If Americans hope to discuss health care, climate change, green economics or public infrastructure with any degree of realism, then the time has come to acknowledge that hearing someone say “a trillion dollars” is no reason to panic. Politicians and pundits cite that figure to argue that we cannot afford health care reform, following recent cost estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, but the plain truth is that we spend (and squander) more than that on purposes not nearly so wise and humane as universal quality health care.
The senators who now claim that we cannot afford to spend a trillion dollars to make long overdue changes in health care know exactly what that amount can buy. They know because they have spent it, year after year, on military misadventures and subsidies to big banks and corporations, without stinting or whining. Somebody should ask why they think we can afford those trillion-dollar boondoggles but not decent health care for all Americans.
Friday, July 03, 2009
"Suddenly, a Trillion Is Too Much?"