11/21/2006 03:07 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Best Things in Life Are Free... (But War and Health Care Are Not)

One of the things I found most infuriating about the debate over whether to invade Iraq was the refusal of so-called liberal hawks to factor in the economic cost of the war, and what that would likely do to the other priorities in which they alleged themselves to believe. Of course, I'm not saying this should have been the only question involved. But if there were less expensive ways of dealing with the problem -- even as it was widely misunderstood back then -- shouldn't all the tradeoffs have been considered together? Consider for a moment the cost of giving Americans what virtually every other capitalist democracy in the world has, universal health care. The insurance industry puts a price tag of that at about $300 billion. I'm sure the plan itself is self-serving, but the cost sounds about right. And it's less than a quarter of what the Iraq fiasco is going to cost. But bring that up during a "national security" debate, and you're a wimp and disbarred from further participation. Anyway, I'll be surprised if this goes anywhere, given our fiscal woes and Republicans' pretense of having rediscovered economic conservatism. In fact, I've seen no mention of it since it ran last week.

Read the whole Altercation here.