The Republican governor of Louisiania, Bobby Jindal, a potential presidential candidate, seems to have picked up on the poll showing declining public trust in President Obama or on Clifford Asness's comments about "mendacious socialists." In today's Wall Street Journal, Mr. Jindal writes, "The left in Washington has concluded that honesty will not yield its desired policy result. So it resorts to a fundamentally dishonest approach to reform."
Mr. Jindal claims, "When government bureaucracies drive the delivery of services—in this case inserting themselves between health-care providers and their patients—quality degradation will surely come." But he doesn't reckon with Medicare, which is how most Americans over 65 get their health care, the quality of which a lot of them are pretty pleased with. It's not the quality that is the big problem with Medicare, in the widely held view; the problem is the soaring costs. Mr. Jindal gives the example of the Federal Emergency Management Agency as an example of poor-quality federal service delivery. But the "government bureaucracy" argument rests on the idea that while the current hefty share of government as a percentage of health spending -- somewhere between 45% and 60% -- is acceptable, increasing it will suddenly yield unacceptable declines in quality. That may be an argument, but it isn't one Mr. Jindal succeeds in making, or even really attempts.