Seems like the blogosphere is having a heyday (see here, here, and here) with Tyler Cowen's assertion that he could never become a democrat because they support single payer health care. Despite his bizzare economic claims:
But since single-payer national health insurance violates every economic law known to mankind, I am again unsure how I could leap on the Democratic bandwagon.I think it's a reasonable position.
Matt, apparently, does not:
Time to step back. As far as I can tell, the Democratic Party is not in favor of a single-payer health care system. Dennis Kucinich proposed one ("Medicare for all!") in the 2004 primaries and, as you'll recall, he wasn't a major contender. None of the other candidates did. Several of the major liberal think tanks have come up with health care proposals in the past twelve months, and none of them have endorsed a single-payer system. So as an objection to the Democratic Party this is a slightly odd one. It would be like me complaining about the Republican plan to abolish national parks -- I'm sure someone in the GOP wants to do it, but it's hardly a requirement of entry.This strikes me as a completely false comparison.
If you feel that strongly about single payer health care, it's totally reasonable not to want to vote Democrat. Our best chances of enacting a single payer system are surely with the Democratic party. Think tank plans aside (many of which are written for their plausibility) there's a significant number of Democrats who support single payer. The vast majority of my democratic friends do. Polling suggests that 62% of Americans favor a government-run system. I don't know how many people want to abolish the national parks, but I'm sure it's miniscule. It might not be the party platform, but surely it's a larger issue than Matt makes it out to be.
What's my party-breaking issue? Choice. I will not vote major office Republican if the candidate is a strong anti-choice advocate. Take McCain. He's all sunshine and smiles for Democrats, but were he in office and enacting his ideal legislative agenda I'd be displeased, to say the least. And come to think of it, I wouldn’t vote Republican based on their health care agenda either.
Bizarre argumentation aside, if Tyler feels so strongly about single payer, then no, I would not recommend he vote Democrat.
Update: Jon's got more on the grip of single payer among Democratic leaders.