Thursday, May 14, 2015

Public policy is hard. Political rhetoric is easy

By Richard Barry

One of the saddest things about politics is that politicians can say almost anything about the potential consequences of a given policy of their opponents and then, when it doesn't happen, be sure that most of the electorate will either have forgetten or lost interest in what was previously predicted.

Writing at The Hill, Markis Moulitsas catalogues a range of things said by Republicans about how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would destroy the economy, even the very fabric of the country. Obviously, it hasn't. There have been no massive job loses, small businesses have not been destroyed, and "America as we know it" is doing at least no worse than it had been doing, better by many indicators.

I don't want to relitigate the importance of the ACA (despite my disappointment that it's not a single-payer system). I just want to say that politicians are almost never held to account for all the bad things they say the other guys policies will visit on the country because public policy is hard and rhetoric is easy.

And, besides, if a Chicken Little politician is asked to explain why the sky didn't actually fall, he or she will say that the bad thing predicted will still come, we just have to be patient. Who can argue with that?

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  • The only media I see calling pols on their past comments are Jon Stewart & Paul Krugman.

    By Blogger Susanna, at 3:17 PM  

  • Yes, we will miss Jon Stewart.

    By Blogger Richard K. Barry, at 3:28 PM  

  • The other way they deal with it is to claim that they were right. It is similar to cults that predict the end of the world. "You see, the world did end; just in a different way than you thought." Obamacare did destroy the economy. That's why Obama is on pace to exceed Bill Clinton in private sector job in his second term.

    Speaking of Stewart, did you see his take down of Fox News on Wednesday night? Also: excellent interview with Reza Aslan. Also: I think Trevor Noah will be a good replacement for him. They have the same temperament. With the same writers, it should all be good.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 11:05 PM  

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