William Voegeli, beautifully correct:
If Democrats were forthright and respectful they would have enough confidence in their proposals and their countrymen to speak plainly. They would say: “We’re not idiots; you’re not idiots; and only an idiot could believe it’s possible for government to do big things that help lots of people without also imposing big costs, through taxes and regulations, that adversely affect lots of people. The reason you should support the Democratic agenda is not that we’re magicians who can make something out of nothing. It’s that the benefits of our programs will exceed their costs—so much so that our country and most of our citizens will be better off paying the higher taxes and complying with the more stringent regulations than we would be absent the taxes, the regulations, and the benefits they make possible.”
. . .
In 2009 the federal government spent $425 billion on Medicare and $251 billion on Medicaid. Together they accounted for 19 percent of all federal spending that year. If the two programs were indeed full of waste and abuse, citizens would be fully justified in the modest demand that their elected officials treat making Medicare and Medicaid effective and honest as an urgent end in itself, rather than hold the discharge of that duty hostage to the political effort to make those wasteful, abusive programs even bigger. They would be further justified, as opposed to sickeningly childish and hypocritical, in supposing that if two huge, 44-year-old government programs’ endemic waste and abuse had not been rooted out, there might be good, daunting reasons for that problem’s persistence. Voters would go on to conclude, plausibly, that prudence dictated reducing the waste and abuse first, rather than making massive new spending commitments that were predicated upon reducing it somehow, someday.
See also "Hypocritical Harvard Profs and the Insanity of Statism":
Another way of putting this is: Obamacare is an intervention sold on the pretext of fixing problems directly caused by past interventions. The Left's optimism in the federal government's ability to tinker its way to controlled costs under Obamacare is a self-deception. And it is built on a willful ignorance of long-forgotten, unintended consequences of statist policies.