I disagree with Matthew Yglesias too. He's on board the finance universal health care with VAT bandwagon. Like Kevin Drum, he argues in favor of a Value Added Tax (VAT) by pretending that the only possible choices are VAT or pay or play. Like Drum, Yglesias does not consider the possibility that income taxes on rich people can be increased. I don't see why not, especially if such increases are combined with tax cuts for everyone else.
Alarmed as I am by the massive brain power of the VAT crowd, I am glad to declare the very brilliant counter argument made by Kevin Drum !?!
He notes the huge fixed costs of setting up VAT and that it would only be politically possible if it funded a huge program like single payer health insurance, which isn't going to happen. I agree as I noted here yesterday.
Also he explains that VAT is anything but a stealth tax. People hate it here, but do have some fun evading it.
I do wish that it weren't necessary for Drum to lead both sides of the debate, but a Drum vs Drum debate is of such vastly greater quality than any other currently available, that I am satisfied.