People used to jokingly refer to Steve Jobs's "reality distortion field," his ability to convince the public that Apple's products existed on a plane of revolutionary awesomeness that no other company in history had ever matched. This is pretty much how I feel when I listen to Republican debates. They seem to take place in some kind of weird extra-dimensional bubble in which mundane laws of evidence and logic are no longer considered necessary. Paul Waldman captures this magical thinking in last night's debate:
- Health care in general, and Medicare in particular, are bankrupting our country.
- But government should never try to figure out which treatments are effective.
- Medicare should pay for any treatment anyone wants, regardless of whether it works or what it costs.
- If an insurance company refuses to pay for a procedure, that's their right as actors in the free market; if Medicare refuses to pay for a procedure, that's Washington bureaucrats trying to kill you.
- We need to cut Medicare benefits, because don't forget it's bankrupting our country.
That's about the shape of it: Medicare costs too much, but all proposed cuts to Medicare are a death sentence for seniors. Unless, of course, those cuts are really, really deep and come from Paul Ryan. Don't try to make sense of it. It will just make your head hurt.