Paul Krugman joined the triumphant victory march in "Fear Strikes Out," his Monday column in the wake of the Democrats' big victory on health-care "reform," lauding the victory of liberal reason and compassion over G.O.P. racism and fear-mongering.
Yes, a few conservative policy intellectuals, after making a show of thinking hard about the issues, claimed to be disturbed by reform's fiscal implications (but were strangely unmoved by the clean bill of fiscal health from the Congressional Budget Office) or to want stronger action on costs (even though this reform does more to tackle health care costs than any previous legislation).
Krugman, the economist who doesn't do much economics anymore, neglected to mention that Medicare, a program he strongly approves of, costs around ten times more than its highest projected costs when it came into being. As Reason Magazine reported back in 1993:
At its start, in 1966, Medicare cost $3 billion. The House Ways and Means Committee estimated that Medicare would cost only about $12 billion by 1990 (a figure that included an allowance for inflation). This was a supposedly "conservative" estimate. But in 1990 Medicare actually cost $107 billion.
Krugman gets back to the liberal smearing of Tea Party protesters:
It wasn't just the death panel smear. It was racial hate-mongering, like a piece in Investor's Business Daily declaring that health reform is "affirmative action on steroids, deciding everything from who becomes a doctor to who gets treatment on the basis of skin color." It was wild claims about abortion funding. It was the insistence that there is something tyrannical about giving young working Americans the assurance that health care will be available when they need it, an assurance that older Americans have enjoyed ever since Lyndon Johnson - whom Mr. Gingrich considers a failed president - pushed Medicare through over the howls of conservatives.