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Paterson Prefers State-Level Excess

by on January 4, 2010

Fiscal responsibility doesn’t mean spending other people’s money before they get the chance.  Regrettably, certain governors disagree.  For one, New York executive David Paterson took a break from railing about pitfalls created by the state’s massive debt to point out how much cash same state throws at health care.  He joined the leader of another free-spending, and utterly financially distraught, state to complain that Washington shouldn’t act the same way:

 

The governors of the nation’s two largest Democratic states are leveling sharp criticism at the Senate health care bill, claiming that it would leave their already financially strapped states even deeper in the hole.

 

New York Democratic Gov. David Paterson and California GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger are urging congressional leaders to rework the Medicaid financing in the Senate-passed bill, warning that under that version their states will be crushed by billions in new costs.

 

Yes, but why are they inside deep holes in the first place?  The pair could warn Congress why any governmental entity that grants health care to as many citizens as possible is on a path to entitlement-based insolvency.  Instead, New York’s strategy is to shovel deeper until reaching the surface.  Don’t worry, as it’ll work somehow:

 

After the Senate passed the bill in a Christmas Eve vote, Paterson said the expansion would leave New York $1 billion in the lurch. The state faces a $6.8 billion budget shortfall heading into the 2010 fiscal year.

 

If New York was a credit card user, it would either keep charging and plan to settle for pennies on the dollar or get to the “Screw it” point and simply never pay off the debt.  The feds willingly spend every dime they bring in and countless more they don’t.  Still, they didn’t put the state in its creditor-evading position:

 

The problem is that New York and California, both of which already have expansive Medicaid programs, will pay a higher share of the new expansion costs than many other states that have traditionally limited coverage.

 

Perhaps halting and reversing same expansion would be a wise course.  If New York stopped spending incredible sums on “free” health care, more people would actually be able to provide for themselves.

 

After all, most households are scrimping as much as possible in order to persevere through this most annoying of recessions; politicians should be following a similarly thrifty plan.  Of course, our leaders aren’t bothering, as is typical with those who get to spend others’ money.

 

Regardless, Paterson has tag teamed with a dubious partner.  Agreeing with a man who’s failing at his third career as spectacularly as he succeeded during his previous two means it’s time to reassess one’s worldview:

 

Both governors’ criticisms are notable because they are distinct from the opposition to the health care bill voiced by many Republican governors. Neither Paterson nor Schwarzenegger has opposed Democratic health care reform efforts in general and both have been largely supportive of President Barack Obama’s domestic agenda.

 

Of course they haven’t dissented from the president’s policies: both prefer spending money like a drunken leftist on shore leave, so they naturally agree with the same approach nationally.  That said, the governors are now qualifying their support by proclaiming that the cost of massive health welfare should be spread nationwide.  That’s a rather lax approach to financial restraint.

 

It’s unfortunate that the pair won’t complain more forcefully about more aspects of the president’s plan.  Market-based reforms such as letting insurers compete across state lines, granting flexibility about what gets covered, and extending the health tax break for employers to everyone would lower prices while permitting more individual purchases.  It would also liberate funds for private charitable donations to help those truly in need.  But New York’s governor would rather ensure that the word “state” will remain modified by “nanny.” 

 

The default governor can pretend to be serious about keeping New York from sinking deeper into the red.  But Paterson doesn’t get that his state has run a telling experiment on government-funded health coverage.

 

If any form of Democraticare becomes law, we’ll just end up broke on a bigger scale.  It’s finally clear why Obama wants Paterson to spend more time with his family as soon as possible: the governor’s policies, and failures, hit too close to home.

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