status quo. What we have had is a system where pervasive government regulation, subsidy, and mandated captive markets corral workers into an industry driven by sky-high costs, managed by bureaucratic pencil-pushing and corporate economizing (often at the expense of innocent people's health or lives), and owned by a handful of uncompetitive, well-entrenched incumbent corporations. No mainstreamreformproposal will change anything about that. The proposals mainly concerned themselves with introducing new government subsidies and new captive-market mandates to force yet more workers and money into the broken system.
But Brooks takes all this as a sign that the health care debate is about fundamentalvalues.I think it's a sign that conventional political debate is a superficial squabble over meaningless details. The real debate is about grammar.
For more on why (although, if you’ve been here a while, you might be abe to guess), you can read the whole thing at the Freeman‘s website. The column will also be appearing in print in the March 2010 magazine.