Dana Milbank, Budget Heroes and Real Heroes

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Thursday, 20 September 2012 03:50

You can get paid lots of money in this town to try to convince people that the country's biggest problem is not the fact that we have 25 million people unemployed, underemployed or out of the workforce altogether due to lack of job opportunities. Dana Milbank illustrates this point by touting his new favorite video game, Budget Hero. Budget Hero was apparently put together with lots of money from folks who want to distract the country from its real problems.

As all budget experts know, the real source of the projected long-term deficit disaster is the country's broken health care system. We currently spend more than twice as much per person on health care as the average for people in other wealthy countries. We have little to show for this extra spending in terms of outcomes. The horror stories project that this ratio will rise to 3 or 4 to 1 in the decades ahead.

Real heroes try to expose this deception, calling attention to the fact that the underlying problem is a broken health care system. This is demonstrated at much lower cost in CEPR's Health Care Budget Deficit Calculator. If we manage to fix the health care system (hey, how about a little trade here?) then the budget issues will be relatively minor. On the other hand, if we can zero out public sector health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid, but if we don't fix our health care system, our Budget Heroes will still have left us with a disaster. 

But hey, there's no money in making this point.