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Ezra Klein: July 26, 2009 - August 1, 2009

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• Did the Supreme Court create the health-care mess? • What lessons does the Clean Air Act hold for cap-and-trade? • Mark Schmitt examines Barack Obama's "cockeyed optimism" about American government. • What would a "common sense" health-care reform look...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 31, 2009; 6:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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How Do You Decide to Run for President?

The Post has published an excerpt from Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson's new book, "The Battle for America 2008," which has some extended ruminations from the winner of that battle. In particular, I'm always interested in the decision-making process...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 31, 2009; 6:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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Am I a Radical?

To make a related point to the previous post, I'm not sure I'd term calls for procedural reform "radical," much less "revolutionary." The history of Congress is, in part, a history of procedural reforms. Newt Gingrich made a bunch of...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 31, 2009; 5:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Congress  
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Misremembering the Filibuster

Conor Friedersdorf mounts a very standard attack on those of us advocating procedural reforms in the Congress: What is most striking is the short memory of progressive bloggers on these matters. Isn’t Social Security a “serious, foreseeable and solvable” threat...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 31, 2009; 4:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Congress  
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Klein Smackdown Watch

A reader who seems to know what he's talking about e-mails: I enjoy reading your blog and think you are one of the more responsible and honest journalist I have read recently. But this is why I was so surprised...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 31, 2009; 3:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Take Back the Beep

I've long wondered about those 15-second instructional messages you get every time you try and leave a cellphone user a message. I know I need to wait for a beep. I also know I should unwrap food from its packaging...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 31, 2009; 2:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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What's Going on in the House?

Now that Henry Waxman has struck a deal with the Blue Dogs and the Blue Dogs have struck a deal with the liberals, health-care reform looks like it's finally leaving Energy and Commerce. But it's worth taking a moment...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 31, 2009; 1:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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The State of Play on Obesity Policy

Campaign super-reporter Marc Ambinder has been working on a big article about obesity, and his blog, somewhat unexpectedly, has featured a lot of great stuff from the conferences he's been attending and the research he's been reading. Today's post, however,...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 31, 2009; 12:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Health  
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The Next AIG Problem

The New York Times has a great piece on the huge liabilities facing AIG's many insurers. The problem appears to be that AIG's various companies have insured the liabilities of all of AIG's other various companies. American Home's Finances, for...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 31, 2009; 12:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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The Long-Term Politics of Health Spending

I'm a bit more sold on taxing employer health benefits than some of the folks Alec McGillis quotes in this article. That said, this is a useful reality check: While not taxing health insurance should in theory encourage employees to...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 31, 2009; 11:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Ben Domenech on Pharmaceutical Development

I hadn't realized that conservative blogger Ben Domenech worked at the Department of Health and Human Services during the Bush administration. But he did, and while there, he got a firsthand look at the role that the National Institute of...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 31, 2009; 10:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Tom Toles Should Have Been a Political Consultant

XKCD also took a look at the beer summit today, wondering what would've happened if the White House had stocked only tequila......

By Ezra Klein  |  July 31, 2009; 10:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Blue Dogs vs. House Liberals

As of two days ago, the Blue Dogs had enough "no" votes to kill health-care reform in the House. Then they got some minor concessions and agreed to the bill's passage. Now, however, House liberals appears to have enough "no'"...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 31, 2009; 9:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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NPR's On Point

As the title suggests, I'll be on NPR's On Point from 10-11 Eastern. Your affiliate might carry it at a different time, though. But you can find a list of times and the podcast at their web site....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 31, 2009; 8:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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High-Frequency Trading

The high-frequency trading game certainly sounds pretty shady. But I don't think it's a great candidate for fine-grained regulation. Rather, I'd like to see some high-frequency taxing. In particular, I'd like to see a financial transactions tax. Dean Baker is...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 31, 2009; 7:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Financial Regulation , Solutions  
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Tab Dump

• Michael Pollan considers Julia Child. • Against physician pay-for-performance. • David Leonhardt on the "T" word. •Conor Clarke talks to legendary economist Kenneth Arrow. • I didn't realize James Gandolfini could sing....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2009; 6:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Do Not Take Diet Advice From Roger Cohen

Speaking of obesity, Roger Cohen's column today is a bit of a strange bird. Forgetting his grotesque description of a fat young child ("her features had already surrendered to the glutinous march of obesity, disappearing into a pinkish and undifferentiated...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2009; 4:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Megan McArdle's Case Against National Health Insurance. Sort of.

In my chat today, a reader asked me to respond to Megan McArdle's lengthy case against national health insurance. The problem is that, well, there's not a lot to specifically respond to. In 1,600 words, she doesn't muster a single...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2009; 4:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (74)
Categories:  Health  
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Why Max Baucus Needed Ted Kennedy

The Missoula Independent has a long and thorough profile of Max Baucus. The conclusion is particularly trenchant: No one doubts that Baucus is putting in the necessary work to accomplish it. In fact, observers say that he thrives in...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2009; 1:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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What's Behind the Liberal Revolt on Health Care?

There's been some liberal discontent over the deal struck between Henry Waxman and the Blue Dogs yesterday. In particular, House progressives are angry that the public plan, which previously could use Medicare payment rates (with some exceptions) in its...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2009; 1:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Lunch Break

The Daily Tube introduced this Yo La Tengo video by saying, "if you're like many people, you've probably heard of Yo La Tengo but haven't actually heard Yo La Tengo." That sort of describes me, actually, so I sat down...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2009; 1:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Today's Chat Transcript

single payer: While I applaud Mr. Obama's health care efforts, I was floored when he indicated a single payer option was not on the table. WHAT? This plan is endorsed by MANY physicians as well as consumers. If he did...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2009; 12:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Live Chat Fun!

Starting...now! Come ask me questions!...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2009; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Give Congress a Fish and it Will Eat for a Day...

This is really interesting: In an apparent warning to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), some liberal Democrats have suggested a secret-ballot vote every two years on whether or not to strip committee chairmen of their gavels. Baucus, who...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2009; 11:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Congress  
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Obama Speaks About Speaking

Time's Karen Tumulty has a very nice interview with Barack Obama. This bit was especially striking: I will say that this has been the most difficult test for me so far in public life, trying to describe in clear,...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2009; 10:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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The Problem of (Some) Profits

Yale law professor Stephen Carter has a puzzling op-ed this morning defending the general concept of...profits. Of people making money. You might wonder whether anyone has actually gone so old school as to actually question whether it is good when...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2009; 10:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Economic Policy  
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Blue Dogs and House Democrats Reach a Deal; Senate Finance Committee Coming Close

Yesterday, the Blue Dog negotiators were held in the seven-hour meeting with House leadership and Rahm Emmanuel. It was not, I'm told, a pretty meeting. But it produced a deal. The substantive changes the Blue Dogs made to the bill...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 29, 2009; 4:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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On Co-Ops

As an addendum to the last post, since Jane Hamsher and Firedog Lake accused me of being part of the "Co-Op Squeeze Play," I should probably say a word on the proposal. I'm not an opponent of the co-op idea....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 29, 2009; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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The Most Important Part of Health-Care Reform

Firedog Lake helpfully reminds me to double down on yesterday's post: The public option isn't the most important part of health-care reform. It's not the most important part for covering people, and it's not the most important part for reforming...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 29, 2009; 3:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Lunch Break

This is a wonderfully trippy new video from the Octopus Project:...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 29, 2009; 12:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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How to Think About the CBO

I want to link to some of the criticisms of the Congressional Budget Office that are flying around today, but I want to link to them with a disclaimer: These are not criticisms of the Congressional Budget Office. These are...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 29, 2009; 12:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Budget  
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Eight Reasons to Pass Health-Care Reform

Barack Obama is going on the road today with a retooled pitch for health-care reform. In particular, he's emphasizing how reform will help the rest of us. To dramatize this, the White House has come up with the eight guarantees...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 29, 2009; 11:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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This Week's Gut Check Column: The Meat of the Problem

The debate over climate change has reached a rarefied level of policy abstraction in recent months. Carbon tax or cap-and-trade? Upstream or downstream? Should we auction permits? Head-scratching is, at this point, permitted. But at base, these policies aim...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 29, 2009; 11:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Articles , Food  
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What Has Happened to Bipartisanship?

Harold Meyerson has a nice piece today arguing that "bipartisanship" describes something very different than it used to: Rather than liberal Republicans coming together with liberal Democrats, or conservative Democrats coming together with conservative Republicans, the nearly total decimation of...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 29, 2009; 11:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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The Central Problem in Health-Care Reform

Some guy named Ezra Klein has an op-ed in today's Washington Post. I can't help but notice, though, that the beginning echoes things that have been written on this blog. This "Ezra Klein" must be a pretty regular reader: The...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 29, 2009; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Articles , Health Reform  
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Tab Dump

• A trip inside Richard Cohen's head. • "Instead of treating CBO estimates like the Ten Commandments, we should treat them like the informed wild guesses they actually are." • Basic facts: They're important. • Speaking of basic facts, I'd...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2009; 6:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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The 19.5 Years Test

"[E]ven if getting any bill called 'health care reform' passed would be good short-term politics," writes political scientist Scott Lemieux, "it's worth further emphasizing that signing a bill without (at a minimum) a public option would be a substantive disaster."...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2009; 4:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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PBSing

I'll be on the Newshour tonight, towards the beginning of the show. It's 6 p.m. my time, but I'm not sure when it plays in the rest of the country....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2009; 4:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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A Litmus Test for Government

Matt Taibbi on health-care reform: It won’t get done, because that’s not the way our government works. Our government doesn’t exist to protect voters from interests, it exists to protect interests from voters. The situation we have here is an...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2009; 4:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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The Four-Day Workplace Week

As Brad Plumer says, normalizing a four-day workweek, at least for particular jobs, makes a certain amount of some sense. It's cheaper for some employers. It uses less resources. Workers like it. But the big argument, in this time of...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2009; 3:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Economic Policy  
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The Audacity of Normalcy

This is a good column from Dana Milbank: The most extraordinary thing about his presidency so far may be how ordinary it is. Obama came to power as an agent of change amid almost messianic expectations. But he's run...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2009; 2:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Government  
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Americans Fear Canada's Health-Care System, But Not as Much as Canadians Fear America's

Julie Mason has a sharp column in the Ottawa Citizen noting that "for years, Canadians have feared the American health care system; now Americans are being told to fear ours." She does a nice job knocking down Sen. Mitch...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2009; 2:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Health Reform , Health of Nations  
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William Shatner is...Sarah Palin

Lunch break was a bit too thesis-driven today. So here's something a bit more fun: Master poet William Shatner reciting Sarah Palin's resignation speech....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2009; 1:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Lunch Break: Against Restaurant Week

We're coming up on Restaurant Week here in Washington, D.C. From Aug. 24 to 30, an array of schmancy restaurants will serve up a three-course meal from a limited menu for a mere $34.09. It is, in theory at least,...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2009; 1:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Food  
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They Might Be Giants -- Or They Might Not Be

The Wall Street Journal's Gerald Seib laments "the absence on the front lines of four big personalities -- Rep. John Dingell, Sen. Ted Kennedy, former Sen. Tom Daschle and Sen. John McCain -- that helps explain why Congress and the...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2009; 12:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Congress  
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More on Max Baucus's Gang of Six

From Matt Yglesias: [I]t does strike me as worth noting that when you read a puff piece in The New York Times about the Gang of Six bipartisan dealmakers in the Senate that vast power is being wielded by people...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2009; 11:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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The Max Baucus Committee

There's been a lot of anxiety over leaks outlining the compromises being made in the Senate Finance Committee's health-care plan. Among these compromises is a rejection of the public option and the absence of an employer mandate. Disappointing stuff. But,...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2009; 11:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Bill Kristol Says Things That Are The Opposite of True

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10cBill Kristolwww.thedailyshow.comDaily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorJoke of the Day "One reason the price of health care is going up so fast is because of government programs," says Kristol. "The price...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2009; 10:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Tab Dump

• How Woodrow Wilson, FDR and LBJ worked the Congress. • Mark Schmitt looks at the politics of the CBO.. • Who controls the doctor-patient relationship? • The good, and bad, of heart care (and American medicine!). • The best...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2009; 6:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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I Love My Computer

It was obviously a bad idea for Derek Thompson to write a post on his computer wondering whether robots were evil. The Computer, after all, is the pretty clear predecessor of the robot, and it didn't take any more kindly...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2009; 5:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Cost Control in France

T.R. Reid's "The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care" is, at base, a tour of the world's leading medical systems. There's a chapter on France, and on Japan, and on Germany, and on...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2009; 4:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Health Economics , Health of Nations  
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Learning From Pretend

I liked this paragraph from Alyssa Rosenberg: I haven't watched The People v. Larry Flynt for years, but I remember how gorgeous Courtney Love's portrayal of Althea Flynt was, as a picture of someone just kind of slipping away (incidentally...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2009; 3:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Books  
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For, And Against, Reappointing Ben Bernanke

There's been rather a lot of commentary on whether Barack Obama should reappoint Ben Bernanke to the Federal Reserve. Count me with Tyler Cowen: In this case, Bernanke probably should be reappointed, not only because he's performed admirably, but...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2009; 3:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Federal Reserve , Solutions  
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What Happened to the Moral Case for Health-Care Reform?

I spent Sunday reading T.R. Reid's "The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care". It's very, very good. I'll probably base a couple of posts on it. For now, however, I want to...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2009; 2:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (121)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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The Promise of Menu Labeling

I think you can raise rather a lot of money from things like soda taxes. But I don't think you'll do much to change eating habits that way. Menu labeling, however, is much more interesting. The reason is not,...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2009; 1:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Food  
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Lunch Break

It's sort of a wonder that they got all this talent in one place at one time. I can't wait for this movie. See more funny videos and funny pictures at CollegeHumor....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2009; 12:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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This Week's Think Tank

1) Health economists Alan Garber and Jonathan Skinner wonder whether American health care is uniquely inefficient. 2) This won't shock anyone who was alive in the 1990s, but a review of the literature shows that there's little evidence that higher...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2009; 12:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Think Tank  
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Live Chat Transcript: So Much Health Care Wonkery Edition

Arlington, Va.: Great column yesterday. Bill Clinton may not have been able to pass health-care reform during his administration, but as you highlight in your column, in many ways the past decade and a half have vindicated his ideas on...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2009; 12:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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What Is Max Baucus Doing?

No one knows what Sen. Max Baucus is doing right now. Well, that's not quite true. Chuck Grassley probably knows. And Olympia Snowe probably knows. And Kent Conrad. And a few other senators and staff members. But that's about...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2009; 11:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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It's Not TV, It's HBO

I don't know how many "Entourage" fans we have on this blog, but last night's episode was really the ne plus ultra of the show's peculiar fantasy world: One of the problems that the characters had to resolve was that...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2009; 10:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Pelosi on Health-Care Reform: "It Will Win."

Nancy Pelosi hasn't lost many big votes. Nor has her primary lieutenant on health care, Henry Waxman. So when she says that "when I take this bill to the floor, it will win," history suggests that she's not bluffing....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2009; 9:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Live Chat at 11 a.m. Today

I'll be talking about my Outlook article from the weekend. You read it, right? Then ask me some questions about it. Or about other things. Just don't leave me all alone in the vast expanses of cyberspace....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2009; 9:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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What August Means for Health-Care Reform

Ben Smith and Kenneth Vogel had a very nice piece in Sunday's Politico detailing the importance of August for health-care reform. The White House, remember, had wanted the question settled by now. They wanted the legislation passed by August. But...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2009; 9:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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The Ghosts of ClintonCare

This article appeared in the Outlook section of today's Washington Post. But I figure you guys might feel more comfortable reading, and commenting on it, here. I'll also be doing a Post chat at 11am tomorrow on the piece. You...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 26, 2009; 3:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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