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Ezra Klein: August 2, 2009 - August 8, 2009

Is There a Deal to be Made on Health Care? An Interview With Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Earlier this week, Sen. Lindsey Graham was the sole Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote in favor of Sonia Sotomayor. A few days later, he co-signed an op-ed in The Washington Post with seven Senate Democrats and...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 8, 2009; 5:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (73)
Categories:  Health Reform , Interviews  
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Tab Dump

• What not to do with Bill Bratton. • What to do with Bill Bratton. • John Hughes was really an incredibly decent guy. • Bill Maher argues that Americans are very, very stupid. • Are cows worse than cars?...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 7, 2009; 6:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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The Fear of Change

I'm not sure how right Paul Krugman is about this. But I think the answer is at least fairly right: There was a telling incident at a town hall held by Representative Gene Green, D-Tex. An activist turned to...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 7, 2009; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Was There Ever a Deal Between the White House and Pharma?

The White House now appears to be telling Congress that there was no deal to protect the pharmaceutical industry from further cuts. Max Baucus is now saying there was no deal to protect the pharmaceutical industry from further cuts. That...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 7, 2009; 5:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Is This Health-Care Reform's Worst Idea Yet?

The Senate Finance Committee does not want to propose an employer mandate to promote health-care coverage. But it doesn't want to let employers entirely off the hook, either. So it has come up with one of the worst ideas in...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 7, 2009; 5:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Health Economics , Health Reform  
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More on Meat and Carbon

Speaking of meat and climate change, Tom Philpott kindly defends me from the attacks of the American Meat Institute. As he explains, one of the key issues here is the use of percentages. Meat production makes up a large percentage...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 7, 2009; 4:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Food  
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Is the Problem With Meat Simply Factory Farming?

Revered farmer Eliot Coleman has a blog post up at Grist debunking the "myth" that meat production increases carbon emissions. His argument is that meat production doesn't increase carbon. Industrial meat production does. And there's something to this. Using...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 7, 2009; 4:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Food  
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Bluefin Tuna and Progressivism

I'm about to quote Brad Plumer on the sharp decline in bluefin tuna and the possible end of the most delicious type of all nigiri. But what's interesting to me is not that bluefin stocks are declining. It's that everyone...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 7, 2009; 3:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Democracy in Action

Eric Kleefeld rounds up some videos of Tea Partiers and union members getting into a fight over health-care reform. It's ugly stuff: It's really startling how quickly the temperature has increased on health-care reform. It was only a month or...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 7, 2009; 1:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Lunch Break: A Big Day for Blogging

Rapper The Game has responded to blogger Marc Lynch's analysis of how The Game should handle his feud with Jay-Z. As Spencer Ackerman writes, it's not a wise response: The Game lashes out at Lynch, which runs the risk of...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 7, 2009; 12:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Lunch Break  
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July's Happy Job Numbers

July saw a real slowing of job losses. In June, non-farm payrolls -- jobs, in other words -- dropped by 467,000. July saw a drop of 247,000. That's not only less than June, but less than June by more than...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 7, 2009; 12:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Economy , Solutions  
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In Praise of Matt Taibbi

The Columbia Journalism Review's Dean Starkman writes an able defense of Matt Taibbi against those who would drum him from journalism for using too many curse words or daring to express outrage beneath his byline. But toward the end, Starkman...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 7, 2009; 11:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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When Steve Pearlstein Stops Being Polite and Starts Getting Real

My traditionally mild-mannered colleague has had enough: As a columnist who regularly dishes out sharp criticism, I try not to question the motives of people with whom I don't agree. Today, I'm going to step over that line. The recent...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 7, 2009; 11:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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Can There Be a Good Compromise on Health-Care Reform?

Earlier this week, Oregon's Ron Wyden and Utah's Bob Bennett co-authored an op-ed for The Washington Post arguing that the Healthy Americans Act represents a bipartisan path forward for health-care reform. But they weren't the only ones. Along for the...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 7, 2009; 10:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Tab Dump

• Alec McGillis has a great article on the policy debate over the public option. • Slavoj Zizek gets a bit whimsical over Silvio Berlusconi. • The New Yorker's Profile of Sheila Bair. • Capsule biographies of Max Baucus's "Gang...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 6, 2009; 6:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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Seniors and Health-Care Reform

Matt Yglesias has a good graph providing some context for the fact that seniors are pretty opposed to Barack Obama's health-care reform plans. Turns out that seniors were also pretty opposed to Barack Obama. This is playing out in health-care...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 6, 2009; 5:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Health Reform , Polls  
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The Gender Politics of the Financial Crisis

Moe Tkacik has a great piece exploring the gender politics of the financial crisis and, in particular, the vicious treatment of Sheila Bair, Brooksley Born and other women who have been marginalized by the Clinton and Obama economic teams but...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 6, 2009; 4:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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How Did Mike Enzi Become One of the Six Senators Deciding Health-Care Reform?

Jon Cohn has an excellent post about the peculiar presence of Sen. Mike Enzi in Max Baucus's health-care working group. Enzi is not an Olympia Snowe or an Arlen Specter. He's one of the most conservative members of the...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 6, 2009; 3:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Democracy in Action

Congressman Brad Miller is getting death threats over health-care reform. There are days when I look at the modesty of the plan -- which would cover 40 million people, impose some small taxes on the rich, curb the worst excesses...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 6, 2009; 2:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Chat Transcript

Lots of talk about health care, why single-payer supporters don't get more love, why seniors are so selfish, and whether Chistopher Kimball is actually insane. Enjoy! Columbia, SC: In honor of Twitter's down period, I think all responses should be...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 6, 2009; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Lunch Break

Jon Stewart chats with Henry Waxman. The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10cHenry Waxmanwww.thedailyshow.comDaily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorSpinal Tap Performance...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 6, 2009; 12:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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How Do You Kill the Filibuster?

I'm not sure whether the filibuster is actually unconstitutional. In any case, I don't think it's really the relevant question. The filibuster shouldn't be disqualified. It should be dismantled. But what conditions would make that possible? I can primarily...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 6, 2009; 12:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Congress  
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The Sheriff at the Gates: A Farce in Three Acts

Normally, I'd use Twitter to link to this very funny rendering of Gates-gate as a three-act, Shakespearian play. But Twitter is down. So I'll blog it instead. This feels so old school!...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 6, 2009; 11:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Health-Care Reform Is Popular. But the Bill Isn't.

These poll results are either very good for health-care reform or very bad. It's hard to say: A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll taken last week found its sample split 41 percent approving and 46 percent disapproving of Obama's efforts...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 6, 2009; 11:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Health Reform , Polls  
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Has the White House Given the Health-Care Industry Immunity?

There's been a lot of skepticism about the White House's strategy of cutting deals in which industry players voluntarily promise to save money over the next 10 years. The skepticism is simple enough: If the pharmaceutical companies are willing...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 6, 2009; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Twitter Is Down

Twitter appears to be down. What I would like to do is tweet that Twitter is down. But I can't. Because Twitter is down. That's like a Twitter paradox, which is also an idea that would make for a good...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 6, 2009; 10:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Story Time With Zeke Emanuel

There's a reason they call him the nicest Emanuel brother. I was in the limo on the way to pick up my brother and on the phone with my youngest daughter. Truth be told she taught me how to knot...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 6, 2009; 9:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Post Chat Today

Submit some questions here. I will try to answer them. I will try my hardest. I will find relevant links and everything. I promise. The chat will happen at noon today, and you can of course participate live, too....

By Ezra Klein  |  August 6, 2009; 9:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Is Megan McArdle Right About Everything?

As of late, I think my credentials on the subject of "thinking Megan McArdle is wrong about things" are pretty ironclad. But Mark Ames's approach deserves a bit of pushback: It relies on what appears to be a Nexis search...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 6, 2009; 9:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Tab Dump

• A profile of Cook's Illustrated's Christopher Kimball. I have always thought that this man is probably insane. • Slate is tracking the "government isn't Medicare" meme. • The New York Times has a new restaurant critic. • On a...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 5, 2009; 6:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Tab Dump  
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The Role of Prop. 13

James Fallows reminds us that California might be a liberal state, but it's constrained by the mother of all conservative tax structures: Proposition 13. Pre-Prop 13 (as Benjamin Schwarz points out in his review of the great new Kevin Starr...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 5, 2009; 6:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  California  
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Gooz News!

Speaking of pharmaceutical innovation, Merrill Goozner's four posts on "The Innovation Conundrum" (1, 2, 3, 4) are an excellent introduction to these issues. His blog, GoozNews, is also excellent, and I don't link to it enough....

By Ezra Klein  |  August 5, 2009; 5:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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In Defense of Experts

To recap: There is an argument that national health insurance will be a net negative because pharmaceutical companies will make less money and thus create fewer new and life-saving products. On Monday, I published an interview with Dr. Jerry Avorn,...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 5, 2009; 5:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
Categories:  Health  
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The Day's Weirdest Picture

This picture led every paper today, but I still can't get over it: I want to know about the smile negotiations. Did the North Koreans demand a grin and Clinton's camp simply refused? Did the North Koreans except that Clinton...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 5, 2009; 3:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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The $52 Million Question

I've been following this stuff pretty closely, but I still find the sums a bit shocking. So far, various groups have spent $52 million on ads related to health-care reform. That's some stimulus. The graph you see on the right...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 5, 2009; 2:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Lunch Break

Autotune the news 7! The actual singing is getting better....

By Ezra Klein  |  August 5, 2009; 1:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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The Boston Globe on the Massachusetts Health-Care Reforms

The Boston Globe has a good editorial today on the reality behind the Massachusetts health-care reforms: Pundits and politicians who oppose universal healthcare for the nation have a new straw man to kick around - the Massachusetts reform plan that...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 5, 2009; 12:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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American Exceptionalism

The graph above is a bit small to read. Click on it for a larger version. It comes from a University of Maryland poll surveying popular attitudes toward global warming in 19 countries. The question is, "How high of...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 5, 2009; 12:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Filibuster Nation

I don't know whether Harold Meyerson or his editors thought up the term "filibuster nation." But it's a good 'un. It's not just that vocal minorities dominate the workings of the Senate, but they also have a tendency to...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 5, 2009; 11:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Congress  
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What Do the Grassroots Care About?

The tea parties might be astroturfed. They might be underwritten by large donors. But I basically agree with Marc Ambinder: They represent an authentic, and strong, sentiment. I think that sentiment is more about minority opposition than health-care reform,...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 5, 2009; 10:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
 
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All You Ever Wanted to Know and More

Marion Nestle is right. The USDA really does offer an incredible wealth of information about domestic carrot production....

By Ezra Klein  |  August 5, 2009; 10:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Do Children Make You Happy? As Happy as Blogging?

As someone who plans to eventually produce offspring who will spend half their time adoring me and the other half realizing every ambition I failed to make good on, I've always been a bit dispirited by the finding that having...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 5, 2009; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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My Birther Problem

There's something I don't understand about the Birther movement. Something serious. Something fundamental. Imagine Barack Obama was born in Kenya. So what? This isn't like Bill Clinton murdering Vince Foster and running drugs through the Arkansas airport. It's not like...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 5, 2009; 7:09 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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Tab Dump

• Debunking the euthanasia canard. • The time Gawker put The Washington Post out of business. • Paul Waldman considers the evidence that successful government programs do not make people more likely to support government. • Tom Philpott's final sentence...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 4, 2009; 6:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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The Curious Appeal of Target

I don't know many hipsters who hate Target. I'm not saying my sample of hipsters is somehow representative of the vast population of people who bought Vampire Weekend, but for what it's worth: Nobody hates Target. They don't like Wal-Mart....

By Ezra Klein  |  August 4, 2009; 6:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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All You Need to Know About Cash-for-Clunkers

I've kept meaning to catch up on the cash-for-clunkers debate, and have kept, well, not doing it. Luckily, Justin Fox has an excellent summary....

By Ezra Klein  |  August 4, 2009; 5:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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The Problem With Seniors

Sadly, it's not only conservative economists who fear that government will get its hands on Medicare. It's seniors. Seniors are by far the least supportive group for health-care reform. Barack Obama jokes about the little old ladies warning the...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 4, 2009; 4:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Slow Blogging

Sorry for the leisurely pace today. I spent the morning on the Hill doing interviews and have to run to a panel on why the media hates using numbers in a few minutes. Then there'll be more blogging. In the...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 4, 2009; 1:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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A Word on Demonstrators

I've been attending health-care panels and events on a pretty regular basis for four or five years now. Each event, of course, is its own precious snowflake, with its own set of graphs and bullet points and dweebish jokes. But...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 4, 2009; 1:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Orszag vs. the CBO: Round Two

Peter Orszag and the Office of Management and Budget have fired another shot at the Congressional Budget Office this morning, releasing a letter signed by an assemblage of health-care wonks all of whom believe that Orszag's Independent Medicare Advisory Council...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 4, 2009; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Will Durst Is Coming

Political comedian Will Durst is coming to D.C. I saw Durst on one of his last swings through Washington and the schtick didn't really work. It wasn't because Durst isn't funny. He is. It's because the crowd knew too much....

By Ezra Klein  |  August 4, 2009; 10:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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The Strange Role of the Insurers

I feel for Karen Ignani, head lobbyist for the health insurance industry. For the last year, her group has been by far the most cooperative of any major industry stakeholder. It has attended every summit and signed every letter....

By Ezra Klein  |  August 4, 2009; 9:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Championing the Low Road

Ed Kilgore is right about everything. In this case, he's right about Texas. The truth is that state policies have little or no effect on short-term economic trends affecting their populations. Texas and California exist in national and global economies....

By Ezra Klein  |  August 4, 2009; 9:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Tab Dump

• I don't agree with everything in this conservative farmer's rant, but it's worth reading. • A great piece on the Harlem Children's Zone. • Coca-Cola's incredible logo. • A scatterplot of the relationship -- or lack thereof -- between...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 3, 2009; 6:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Tab Dump  
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Who's to Blame for Newspaper Revenues?

The headline of Sunday's lead Outlook article was "How Gawker Ripped Off My Story & Why It's Destroying Journalism." The first part was true. The second part wasn't. Gawker did rip off Ian Shapira's excellent article about "business coach" Anne...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 3, 2009; 6:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Journalism  
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Will Health-Care Reform Save Medical Innovation? An Interview With Dr. Jerry Avorn.

Since we've been talking a bit about pharmaceutical innovation and whether it could survive a universal health-care system, I wanted to bring an actual expert on the subject into the conversation. Dr. Jerry Avorn is chief of the division of...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 3, 2009; 5:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Interviews  
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More on Red State Models

David Leonhardt, in part replying to my earlier post on Texas, asks, "why haven’t Democrats had more success in creating model economic policies on the state level?" I was a bit confused by the question, as I don't know of...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 3, 2009; 4:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Economic Policy  
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Curves

According to Clive Crook, the Congressional Budget Office has found that "the Democratic plans ... would 'bend the curve' in the wrong direction." It hasn't found that. In fact, the CBO is specifically avoiding that question. This blog post from...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 3, 2009; 3:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Health Economics  
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Should We Envy Texas?

Ross Douthat has a strange column today arguing that Texas -- yes, Texas -- represents the sort of "model" economy that Barack Obama promised but can't quite seem to achieve. "The president wants to govern America like a blue state,"...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 3, 2009; 2:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Economic Policy  
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The Health-Care Reform Bill Is a Muslim Who Was Born in Kenya

My inbox has been filling up with panicked messages about viral e-mails filled with scary lies about the health-care reform bills moving through Congress. I haven't responded because, well, you can just drown beneath this stuff. But the Web site...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 3, 2009; 1:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Lunch Break

I worry I've got too much indie rock in these lunch breaks. So here's a remix of Digable Planets' classic "Where I'm From."...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 3, 2009; 12:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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This Week's Think Tank: California, Bankers, and the End of Cooking

1) California's budget crisis in charts, graphs, and bullet points. 2) The Center for Economic and Policy Research explains how a tax on financial transactions would work. 3) Gary Gorton and Andrew Metrick argue that "securitized banking" caused the financial...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 3, 2009; 12:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Think Tank  
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How Financial Speculation Can Help America

Some good paragraphs from Professor Krugman: But speculation based on information not available to the public at large is a very different matter. As the U.C.L.A. economist Jack Hirshleifer showed back in 1971, such speculation often combines “private profitability” with...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 3, 2009; 11:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Financial Regulation , Solutions , Taxes  
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Can Democrats Have a 50-Vote Senate?

Of late, Jonathan Zasloff has been arguing that the traditional objections to the reconciliation process don't apply. According to him, this is all just false consciousness on the part of cowed Democrats. It may be that the rules of the...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 3, 2009; 11:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Congress  
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Fiscal Responsibility vs. Fiscal Conservatism

Robert Samuelson's column this morning is a good reminder that there's a difference between being fiscally responsible and fiscally conservative. The subject of his argument, at least ostensibly, is California's budgetary crisis and the need for government to manage its...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 3, 2009; 10:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Budget , California  
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The State of Play

Jon Cohn gets some altitude and explains where we are in the grand sweep of health-care reform. Unsurprisingly, I agree with everything he says. Seriously. Everything. Sometimes I think he's copying my mind....

By Ezra Klein  |  August 3, 2009; 10:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Why Don't We Just Expand Medicare?

"There are times when I wonder if the right thing to do on health care reform is simply to raise the Medicare tax rate and drop the Medicare eligibility age to 50," muses Brad DeLong. This is the "single-payer incrementalism"...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 3, 2009; 9:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Going Dutch

One of the real virtues of the blogosphere is that when someone has a question or an insight about economics, plenty of economists are around to comment on it. But the long-term impact of that has been that economists are...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 3, 2009; 7:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Health of Nations  
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