Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Thoughts on public service and taxes

Earlier this morning I was thinking to myself that the Obama administration had ushered in a new way of thinking about taxes and public service. If you have Washington aspirations, you don't have to worry about paying your nanny taxes or declaring those minor gifts of 24/7 limo service unless you are chosen for some high public office. Then you come clean, and say "gosh I'm so sorry and embarrassed, I swear this will never happen again." And then you get confirmed to be the head of the IRS or the person who will undertake to remake the nation's healthcare industry. It's a quick and easy way of simplifying our exgregious tax code, and that is something I've supported for decades.

Then I saw the news that Tom Daschle has withdrawn his nomination for Secretary of HHS. My goodness, perhaps ethics is not dead. Perhaps not all politicians are hypocrites. Maybe it's going to be harder for Obama to give us universal healthcare. Maybe someone in the Obama administration will figure out that our tax code is an abomination. Perhaps there are some seeds of optimism here.


prophets said...

i'd rather see health care insurance become a non discretionary item, backed by gov't financing (lowering the total cost of capital to finance it), and a very competitive pricing environment driven by consumers vs. suppliers... without significant gov't intervention.

that means opening up drug imports, more aggressive pricing/negotiation on drug pricing, etc. and lower barriers to supply of care (nurses in walmart).

the gov't can do a lot of good here... a lot of the laws in place are designed to protect profit margins in the industry, the right gov't intervention would help, not hurt.

Scott Grannis said...

The biggest change to healthcare we could possibly make is also the easiest, and probably the best: either make healthcare expenses deductible for everyone or for no one. Right now, since only employers can deduct healthcare expense, we end up with the third party payer problem, and that is what gives us a dysfunctional healthcare market.

If people bought their own policies they would be much more involved in controlling their expenses, and that would do wonders for healthcare costs in general. The problem of portability would also disappear.