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Sábado, 30 de enero de 2016
But just to be clear: Mr. Sanders’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, is no paragon of political virtue, although she’s nothing like the monster everyone on the right and some people on the left like to portray her as. On policy issues she has generally been pretty good (the Iraq war aside, but that was a special and awful time). In fact, health reform, as actually enacted, was more similar to her 2008 proposal than it was to President Obama’s plan. And during the 2008 campaign, Mr. Obama ran some ugly ads that attacked the individual mandate, which Mrs. Clinton correctly insisted was essential. Her biggest vice now is listening too much to consultants who want her to take cheap shots, like claiming that the Sanders plan would kill Medicaid, when her real strength is apparent when she lets her inner wonk and fundamental toughness shine through.
Regardless, we now have a clear view of Mr. Sanders’s positions on two crucial issues: financial reform and health care. And in each case his position is disturbing – not just because it’s politically unrealistic to imagine that we can achieve the kind of radical overhaul he’s proposing, but also because he takes his own version of cheap shots. Not at people – he really is a fundamentally decent guy – but by relying on easy slogans and then punting when the going gets tough.
On finance: Mr. Sanders has made restoring the Glass-Steagall Act and breaking up the big banks the be-all and end-all of his program. That sounds good, but it won’t get us close to solving the real problems. The core of what went wrong in 2008 was the rise of shadow banking. “Too big to fail” was at best marginal, and as the economist Mike Konczal noted in a recent blog post , pushing the big banks out of shadow banking on its own could make the problem worse by causing the risky activities to “migrate elsewhere, often to places where there is less regulatory infrastructure.”
On health care: Leave to one side the virtual impossibility of achieving a single-payer system in the United States. Beyond the politics, the Sanders plan isn’t just lacking in detail; as Ezra Klein at Vox noted, it both promises more comprehensive coverage than Medicare or, for that matter, single-payer systems in other countries, and assumes huge cost savings that are at best unlikely given that kind of generosity. This lets Mr. Sanders claim that he could make such a system work with much lower middle-class taxes than would probably be needed in practice.
To be harsh but accurate: The Sanders health plan looks a little like a standard Republican tax-cut plan, which relies on fantasies about huge supply-side effects to make the numbers supposedly add up – but only a little bit. After all, this is a proposal seeking to provide health care, not lavish windfalls on the rich – and a single-payer system would really save money, whereas there’s no evidence that tax cuts deliver growth. Still, it’s not the kind of brave truth-telling that the Sanders campaign might have led you to expect from him.
If the political theory behind supporting Mr. Sanders is that the American people will vote for radical change if they’re simply presented with honest answers about what’s involved, his campaign’s evident unwillingness to fully confront those issues, and its reliance on magic asterisks, very much weakens that claim