I thought this Ruffini health care retrospective began well, but what I don’t understand is once you admit to yourself that there are market failures that hurt people that government can ameliorate…where does that leave you? Patrick says: “On health care, I have no idea what our basic guiding principle is. Seriously, I don’t.” This sounds like an existential crisis, and I think I can help: it leaves you on the left.
The typical US economic policy divide is that Democrats want to use government to correct for failures while Republicans blame government intervention for the same. Now, it’s certainly possible for that dynamic to change, and for the next right to be a European-style conservative party that embraces social investment & regulation while emphasizing free market methods of execution. But that would require a much different Republican party, and more importantly requires that you first create the social investment and regulation.
Which is to say, if you want to expand the social safety net, all things being equal, you’re on the left in contemporary American politics. Maybe, now that HCR has passed, or in a few more years after Obama’s ‘socialism’ has marched farther forward, you’ll find yourself on the right. But advocating expanding government from the right means you’ve divorced yourself from political reality.