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The Narcissism Of Irrelevant Differences

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David Deyen has a good post about the latest Jacobinite effort to pretend that there are hugely important policy distinctions between Warren and Sanders, with the latest performative refusal to take “yes” for an answer being over the funding mechanism for Medicare For All:

The debate over Medicare for All financing is stupid. I think everyone involved with it knows it’s stupid. It leads to a narcissism of small differences and pointless fights over things that don’t really need to be fought over.

[…]

But that’s the larger point. People are at each other’s throats about semantics and whether the design of a functionally same tax distributionally speaking would be better as temporary or permanent. I don’t see why. There are a lot better things to start a flame war about. I guess it’s fun at a conceptual level but it’s about eighteen steps ahead of the game, in a world where the Speaker of the House just loudly stated on Bloomberg that she doesn’t like Medicare for All.

You can criticize Elizabeth Warren for bothering to create a financing plan at all, because this was the inevitable result. The way she talked about it as lowering overall healthcare costs was correct, it’s still correct, and one reason why is that premiums are taxes. The whole discussion is a red herring that has now, helpfully for the Pelosi-Biden axis, set supporters upon one another. Take a bow, everyone.

I mean, here’s the thing: in a wildly optimistic scenario in which Dems do about as well as they can be reasonably hope to do in the 2020 Senate elections and a majority decides to eliminate the filibuster, passing any legislation will require at least two Democratic senators who are refusing to even commit to endorsing the Democratic nominee in 2020. Medicare For All is not going to be passed in the next Congress. Joe Biden’s robust public option, for that matter, is not going to be passed by the next Congress. This is true no matter who becomes president. This is about establishing long-term goals and mobilizing voters — that’s it. So Warren’s plan is fine, Bernie’s plan is fine, and to act as if difference in minor details in them will have policy consequences for the next administration or should influence anybody’s primary vote either way is nuts.

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