Years ago, when I meekly asked my parents to raise my weekly allowance from $1.50 to $2, my father began an impassioned speech on how our household was "holding the line" on expenses, citing the encroaching Christmas season and a planned vacation that following summer to Cape Cod.At that point, I wasn't sophisticated enough to differentiate between revenue and overhead, but I was reasonably sure I wasn't going to get the pay hike.

Last month I sort of felt that way again during the State of the Union address, when the president outlined a plan to make health care more affordable for the roughly 47 million Americans who don't have it. I've never been confused with Milton Friedman, but in my limited grasp of economics I thought that you could only accomplish that in a select number of ways, the most obvious being that someone, somewhere would have to pay more for the same services or pay something for services they're currently not getting.

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