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1) Why government has such trouble cutting spending.

2) Ron Brownstein thinks Baucus got a lot right.

3) Jonathan Yardley reviews Kennedy's memoir, "True Compass." I've been reading a copy, and have been shocked at how good it is.

4) I'm also looking forward to Taylor Branch's new book on Bill Clinton.

L'shana tova!

By Ezra Klein  |  September 19, 2009; 8:31 AM ET
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Next: The Patient Is in Stable Condition and Improving Rapidly


"The votes aren't there and never will be."

If the votes will never be there we better start saving for the cat food we are going to eat when our Social Security and Medicare benefits consume 150% of the federal budget. Bartlett is the Dick Morris of the left.

Posted by: kingstu01 | September 18, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

A president could cut anything he wanted all on his own whim if he ignored the BS prohibition on impoundment, one of those post-Watergate attempts by Congress to rewrite the balance of power by statute.

The judiciary would have to referee an apocalypse battle between the executive and the legislative, but it's worth a shot.

Posted by: Senescent | September 20, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

l'shana tova...

shalom simcha chesed rachamim

peace joy lovingkindness compassion

Posted by: jkaren | September 20, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Just read your recent column about health care reform. Sry to have to say that, but it's quite a piece of crap, imho. See, of course you're right that Americans aren't really aware how big the problem with health care costs really is. The numbers are shocking, for instance, the same treatment that costs about 40000 dollars in the US can be had for less than 10000 bucks in other western nations. But you don't mention that there is much more pork in the system than the lame Rand and Harvard pundits acknoledge. And it becomes absolutely ridiculous when you make it sound as if the primary problem with the republican approach, higher out-of-pocket payments is that it's unpopular! Of course, it's unpopular, but for very good reasons: The "customers" simply don't have the insight to expertly question their bills, and if the procedures were necessary and reasonably priced. And even if they were so qualified, they lack the market power to change anything about the costs. And the high copayments actually are the opposite of "insurance", and result in people being driven into bankruptcy because of serious health problems.

That's not a desirable outcome for the scoiety, and the republican approach wouldn't even drive costs down. And there's nothing in Baucus' plan that would change the mraket force, either. Quite to the contrary, it even adds new distortions to the system, like the misguided penalties against companies that employ workers from lower income families. A horrible idea! Instead, you need stronger market players, like Medicare, the VA, or a public option plan, to provide a counterbalance to the industry and get the costs under control.

That's the real problem, but you totally omitt mentioning it. Quite to the contrary, you provide arguments for the lunatic republican approach towards reform. Their ideas aren't only unpopular, like you say, they are unreasonable! Was that intentional stomping for the GOP, or did it maybe escape your attention how misleading that part of your story is? Bad job, Ezra, really!

Posted by: Gray62 | September 21, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

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