•Refundable tax credits. Low-income working Americans without health insurance should get help in buying private coverage through a refundable tax credit. This is preferable to building a separate, government-run health-care plan.
What would William Strunk, Jr. have called "refundable tax credits", if such a thing existed in his time? I'm guessing he'd call them what they are: "grants". I'm not sure why Jindal and other conservatives persist in wasting an additional six syllables on the longer euphemism. Perhaps it's so they can characterize government spending on such grants as tax relief instead of government spending, but, if so, this bit of obfuscation just plays into liberals' rhetoric on progressive tax policy. Most liberals are happy to characterize transfer payments to low-income Americans as tax relief, and to characterize tax cuts for the wealthy as a form of government spending. There doesn't seem to be much benefit to conservatives in conceding the rhetorical and policy ground on this, particularly since, as some smart centrists (e.g., Clive Crook) and even at least one smart liberal (Matt Yglesias) acknowledge, we are approaching the point of diminishing returns when it comes to increasing the progressivity of our tax system.
As both men have noted, if American liberals want to expand the welfare state raising taxes on the rich, by itself, won't be enough to pay for it; they'll have to raise taxes (by at least a modest amount) on everyone else. Yglesias has noted that countries such as Sweden, which have social safety nets envied by American liberals, also have much more regressive taxes than we do.