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More on Taxpayer Receipts

By Matthew Yglesias  

"More on Taxpayer Receipts"

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For the record, all and sundry should note that Ethan Porter proposed the taxpayer receipt idea in Democracy way back before it was cool. Meanwhile, though liberals have generally been operating with the assumption that better public understanding of what the government spends money on would build support for higher revenue, card-carrying libertarian Peter Suderman says just the reverse would happen.

My guess is that in the real world almost nobody would pay attention, and also that almost nobody knows what the difference between Medicare and Medicaid is. What’s more, I don’t even think public opinion is that big a driver of these specific spending issues. I think if I were to say “let’s reduce out-of-control spending by cutting how much Medicare pays to low-quality hospitals” that everyone would say “good idea!” Then when the head of Randomville Community Hospital called a press conference surrounded by doctors and nurses to denounce me and talk about how my cuts would threaten life-saving services the local community relies on, everyone would condemn me. People trust health care providers and hate politicians which makes it extremely difficult for politicians to do anything that harms the interests of health care providers.

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