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Ezra Klein: September 27, 2009 - October 3, 2009

Tab Dump

1) An ActBlue employee explains the benefits of broad fund-raising. This is why my favorite campaign-finance reforms are those that match the donations of small donors. 2) The sad tale of Ted Williams' cryogenically-frozen head. 3) The gender wage gap,...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 2, 2009; 6:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Why Bipartisanship Always Comes Too Late

Former Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist told Time's Karen Tumulty that if he were still in the Senate, he'd vote for the health-care reform bill being passed out of the Finance Committee. "As leader, I would take heat for...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 2, 2009; 5:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Government  
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Swiss Health-Care Costs

The Swiss health-care system has the highest out-of-pocket payments of any OECD country, including the United States. They also spend a lot less than the United States. This, David Leonhardt argues, is no accident. "Because they feel the costs...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 2, 2009; 4:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Health of Nations  
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Your Recession in Charts

Catherine Rampell updates this bummer of a chart: The big surprise, at least to me, was that public-sector jobs experienced a sharp fall. They'd been doing pretty well throughout the recession. The culprits here are state and local governments, which...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 2, 2009; 3:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Why Employers Like to Control Your Health Insurance

Matt Miller is confused: When the post-mortems on the health-care reform debate are written, the biggest mystery will be why big business fought so hard to stay in the health-care business even as soaring health costs surpassed corporate profits and...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 2, 2009; 3:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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'Uncharted Territory'

That's what Lori Montgomery and Shailagh Murray call the next phase of health-care reform, and they're right. At 2:08 a.m. this morning, the Finance Committee largely completed their work on health-care reform. Now they wait for an updated CBO...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 2, 2009; 2:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Chicago Loses the Olympics

And good riddance. South America deserves one of these things. Go Rio!...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 2, 2009; 2:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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George Will And Global Warming

George Will's latest column questioning the science of global warming is not a very good portrayal of the evidence in George Will's latest column questioning the science on global warming. This might be because Will mostly got the evidence...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 2, 2009; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Climate Change  
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The Status Quo Wins in Health-Care Reform

The Senate Finance Committee finished its markup last night. Pretty much, anyway. It adopted a couple of important amendments, including one from Olympia Snowe cutting the penalties for the individual mandate to less than $800 per person. But the...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 2, 2009; 12:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Everyone Hates the Republicans. But Does That Matter?

Brendan Nyhan was thinking along similar lines to me in comparing the GOP's abysmal favorability poll numbers with their 1994 antecedents. But he looks to have thought -- or at least posted -- those thoughts first, and his graph looks...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 2, 2009; 12:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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The Persistence of Obesity

Ta-Nehisi Coates posted this over at his place, though it's originally from a reader of James Fallows's blog. It is one thing for a successful, financially comfortable, socially accepted and respected person who has multiple things happening every day that...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 2, 2009; 10:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Toward the VAT?

Bruce Bartlett comments on an interesting report on tax reform in California: The main point the report makes is that the nature of the economy and the nature of income have changed over the years, but the tax system has...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 2, 2009; 9:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Taxes  
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Will 2010 Be Another 1994?

"Have you been in the South lately?" asks political prognosticator Charlie Cook. "The level of anti-Obama, anti-Democratic and anti-Congress venom is extraordinary," he says, "and with 59 Democrat-held seats in the region, 22 in or potentially in competitive districts, this...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 2, 2009; 8:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  2010 Midterms , Polls  
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Tab Dump

1) E.J. Dionne imagines a saner world, where the public option is a centrist proposal. 2) He also imagines a world where charities aren't being huge jerks. 3) Back in this world, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities thinks...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 1, 2009; 6:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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The Public Option Compromises: An Interview With Sen. Tom Carper

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) has emerged as a possible dealmaker on the public option. As one of the Finance Committee's moderates, he's trusted by centrists in the Democratic Caucus. But he also voted for Schumer's public plan. His idea...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 1, 2009; 6:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Health Reform , Interviews  
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Confusing Disclosure and Information

This is just a great paragraph from Stephen Waldman. It's about financial regulation, but it applies to much more. One of the great errors in modern policy is to confuse disclosure with information. It is not the case, currently, that...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 1, 2009; 5:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Financial Regulation  
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Is Michelle Obama a Secret Californian?

Sara Mead notices a conceptual flaw in Michelle Obama's upcoming Sesame Street appearance touting home gardens: It’s a cute segment – I love the fact that Mrs. Obama is noticeably cracking up at several points. And I especially like...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 1, 2009; 5:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Food  
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What If They Passed Single-Payer and Didn't Tell Anyone?

That might have just happened, at least at the state level. The Wyden folks quietly slipped in an amendment giving states enormous flexibility to experiment upward. Essentially, states can ask the federal government for a waiver that allows them to...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 1, 2009; 4:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Guns vs. Butter

Tom Laskawy is not happy. "Most advocates of school lunch reform, including the White House, agree that the program needs at least $1 billion dollars in additional money to make school meals healthier and more accessible," he writes. That's not...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 1, 2009; 4:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Food  
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The Many Public Option Compromises

This is all getting a bit hard to keep track of. First there was Olympia Snowe's trigger. You remember. "This amendment establishes a non-profit government corporation through which a ‘safety net’ plan would be provided in any state in which...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 1, 2009; 3:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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The Public Option Compromises: An Interview With Sen. Maria Cantwell

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) sits on the Finance Committee. She voted for Jay Rockefeller's public option, only to see it lose. She voted for Chuck Schumer's public option, only to see it lose. Now she's proposing a compromise of...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 1, 2009; 3:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Health Reform , Interviews  
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The Public Option Is Popular Among People. But What About Among Land?

You know what the public option is? Popular. Always has been, still is. Much more popular than health-care reform generally. And yet it still might not pass. Democrats might strip one of the most popular portions out of a...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 1, 2009; 2:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Lunch Break

Austen Goolsbee deploys this devastating stand-up routine to come out as the winner of this year's "Funniest DC Celebrity" contest. Goolsbee, in case you don't know, is a member of the Council of Economic Advisers....

By Ezra Klein  |  October 1, 2009; 2:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Problems in Rural Health Care

The subject line of this post may sound specific. Wonky, even. But think of it in coldly political terms. The Senate wildly over-represents rural states. A number of the key votes -- Conrad, Snowe, Baucus and Nelson, among others --...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 1, 2009; 1:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Rural America and Health Care

I've got to run up to the Hill for a few hours to moderate a panel on rural issues in health care. Reps. Tom Perriello, Steve Kagen and James Clyburn will be appearing. Should have lots to say when I...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 1, 2009; 10:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Should You Watch the Finance Committee?

Politico reports that the hardest decisions in health care have been tabled in the Finance Committee's hearings and are being left for the leadership. THE SHOW HAS MOVED ON: The Senate Finance Committee continued its work Wednesday, but it has...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 1, 2009; 10:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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I Endorse

I've not wanted to say much about the Washington Post's "America's Next Top Pundit" contest. In part, I'm worried my opinion could be construed as self-serving. Or insulting. Or something. Who needs the trouble? But Jim Henley's entry changed my...

By Ezra Klein  |  October 1, 2009; 10:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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Tab Dump

1) Job one for Obama is, well, jobs. 2) This profile was exceedingly effective in turning me against Jerry Brown. 3) E.J. Dionne is also baffled by the Polanski-love. 4) Some interesting thoughts on class and obesity....

By Ezra Klein  |  September 30, 2009; 6:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Good News Out of the Finance Committee

Democrats turned back Orrin Hatch's amendment forcing women to purchase separate insurance to receive abortion coverage. All the women, including the Republican women, voted against it. Olympia Snowe was particularly galled by the provision. It implies that the "woman is...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 30, 2009; 6:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Socialized Medicine for Me, but Not for Thee

This isn't a regular stop on the tour, but beneath the Congress lies an impressive Navy medical clinic called the Office of the Attending Physician that ostensibly exists to deal with emergencies and public health threats and terrorist attacks. In...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 30, 2009; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Polanski

Author Robert Harris was given some space on the New York Times op-ed page to write this: So when, just before lunch on Sunday, the news broke that Mr. Polanski had been arrested overnight at the Zurich airport on...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 30, 2009; 5:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Is Our Food System Too Big to Fail?

This column also appears in today's Food section. About a year ago, Lehman Brothers collapsed, throwing the financial world and the global economy into chaos. What made Lehman's downfall so damaging, and created so much terror around the near-implosions...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 30, 2009; 5:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Food  
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Presidential Approval and Unemployment

John Judis believes that President Obama's fortunes, along with those of the congressional Democrats, are lashed to pretty much one thing and one thing only: job numbers. And he's got some graphs to prove it. Here are Ronald Reagan's approval...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 30, 2009; 4:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Economic Policy  
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The Personal, Unfair Recession

That graph comes from a sobering survey released by the Economic Policy Institute. There's a tendency to talk of joblessness as a "lagging indicator," which is pretty bloodless. As pollster Geoff Garin said, however, this is a very personal...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 30, 2009; 3:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Economy , Polls  
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Public Option Compromises

Sen. Tom Carper is floating a compromise that would allow states to individually decide whether to offer a public option, a co-op or another form of insurance competitor. Call it the federalist option: In a one-page document he began circulating...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 30, 2009; 12:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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The Current Thinking on Reconciliation

Mark Schmitt, whose years on the Senate Finance Committee gave him an impressive understanding of legislative arcana, has written a detailed post on the history, limits and technicalities of the reconciliation process. His conclusion, in particular, is spot-on. One way...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 30, 2009; 12:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Apologies

Blogging's been a bit slow this morning as I've been running in and out of meetings and interviews and whatnot. This afternoon, however, is going to be a dazzling display of bloggish competence. Trust me....

By Ezra Klein  |  September 30, 2009; 11:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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The End of Politics

The New Republic and the American Prospect both had good editorials this month on the underlying realities of our politics that have been exposed by health care. First, from the New Republic: The Republican reception of Baucus's bill doesn't so...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 30, 2009; 11:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
Categories:  Government  
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Tab Dump

1) Clay Shirky on saving journamalism. 2) The revolution mark-up will be televised tweeted. 3) Am I the only one saddened by the death of the Wisconsin Tourism Federation? 4) You too can be a Washington Post pundit! 5) The...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 29, 2009; 6:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Tab Dump  
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Fast Books!

The Daily Beast has partnered with Perseus Books Group to found a quick turnaround imprint aimed at getting books from writers to readers in a matter of months, as opposed to the traditional year or two. Here's how it...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 29, 2009; 5:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Books  
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Should Politicians Accept Out-of-State Money?

A few months ago, I asked why Max Baucus accepted so much money from health-care industry players. He's a dominant force in Montana, doesn't have to run for reelection until 2014, and would gain a lot of legitimacy in the...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 29, 2009; 5:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Schumer: 'We Don't Have 60 Votes.'

Sen. Chuck Schumer's public option amendment failed, 13 to 10. Kent Conrad, Max Baucus and Blanche Lincoln opposed it. Moments before the roll call, Baucus explained that he was going to vote no, but not because he opposed the...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 29, 2009; 4:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Will Medicare -- And the Public Option -- Bankrupt Us?

Sen. Chuck Schumer has done a good job tying the public option to Medicare. As the argument goes, Medicare works. People like it. It holds down costs better than the private sector. It's familiar to Americans. The public option...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 29, 2009; 4:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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A Tale of Two Public Options

The Senate Finance Committee is fighting the public option wars today. Senator Jay Rockefeller's public option was voted down, 8 to 15. Max Baucus, Blanche Lincoln, Kent Conrad, Tom Carper and Bill Nelson all voted with the Republicans. But...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 29, 2009; 3:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Health-Care Reform Survived August

The Kaiser Family Foundation's new poll suggests that August was health-care reform's nadir, not, as opponents hoped, the beginning of an irreversible downward trend. Attitudes rebounded significantly in September. What's interesting about that poll is that the big drop in...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 29, 2009; 3:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Lunch Break

Katie Couric asks Glen beck what he meant when he said "Obama hates white culture." Hilarity, and obfuscation, ensues....

By Ezra Klein  |  September 29, 2009; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Senator Grassley, the Public Option, and Me

I should probably be proud. Sen. Chuck Grassley quoted me at today's Senate Finance mark-up hearings. He was quoting me a bit out of context, and he was actually just cribbing from the Heritage Foundation's round-up of out-of-context quotes...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 29, 2009; 12:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Anti-Rationing

Ceci Connolly has a nice piece explaining that the imaginary problem of centrally rationing health care -- which is to say, underusing health-care services -- has totally obscured the actual and current problem of overusing health-care services. The sort of...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 29, 2009; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Assume You Don't Have a Can Opener

Last week, I lamented the apparent death of the "plain vanilla" provision in the financial regulation package but noted that the policy "was never likely to do that much. The fact that a bank had to offer a basic card...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 29, 2009; 11:09 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Financial Regulation  
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The Case For Filibustering

Political scientist Gregory Koger has a forthcoming book on the filibuster which his publicist was kind enough to send me and which I can already recommend very highly. But over at the Monkey Cage, he offers up the cliff...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 29, 2009; 11:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Senate  
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(Medieval Europe) Graph of the Day

That's a real graph from a serious book: Jennifer Davis’s and Michael McCormick’s "The Long Morning of Medieval Europe." If you want it explained, head this-a-way. (Via Brad DeLong.)...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 29, 2009; 10:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  History  
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While The Federal Reserve Slept

Binya Appelbaum had a great piece on Sunday explaining the Federal Reserve's disastrous reluctance to regulating subprime mortgages. The key moment here came in 2000, when Ed Gramlich, one of the Reserve's 12 governors, directly asked Alan Greenspan to...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 29, 2009; 10:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Financial Regulation , Solutions  
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Is Medicare Advantage Worth It?

The argument over Medicare Advantage is pretty simple: The program, which allows private providers to compete for Medicare patients, was supposed to cost as much or less than traditional Medicare. It actually costs 114 percent of what Medicare costs. Democrats...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 29, 2009; 8:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Health Reform , Medicare  
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Morning Meeting

I'll be hanging out on MSNBC with Dylan Ratigan and the gang from 9 to 10:30 a.m. You know you want to watch it....

By Ezra Klein  |  September 29, 2009; 12:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Gut Yom Tov

I'm atoning for my many sins today, so no blog posts. Interestingly, the Senate Finance Committee is also taking a break for Yom Kippur, despite the fact that only two of their members (Wyden and Schumer) are Jewish. I think...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 28, 2009; 7:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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An Interview With Barney Frank

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has had a big year. The acid-tongued chair of the House Financial Services Committee has been Congress's point person throughout the financial crisis and is now crafting the regulatory reform package that could reshape Wall...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 27, 2009; 3:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Financial Regulation , Interviews  
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