Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Q and A-1

I am going to answer some questions sent by readers about my book Balancing the Budget is a Progressive Priority.

The title of your book is "Balancing the Budget is a Progressive Priority". I consider myself a Conservative. Does this mean that there is not a message in the book for me?

No, of course not. In fact, I note that what the country most needs to respond to health care costs (ch. 7) is a political deal that allows people of all political stripes to both get some "credit" for health reform, but most importantly to have "some responsibility" for doing the hard work of addressing health care costs. Currently, health reform is a political football and there is no hope of moving ahead so long as every new study, finding, etc. is first and foremost the next "projectile" is a political war about health reform. It will take every "side" if we are going to truly address health care costs.

Why include Progressive in the title then? Basically, the book is written to Progressives who have traditionally focused on protection of key programs such as Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid. In that sense, I am addressing my arguments to people with whom I generally agree politically and in policy terms. I think we have been slow to respond to the need to change our budget to achieve long term sustainability. It is true that I do not generally prefer the policy solutions often espoused by "Conservatives" but that is not always the case. And I fully realize that there is no way I would ever get I want in terms of the way forward. It will take compromise.

A word on labels. I would define a Progressive as believing that collective action (government) has an important and active role to play in improving the lives of people. However, resources are limited. In that sense, I would call myself a cautious Progressive. If people who call themselves different things identify or agree with some of the themes/ideas of the book then great! We will be on our way to practically solving some problems. I wouldn't expect anyone to agree with me about everything.


  1. Nice blog.I want to more in future.You specially focused on protection of key programs such as Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid.