Krugman: “a combination of death panels and sales taxes”

Paul Krugman must have been reading Trollope’s The Fixed Period, at least the part about avoiding the decrepitude and expenses of old age:

Paul Krugman Recommends ‘Death Panels’ to Help Balance Budget

RUTH MARCUS, WASHINGTON POST: Right now, 75 percent of people believe you could balance the budget without touching Medicare or Social Security; 75 percent of people believe that you can balance the budget without raising taxes. Well, you could, but it would be extraordinarily painful.

People need to get a little bit of reality therapy. There’s going to be another dose coming on Wednesday when another group is going to submit their recommendations, very concrete recommendations about how to do it. That’s the conversation we need to have before we start picking apart solutions.

PAUL KRUGMAN, NEW YORK TIMES: If they were going to do reality therapy, they should have said, OK, look, Medicare is going to have to decide what it’s going to pay for. And at least for starters, it’s going to have to decide which medical procedures are not effective at all and should not be paid for at all. In other words, it should have endorsed the panel that was part of the health care reform.

If it’s not even — if the commission isn’t even brave enough to take on the death panels people, then it’s doing no good at all. It’s not educating the public. It’s not telling people about the kinds of choices that need to be made.

A few minutes later:

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, HOST: But what is going to happen? I mean, are you clear on where a compromise is going to be? It’s got to be discussed before the end of the year, no?

KRUGMAN: No. Some years down the pike, we’re going to get the real solution, which is going to be a combination of death panels and sales taxes. It’s going to be that we’re actually going to take Medicare under control, and we’re going to have to get some additional revenue, probably from a VAT. But it’s not going to happen now.

Death and taxes: the progressive answer to every problem?

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