Two Good Op-Eds From The New York Times
The New York Times had two interesting op-eds over the weekend on two essential components of deficit reduction: tax reform and health care costs.
First, former CEA chair Greg Mankiw lays out what he considers to be four consensus principles for tax reform. Essentially, these are the principles that he thinks should be followed in order to design an optimal tax code. The principles are:
- Broadening the tax base and lowering rates
- Taxing consumption rather than income
- Taxing more of what we don't want and less of what we do want
- Keeping the code simple
These principles would result in a more economically efficient tax code and one that better accounts for the social costs and benefits of certain activities. Also, the benefits of a much simpler code would be widespread, since filing tax returns would be much less time consuming.
The second op-ed is by Ezekiel Emanuel, a former White House advisor and health care expert, who argues that controlling health care costs should be as much a worry for progressives as it is for conservatives. Given that health care costs and government health spending have been rising much faster than GDP, he considers health care cost control to be an essential issue. He says that dramatically rising health care costs detract from other liberal priorities by pressuring employers to pay less compensation in the form of wages or salaries and by crowding out spending priorities at the federal level and especially at the state level. He writes:
There is an inevitable trade-off between rising health care costs and things liberals really care about, like access to college and good wages for working Americans. We cannot have it all. The health care reform act will help us save — mainly by changing how physicians and hospitals are paid and delivering better care to our most expensive patients. But more can be done: for starters, we could speed up the implementation of payment reform, stop Medicare payments for tests and treatments that provide no benefit and endorse competitive bidding for medical goods and services.
The bottom line? We need tax reform and we need entitlement reform. Both of these op-eds offer valuable perspectives on two very important issues, and are definitely worth checking out.