Fuzzy Logic From Feldstein

I don’t know about you but I find it incredibly frustrating when somebody writes something with which I’m in general agreement but it’s so full of flaws that I find it difficult not to be distracted. That was my reaction to Martin Feldstein’s op-ed this morning against the healthcare insurance reform plans making their way through the Congress.

For example, this statement:

Although the president claims he can finance the enormous increase in costs by raising taxes only on high-income individuals, tax experts know that this won’t work.

That’s called the “appeal to unnamed authority” fallacy. We have no way of evaluating the validity of the statement because we don’t know who the experts are. Why not just write “I don’t believe this will work” or simply “this won’t work”?

And here:

Obama has said that he would favor a British-style “single payer” system in which the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are salaried but that he recognizes that such a shift would be too disruptive to the health-care industry

I don’t believe that President Obama has said this. I believe he said that he thought that if we were starting back in the 1960’s we should have enacted a single payer system. Britain’s system is not only a single payer system, it’s a fully socialized system in which nearly all physicians working in hospitals are government employees, real socialized medicine. “Single payer” and “socialized medicine” are not synonymous. As stated this is a classic example of the “straw man” fallacy.

Unfortunately, I don’t believe that President Obama has the luxury of following Dr. Feldstein’s prescription:

Now that congressional leaders have made it clear that Obama will not see health legislation until at least the end of the year, the president should look beyond health policy and turn his attention to the problems that are impeding our economic recovery.

The president has got to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. Righting the financial system is of primary importance, a sine qua non. But we must have reform to the healthcare system that reduces the unsustainable trends in rising costs and, hopefully, reduces costs full stop. Without that everything else we might want to do becomes much more difficult very, very quickly. It can’t be deferred any longer.

2 comments… add one
  • Americonio Link

    We have enough fuzzy logic. When are we just going to print the facts. I know Op-Ed’s print view’s not new’s, but they usually put some fact data with it. When is the media going to earn the right to hide behind amendments? Just got through watching Saving PVT. Ryan, wonder how many of those falling soldiers last words to us was “EARN THIS”? Feldstein your Red Dog is showing, and we now know that one of the founders of red dogs, is now the president of PHArMA, a huge medicine lobbying group. Just print the news, let us gather our on view’s.

  • Americonio Link

    After watching the Automotive Makers begging for money to help them, and telling the law-makers that Health-Care expenses was killing them. We can not trust our officials in DC to run such a big enterprise, and keep their sticky hand friends out of the pot. And also we need a healthcare insurance org. that is competing with private groups, so let us put a profit ceiling on it say 5 or 6 percent profit. We really want 5%, but we’ll put 6% when the republicans get the control again so there friends skim 1%. I know you don’t believe they will be satisfied with 1%, but 1% of trillions is a lot, haven’t done the math yet sorry! But the idea is give the insurance org.’s something to compete with.

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