Friday, December 17, 2010

David Brooks Advice to Obama

His advice is that Obama use the State of the Union to outline his compromise with the GOP. Instead of compromising on small things, he should offer to compromise on big things. He should give the progressives in his party a taste of industrial policy, and give the GOP something it wants. What the GOP wants is the privatization of the welfare state. Brooks argues that we can start with privatization of Medicare. He suggests that Obama should support the Ryan plan, which is also supported by a democrat who has worked with Ryan (this makes it bipartisan). The government would provide vouchers to beneficiaries that they can use to purchase health care. The value of the vouchers would not increase as fast as the cost of health care and this would save billions. The savings would come from rationing health care using the price system. Prices would rise faster than the government contribution to the vouchers.

Brooks is not naive enough to believe that Obama would accept his advice. His purpose is to promote Ryan's road map as the alternative to Medicare and then to Social Security. In other words, the end of the democratic version of social welfare. That will be the battle that we face as the GOP takes over the House and prepares for the 2012 campaign with the Ryan road map to supplement "guns and God".

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