Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Medicare

The Wall Street Journal is Telling Awful Lies about Bernie Sanders

Over the last few days, I’ve seen a deeply misleading claim circulating around the internet–that Bernie Sanders is supposedly going to increase government spending by $18 trillion over 10 years. This claim originates in a Wall Street Journal article by Laura Meckler. The article is so deeply misleading that Gerald Friedman, the economist cited by the WSJ, has felt compelled to come forward and explain that his research does not at all support the WSJ’s conclusion. Indeed, Friedman claims that Sanders’ plan will actually save money. To understand how, we need to know just a little bit about healthcare economics.

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Jeb Bush’s Plan to Privatize Medicare Would Be a Disaster

US Presidential contender Jeb Bush recently spoke out in favor of the old Paul Ryan plan to “phase out” Medicare and replace it with a voucher program:

Said Bush:

I think a lot of people recognize that we need to make sure we fulfill the commitment to people that have already received the benefits, that are receiving the benefits. But that we need to figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system that allows them to have something, because they’re not going to have anything.

When pressed on the point, Bush doubled down:

It took less than a day for me to be attacked for the very thing that I predicted would happen and that’s just ridiculous. We need to have a grown-up conversation about these issues.

Bush argues that if we do not privatize Medicare, the system will collapse. Consequently, he thinks those who disagree with him are not taking the issue seriously. But this argument is grossly misleading–Medicare is in a much stronger financial position than Bush would have us believe, and a privatized system would sharply increase healthcare costs for seniors.

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Candidate Evaluations: Bobby Jindal

Bobby Jindal has decided to run for president, so let’s do another candidate evaluation. I’ll be evaluating Jindal’s background, policy history, and explicit statements to determine whether or not he would make a good president. I won’t be paying attention to electability or likeability, as is often common elsewhere on the web. Read the rest of this entry »

A Serious Policy Analysis of House of Cards’ “America Works” Program

I am a huge fan of Netflix’s House of Cards, which stars Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood, a ruthless political anti-hero. Here’s the trailer, if you haven’t seen it. It’s really good:

I launched into the 3rd season yesterday and was fascinated by Underwood’s “America Works” proposal. Very minor spoilers here–Underwood plans to eliminate or restructure America’s entitlement programs, using the money saved to create 10 million jobs, which will apparently cost $500 billion. Now, this is a television show. There are no CBO reports to look at, no detailed policy analyses or public policy research, but I want to dig into this and take the opportunity to explore some of the issues with entitlement programs.

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Why the Selma Movie is Terrible

The movie Selma has achieved near universal critical acclaim. It has a score of 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, and 100% among top critics.  It’s been nominated for 2 Academy Awards, and many people think it should have been nominated for even more. This is a problem, because Selma has a fatal flaw–it lies to us about how our political system works. Read the rest of this entry »