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Ezra Klein: August 16, 2009 - August 22, 2009

Tab Dump

• Time has a cover story on America's food crisis -- and how to fix it. • Michelle Goldberg reviews Christopher Caldwell's new book, "Reflections on the Revolution in Europe." • The Other Klein wonders: "How can you sustain a...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 20, 2009; 5:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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The Best Paper You'll Read Today

Elizabeth Docteur and Bob Berenson offer whether American health care really is the "best in the world." The two Urban Institute researchers take a comprehensive look at the evidence -- including the difficulties in gathering that evidence and the inadequacies...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 20, 2009; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Obama and Smerconish

On Thursday, Barack Obama went on Michael Smerconish's radio show to defend his health-care reform effort before a more skeptical audience. Smerconish is a right-wing radio host, but he can conduct a very good interview, as this transcript shows:...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 20, 2009; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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What Are Readers Worth?

Paul Farhi, a reporter who covers the media for The Washington Post, has an article in the American Journalism Review arguing that papers should basically kill off their online editions and retreat to a print-only model. Obviously, I'm not a...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 20, 2009; 3:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Journalism  
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Chuck Grassley Gives Up The Game

In an interview with The Washington Post, Chuck Grassley said that the town hall meetings have convinced him to revisit the breadth and scope of what the Gang of Six is considering. The calls for reform are "not quite as...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 20, 2009; 2:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Credible Threats

Progressives have raised almost $200,000 to support the liberals putting their shoulder into the public option. Kevin Drum calls this a "credible threat." Politicians might be craven creatures, but "it's a lot harder to vote Yes after taking a very...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 20, 2009; 1:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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A Bit More on Raising the Retirement Age for Social Security

James Garren writes in with a response to Wednesday's post opposing an increase in the Social Security retirement age: I am actually for raising the retirement age to 70, for essentially all the familiar reasons. However, I think your point...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 20, 2009; 12:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Social Security  
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How to Not Talk About Policy

Matt Yglesias says that his years in D.C. have made him more respectful of the deep and authentic ideological differences between people, but more shocked at "the high degree cynicism and immorality displayed in big-time politics." Senators who genuinely do...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 20, 2009; 12:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Do We Just Need Congressional Consensus?

“We need to get a bill that 75 or 80 senators can support,” says Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.). “If the Democrats choose to shut out Republicans and moderate Democrats, their plan will fail because the American people will have...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 20, 2009; 11:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Ted Kennedy's Vote

Any reconciliation-oriented strategy you can think of is predicated on the Democrats having 60 votes. In fact, any really good outcome you can think of is predicated on the Democrats having 60 votes. Happily, the Democrats do have 60...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 20, 2009; 11:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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The Two-Bill Strategy

The Wall Street Journal reports that Senate leadership is considering a two-bill strategy for health-care reform. The first bill would include reform's more difficult and controversial elements. The public option would be there, and the subsidies, and the revenues,...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 20, 2009; 10:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Tab Dump

• AHRQ's National Healthcare Disparities Report. • The impediments to change on climate change. • Can't remember if I already linked to this Tom Philpott post on farming. • Mike from Rortybomb is holding down the fort at the Baseline...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 19, 2009; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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Americans Hate Everyone, Believe Everything

Wednesday's Wall Street Journal/NBC poll (pdf) is disappointing stuff. It's not so much that the American people have turned against Obama's health-care reform effort as they've turned against the legislative process in general. The graph at the right tells the...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 19, 2009; 5:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
Categories:  Health Reform , Polls  
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The Power of Unpopularity

The White House is hinting -- and by hinting, I mean saying -- that recent comments from Republicans are beginning to persuade them to abandon all hopes of bipartisanship. This could be because they're actually abandoning hopes of bipartisanship or...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 19, 2009; 4:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Steve Pearlstein Responds on the Public Option

Steve's column arguing that Democrats should drop the public option is here. My response is here. This is his response to my response. You got all that? We agree that if there is to be a public option, it ought...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 19, 2009; 3:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Reforming Social Security

The Social Security trust fund is on the brink of exhausting itself. On the list of problems the government faces, this isn't a big one. But it's worth doing something about, at some point. Here's what Brad DeLong would...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 19, 2009; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
Categories:  Social Security  
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More on the Coming "Health-Care Racism"

A reader writes in: I just read your last post on disparities. I work for the organization that will be tasked with convening a group that develops national priorities, and I can tell you that the charge is completely bogus....

By Ezra Klein  |  August 19, 2009; 2:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Tomorrow's Bizarre Smears Today

Andy writes in: An arch-conservative friend of mine is convinced that something in the "Establishing of National Priorities for Performance Improvement" section of the Medicare piece of HR 3200 is going to establish "healthcare racism" because it contains the words...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 19, 2009; 1:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Lunch Break

XKCD presents the history of Oregon as learned from the classic edugame, the Oregon Trail: On a semi-related note, I'm in Boston through the end of this week, so blogging will be a bit lighter than normal....

By Ezra Klein  |  August 19, 2009; 12:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Behind the Price

My column in today's food section focuses on something Ellen Ruppell Shell, author of the new book "Cheap," says about the changes a product undergoes when it achieves a radically different -- in this case, lower -- price point: "Shrimp...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 19, 2009; 12:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Visiting Planet Money

NPR's Planet Money this week features blogospheric favorites Mike Konczal, Tyler Cowen and Felix Salmon continuing an argument on financial innovation that originated -- where else? -- in the blogosphere. You can download the podcast here. By the way, isn't...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 19, 2009; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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10 Reasons to Support Health-Care Reform

I referenced it an earlier post, but this paper from Families USA outlining the 10 reasons to support health-care reform is a must-read. The public plan is one of the entries. But only one of them. And not the one...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 19, 2009; 11:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Barney Frank: Hero Congressman

By Ezra Klein  |  August 19, 2009; 10:09 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Against Giving Up on the Public Option

My colleague Steve Pearlstein has a column today counseling Democrats to "give up on the public option." I wouldn't go nearly that far. The public option should be kept in perspective. As Steve says, "it is not the be-all and...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 19, 2009; 9:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Tab Dump

• The best of Frank Bruni. • The problems in primary care. • Stan Collender on reconciliation. • Vermonters are very healthy. • Mike Huckabee is a useful reminder that people can be both genial and crazy....

By Ezra Klein  |  August 18, 2009; 6:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Can Reconciliation Work for Health-Care Reform?

I've argued before that reconciliation will not work for comprehensive health-care reform. Today, Kevin Drum comes to the same conclusion. Stan Collender, a budget expert, backs him up. I go into the reasons in more detail here, but the Health...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 18, 2009; 5:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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The Futility of Compromise

Jon Kyl held a conference call today to declare that the GOP will not support a co-op compromise. That's not to say you couldn't pick off a few Republican votes. But it's pretty clear that the GOP will oppose this...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 18, 2009; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Was Hedging on the Public Option All Part of the Master Plan?

I doubt this was part of some master plan, but Noam Scheiber has a smart take on the long-term fallout of yesterday's "liberal revolt" over the public plan: Prior to all the apoplexy on the left, the two poles of...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 18, 2009; 3:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Why Is Max Baucus Sticking by Chuck Grassley?

"I walked away from Senator Grassley. I tend to work with Senator Grassley. But there comes a time when you just gotta say, 'Sorry.' These things get watered down too much, it's just not right, so I just broke...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 18, 2009; 3:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Lunch Break

I'll let the White House's press office explain what's going on here: "On August 10, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Melody Barnes joined Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 18, 2009; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Lunch Break  
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The Evolution of the Public Option

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy Monday, on Dylan Ratigan's "Morning Meeting," I had the opportunity to chat health care with Gov. Howard Dean. Dean's point was simple: "If you're not going to have...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 18, 2009; 12:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Whatever Became of Biden?

The Los Angeles Times offers a much-needed update on the doings of Joe Biden. The story is upbeat on Biden's growing role in the administration, even as everyone who is quoted sounds a bit condescending of the vice president. So...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 18, 2009; 11:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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When Health Care Does Become a Negotiation

As long as we're talking strategy, it's also worth saying a bit about how these pieces fit together in the legislative process. There are three distinct phases left to complete: First, the bills have to clear the House and...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 18, 2009; 10:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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The Liberal Revolt

Monday was the day of the liberal revolt on health-care reform. If you want a nice round-up of the commentary, see Mike Allen. What's been striking, however, is the implicit argument that this is somehow a simple failure of liberal...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 18, 2009; 10:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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How Much Is Security Worth?

Richard Serlin left a smart comment on Monday's post outlining the $4,298 the British health-care system saves every one of the country's residents: There are two important points you should have made. First, perhaps you missed stating this because you're...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 18, 2009; 9:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (57)
Categories:  Health of Nations  
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Tab Dump

• Now Republicans oppose the co-op, too? • "Kind of Blue" really is great. • Where does Marc Ambinder find the time? • A good profile of Rahm Emanuel's role. • David Leonhardt considers a "fat tax."...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 17, 2009; 7:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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How Is Conrad Counting the Votes?

This is a useful reminder from Ryan Grim: "The fact of the matter is there are not the votes in the United States Senate for the public option, there never have been, so to continue to chase that rabbit is...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 17, 2009; 7:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Co-Ops as an Alternative to the Public Plan

I've been on MSNBC twice today to explain the difference between a public option and a co-op. I think I'm getting sort of good at it. So I may as well do it here, too. There's an idea out there...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 17, 2009; 5:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (65)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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It's Not About the Insurers. At Least Not Totally.

Over the past few weeks, health-care reform has morphed into "health-insurance reform." That's what the president calls it. That's what his aides call it. That, by and large, is what the actual bills contain. And that is what the...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 17, 2009; 3:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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A Health Care Cheat Sheet

Next time someone tells you that health-care reform is complicated and impossible to explain, give them this....

By Ezra Klein  |  August 17, 2009; 2:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Chuck Grassley's Dispiriting Bipartisanship

Spent a few hours today as one of the panelist's on Dylan Ratigan's "Morning Meeting." Toward the end of the second hour, Chuck Grassley hopped on the program to talk death panels and bipartisanship. It sounded like bipartisanship dying....

By Ezra Klein  |  August 17, 2009; 1:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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One Flowchart to Rule Them All

Excellent work from Nick Beaudrot, who boils health-care reform down to a single flowchart: One of the stranger wrinkles of this debate has been that the things people are scared of are not things that the bill is doing. Death...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 17, 2009; 1:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Charts and Graphs , Health Reform  
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Lunch Break: A Tale of Two Crowds

Dana Gould reports from the tea parties and the free care clinic and finds something odd: The people at the tea parties are screaming and angry and furious about bad things that aren't happening to other people in some future...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 17, 2009; 12:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Long Slog or Snapback?

Neil Irwin has written a very good survey of the different theories about the shape that the economic recovery will assume. The basic argument appears to be between people who look at the fundamentals of our situation and see no...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 17, 2009; 12:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Financial Crisis , Solutions  
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The Founders and the States

Alon Loncar writes in with a good point: One thing many people, including many limited government conservatives, say regarding Congress' snail's pace is that the system created by the Founders was more or less designed to be inefficient. However, one...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 17, 2009; 12:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Government  
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What Would You Do for $4,298?

Ara Darzi, a former British Minister of Health, and Tom Kibasi, a scholar at Imperial College, have an op-ed this morning defending the British health-care system. It's good stuff, though little of it will be new to readers of this...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 17, 2009; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
Categories:  Health of Nations  
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Asymmetric Extremism

My standard line over the past few days is that we're seeing the paranoid style in American politics. There's always a fringe. There are always those who believe in death panels or forged birth certificates or pre-knowledge of the 9/11...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 17, 2009; 11:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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What's Actually Going on With the Public Option?

I wish I'd had the foresight and vision to keep a Word document tracking every time the administration "hedged" or squirmed or twisted on the public option. I've lost count of the number of headlines and blog posts I've...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 17, 2009; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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How You'll Know She's the "One"

I don't really have a reason for posting this aside from thinking it sweet: “She’s the messiest person I’ve ever met in life,” Mr. Davoli said of the woman who never closes the kitchen cabinets and loses her keys regularly....

By Ezra Klein  |  August 17, 2009; 8:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Max Baucus's Unpleasant Position

About a year ago, when Max Baucus was hosting his "Prepare to Launch" event and holding the first hearings on comprehensive health-care reform, it was pretty clear that he saw this as his moment of greatness. Passing health-care reform...

By Ezra Klein  |  August 17, 2009; 7:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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