Friday, February 18, 2011

Zonkers and millionaires

Partially making up for recent indiscretions, Paul Krugman gives us a wonderful analogy for proposals that leave out the hard part:
When I was in college, we sat around eating, among other things, Screaming Yellow Zonkers; they weren’t especially tasty, but the copy on the boxes was fun. Among the instruction was the Disappearing Zonkers Trick:

After putting on your magician’s outfit, look around the house for a handkerchief, two hard boiled eggs, and a small piece of radium. Then take seven Zonkers and place them neatly into the exact center of the handkerchief. Two eggs are arranged near each other and under your hands. Tie a half-hitch knot in the radium. Then make the seven Zonkers disappear. Your friends will be amazed.

It occurred to me that this is a pretty good description of the Ryan Roadmap plan for controlling health care costs — make a lot of proclamations about responsibility, dress up in a reformer’s costume, then make cost growth disappear.

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