The F Word

Two pieces in the MSM flagships today on one theme – fairness.

In the New York Times, Paul Krugman compares Barack Obama’s health plan to John Edwards’s and Hillary Clinton’s and finds it wanting. The reason: Mr. Obama would not make health insurance mandatory. People could choose to remain uninsured, then opt into the system if their health began to fail.

Mr. Obama, who otherwise seems like a bright guy, doesn’t seem to get how the whole “insurance” thing works. As Mr. Krugman writes, Mr. Obama’s plan would allow people to game the system by jumping in and out while the folks who act in good faith and buy insurance while they’re still in health get penalized. Not fair.

Over in the Washington Post, Renae Merle describes similar frustration among those homeowners who acted in good faith during the housing bubble. They paid off their credit cards, saved up a down payment, bought only what they could afford.

Again, some people gamed the system, flipping houses, using their inflated equity as an ATM. Now the mortgage crisis is here and what should have been a day of reckoning was postponed when major lenders agreed to freeze interest rates.

In both cases, no one wants to be punitive and cause others pain fort the sake of doing so, but both Mr. Obama’s health care plan and the mortgage rate freeze send the message that there are worse consequences for playing by the rules than violating them.

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