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Obamacare and Trumpcare – Same song, different verse

Do you remember when Barack Obama said the following words when he was promoting the Affordable Care Act to the American people? We’re going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t…

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Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Which Is the Biggest Moocher State of All?

Which state gets the biggest share of its budget from the federal government? Is it California, the left’s bizarre alternative universe? Is it Illinois, the poster child for big-government excess? Nope, not even close. As a matter of fact, those two jurisdictions are among the 10-least dependent states. And if you’re guessing that the answer […]

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Trump, Entitlements, and America’s Potential Greek Future

At the risk of sounding like a broken record (or like Donald Sutherland in Animal House), I’m going to repeat myself for the umpteenth time and state that the United States has a big long-run problem. To be specific, the burden of government spending will inexorably climb in the absence of big reforms. This isn’t […]

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Donald Trump, the Medicaid Monster, and Entitlement “Cuts”

I’m a fiscal policy wonk, so I freely acknowledge that I sometimes look at the world through green-eyeshade-colored lenses. But I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that expanding entitlements, changing demographics, and increasing dependency are the main long-run threats to the American economy. And this is why the concerns I had about a […]

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The Ticking Time Bomb of Medicaid

The burden of government spending is already excessive. But the numbers will get worse with the passage of time if policy is left on autopilot. The main culprits are the so-called mandatory programs. Entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps, and Obamacare that automatically dispense money to various constituencies are consuming an ever-larger chunk […]

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The Ever-Growing Fiscal Burden of Obamacare

Based on what’s been happening, those of us who have been warning about the fiscal burden of Medicaid, Medicare, and Obamacare could rest on our laurels and say “we told you so.” But it’s a Pyrrhic victory because being right means bad news for the country. Earlier this year, The Hill reported some very sobering […]

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Redistribution Is Morally Dubious, Economically Harmful, and It Doesn’t Work

Like Sisyphus pushing the rock up a hill, I keep trying to convince my leftist friends that growth is the best way to help the poor. I routinely share new evidence and provide real-world data in hopes that they will realize that good results are more important than good intentions. In a triumph of hope […]

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A Very Depressing Look at America’s Growing Dependency Crisis

Based on a new report from the Congressional Budget Office, I wrote two weeks ago about America’s dismal long-run fiscal outlook. Simply stated, we face a Greek-style fiscal future because of changing demographics and poorly designed entitlement programs. But I was just looking at big-picture fiscal aggregates. And while that was discouraging, it gets downright […]

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How Big Is America’s Dependency Problem?

Back during the 2012 presidential campaign, I criticized the view that America was divided between “makers” and “takers.” But not because I disagreed with the notion that people trapped in government dependency have an unfortunate self-interest in supporting politicians who want a bigger welfare state. Indeed, I’ve explicitly warned that some statist politicians explicitly want […]

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Fiscal Fights with Friends, Part II: Grading AEI’s Big-Picture Tax and Budget Reform

The American Enterprise Institute has published a comprehensive budgetary plan entitled, “Tax and spending reform for fiscal stability and economic growth.” Authored by Joseph Antos, Andrew G. Biggs, Alex Brill, and Alan D. Viard, all of whom I know and admire, this new document outlines a series of reforms designed to restrain the growth of […]

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More Adventures in Statist Hypocrisy

It must be fun to be a leftist. You get to spend other people’s money. But that’s just for starters. Using the power of majoritarianism, you also get to tell the rest of the country what to do, how to behave, and even what to eat. Best of all, you can be a complete hypocrite. […]

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Health Care Update: Everything from Medicaid’s Ever-Rising Fiscal Burden to a (Very Tepid) Defense of Jonathan Gruber

I’ve been fretting for a long time that poorly designed entitlement programs are going to turn America into a decrepit welfare state. Medicare obviously is a big part of the problem, but the fraud-riddled Medicaid program may be even worse. The program is a nightmare for both federal taxpayers and state taxpayers. In an article […]

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Bureaucrats hate accountability

It isn’t likely that you’ll hear Denise Specht criticize Jeff Johnson’s plan to audit every government agency, though you might hear Specht rail against teacher testing. Scott Leitz isn’t publicly complaining about Jim Noble’s audit of MNsure but that’s mostly because whining about it won’t sit well with the public. MNsure is a mismanagement disaster. […]

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The lawless Dayton administration

Jeff Johnson is taking the fight to Gov. Dayton, this time in Virginia, MN: Johnson has been a persistent critic of MNsure created under Gov. Dayton. But his opposition reached a new and higher level when PreferredOne, which had 60 percent of the MNsure market pulled out for business reasons. Johnson even alluded to a […]

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MNsure’s latest failure

The DFL has tried convincing Minnesotans that MNsure is performing spectacularly for almost a year. The DFL’s job is getting more difficult each week. Stories like Jay Kolls’ article just highlight how dysfunctional MNsure is: Jean Hendricks doesn’t understand why MNsure wants to put her son on Medicaid at taxpayers’ expense when he doesn’t qualify. […]

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Obamacare, Cost Curves, the Ever-Worsening Entitlement Crisis, and the Case for Spending Restraint

I’m very worried about the burden of government spending. Moreover, I’m quite concerned that poorly designed entitlement programs will lead to fiscal disaster. And I’m especially irked that Obama made the problem worse by ramming through yet another misguided and costly health care entitlement. Given this background, you can imagine that I was very interested […]

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The Medicare Money Pit of Waste, Fraud, and Abuse

Since I primarily work on fiscal policy, I normally look at the budgetary impact of entitlement programs. And the numbers are very grim. But I’m also an economist, so I periodically comment on how government intervention undermines the efficient functioning of markets in the healthcare field. Last but not least, I’m also a taxpayer, so […]

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We Need a Debate about the Size of Government, but It Helps to Understand Basic Fiscal Facts

Self awareness is supposed to be a good thing, so I’m going to openly acknowledge that I have an unusual fixation on the size of government. I don’t lose a wink of sleep thinking about deficits, but I toss and turn all night fretting about the overall burden of government spending. My peculiar focus on […]

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Top-down health care, Part II

I wrote this post about why the Affordable Care Act, aka the ACA, is failing. Here’s part of the explanation for the ACA’s unpopularity: The problem is that the Obamcare plans aren’t attractive to consumers. They were designed in Washington to suit political prerogatives rather than being designed in the marketplace to meet the demands […]

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More MNsure casualties

If this LTE doesn’t make you see red, then you’re a heartless leftist ideologue that cares more about ideology than people. Here’s what’s got me seeing red: This Minnesota family is a young married couple with three children. Until ObamaCare and Dayton’s MNsure came along they shared the cost of their Blue Cross-Blue Shield family […]

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