The Washington Post responded in today's paper to a reader who pointed out an apparent contradiction: the editors insist that health care reform not increase the debt but call for escalation of the number of our troops in Afghanistan without any plan to pay for it other than borrowing money from China and Japan. "Why fund war with debt but insist that health-care reform be deficit-neutral?" This was part of their answer:
Universal health care, however desirable, is not "fundamental to the defense of our people." Nor is it a "necessity" that it be adopted this year: Mr. Obama chose to propose a massive new entitlement at a time of historic budget deficits. In contrast, Gen. McChrystal believes that if reinforcements are not sent to Afghanistan in the next year, the war may be lost, with catastrophic consequences for U.S. interests in South Asia. U.S. soldiers would continue to die, without the prospect of defeating the Taliban. And, as Mr. Obama put it, "if left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al-Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans."
The disconnect between the interests and priorities of the Washington elite, as exemplified by the editorial board of the Washington Post, and those of most Americans could not have been revealed more clearly. This was obviously written by someone whose health care (and the health care of everyone near and dear to them) is absolutely guaranteed. This is in sharp contrast to the situation of most Americans who worry that they, or someone close to them, have no health insurance or could lose it, perhaps as a result of being laid off, and be unable to obtain an new policy, either because of a "preexisting condition" or because they could not afford it. For most Americans outside the Washington beltway this is much more of a "necessity" than the need to wage unending war in Asia.