David Brooks tells his readers that the most important issue in the campaign is Medicare reform. He gives Obama credit for making minor changes in Medicare, but he describes the Ryan plan as a bold plan that will keep our country from going to ruin. He put on his hat as a healthcare budget analyst and discovered what nobody else has discovered in the Ryan plan. The magic of the market will drive the cost of Medicare reimbursements down. Senior citizens will get all of the benefits from the current system, and it will cost them and government less money than the modest Obama plan. Paul Ryan is certainly the kind of bold leader that we need to save our country from ruin. The only problem with Brooks' analysis is that the CBO and other policy analysis groups do not believe that the Ryan plan will accomplish what David Brooks claims for it. In fact, the Romney campaign is telling seniors that Obama wants to cut Medicare benefits, and they intend to preserve the Medicare that they know and love. They are not telling the electorate that they are going to change the benefits or make radical changes in Medicare.
I would just like to make another comment about this article. David Brooks makes the claim that entitlements, especially Medicare, are our major social and economic problem. He argues that they are driving the government to bankruptcy. The rising cost of healthcare is certainly one of the major factors affecting affecting the federal budget and the budgets of US households. We certainly need to take steps to contain healthcare price inflation. The problems that we have in the US, however, are much more serious than the cost of entitlements. One of our most serious problems is that major news organizations give pundits like David Brooks, who has no training or credentials in healthcare economics, to say whatever he wants to say about the topic. In turn, he gets many of his ideas from conservative think tanks that are funded by wealthy conservatives. David Brooks is just a vehicle for polishing them up, and making them readable for a mass audience. Some people would call this propaganda. I would agree with them.