"A Huge New Entitlement"

That's what Peggy Noonan calls Obama's healthcare proposals. Where is there an entitlement? There is an effort to subsidize private insurance for the working poor who now increase healthcare costs with emergency room care. The cost of all this is around $1 trillion over ten years and the struggle is finding ways to pay for it. The reason for the price-tag and its future is that healthcare costs keep sky-rocketing - something that is killing US companies as well who have to compete with international rivals who have to pay for no healthcare for their employees. Noonan makes no reference to this, as if the most pressing issue of future fiscal sanity is something we should put off ... because of fiscal conservatism. Excuse me? Now recall the Republicans' last major initiative on healthcare - the prescription drug benefit. That cost $32 trillion over the long run, and there was not even a gesture toward actually financing it. Much of the right was silent - as they were over all the other fiscally reckless policies of the past eight years.

But only now is Peggy "terrified".

She is not terrified by massively escalating healthcare costs, which are bankrupting the government and the private sector. She doesn't mention these once in her know-nothing column. She just channels the "feelings" of others and wants that to guide public policy. She does not mention the crises on many people's lives because of our current healthcare system. In fact, there is not a scintilla of a constructive proposal in the column - just an amorphous sense that anything that costs money shouldn't happen now:

The timing is wrong, we’ll turn to it againbut not now. We’ll take a little longer, ponder every aspect, and make clear every complication.

And we are not now? And we didn't debate this ad nauseam in the last campaign? What we have now is what we had in 1993: a radicalized base of a party that simply refuses to accept the legitimacy of another party in government. But then Clinton had only a plurality of the votes, not the commanding majority Obama won. This is genuine rage all right - amorphous, fear-driven rage. Maybe it is enough to kill any attempt to reform healthcare on any lines. And maybe it is just a raging at the dying of the conservative light.