Governance, Not Austerity

May 24, 2013

In his discussion [at the Edward A. Myerberg Center], Rep. John Sarbanes [D-3] tried to put seniors at ease by telling them what they wanted to hear rather than by facing reality (“Health-Care Costs Will Stabilize,” May 3). But there will be significant changes
to health-care delivery and covered procedures after new protocols are enacted. The establishment of insurance exchanges will be a complex and costly process. Currently, states are struggling with the increases to the number of people enrolled in Medicaid.

Rep. Sarbanes’ comments on the economy were particularly disturbing. Sequestration occurred because the Obama Administration and a divided Congress were unable to resolve the problem of unsustainable benefit programs. Rep. Sarbanes criticized sequestration as a form of austerity, arguing that the Eurozone unemployment rate of 11 percent is due to austerity measures. However, the unemployment rates of individual Eurozone countries tell a different story. The rates for Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and Luxembourg are significantly below the average. The rates for Spain, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Portugal are significantly above the average. The nations that practice good governance have stronger economies. Those that pursue unsustainable social welfare programs have weaker economies and high unemployment. The problem is governance, not austerity.

Lowell E. Abramson
Baltimore

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