Like Leonhardt, Lowrey concedes that the do-nothing approach is not ideal. “For one, health care spending would comprise an enormous portion of overall spending,” she writes. “Right now, the United States spends about $1 in every $6 on health care. In a decade or two, based on the do-nothing plan, it would spend $1 in every $5, then $1 in every $4, and not get better health outcomes, either. Those dollars would be better spent in other industries or on other priorities. Moreover, under the do-nothing plan, the government would tax a much bigger share of GDP than it currently does, and the tax burden on the middle-class would be uncomfortably high.” That’s probably going to be a problem.

But the benefits of the non-plan do include not having to sell Alaska, end Social Security, or ship the poor to Canada.

A nice rhetorical trope, but I’m not sure we’ll hear it from this afternoon’s rhetorician.

Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor.