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Tab dump

1) Ron Brownstein: "We are operating in what amounts to a parliamentary system without majority rule, a formula for futility."

2) Can foreign corporations now dump money into American elections?

3) When Joe Lieberman isn't threatening to filibuster, he's partnering with Tom Harkin to end the filibuster. Curious.

4) Are Larry Summers and Tim Geithner losing influence inside the administration?

Recipe of the day: Curries made easy.

The Democrats were going to wish you a good weekend, and they knew it would be good to wish you a good weekend, but then Scott Brown won a special election and they decided not to bother.

By Ezra Klein  |  January 22, 2010; 6:31 PM ET
Categories:  Tab Dump  
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Next: Return of the Plouffe


"The Democrats were going to wish you a good weekend, and they knew it would be good to wish you a good weekend, but then Scott Brown won a special election and they decided not to bother."

Jeeze! You keep beating on 'em like this they aren't going to be your friends anymore, Ezra.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 22, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Joe Lieberman is Gollum. He desperately wants to abolish the filibuster and let government accomplish something. But he's powerless before his Precious. He will only be truly happy when he falls with his Precious into the Sammath Naur.

Posted by: tomveiltomveil | January 22, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

prayers for president obama.
he is human, and he is trying very hard.
being a president, is a work in progress.
but i have great confidence in him.
may the fates be on his side,
and may this work out.

he has come through nearly impossible odds before.
there were times during the campaign,
things seemed hopeless.
but he prevailed.
i have great confidence in his leadership.
i dont know how much harder a president could work in a year's time, and how much more difficulty he could have faced.
may he prevail again with health care reform.
he is a brilliant, hardworking and deeply honorable man.
may he prevail again!

i hope in a year, we look back and say,
barack obama promised health care reform,
and in spite of every obstacle,
he delivered on it.
i have faith in him:-)

and ezra, have a peaceful weekend,
after much hard work, through these trying times, this week.
keep the faith.

Posted by: jkaren | January 22, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Hi Ezra,

I'm curious - since t both the senate and house bills have been passed, how long can they sit before going bad? Are they good until the next congress is sworn in? Past that?

Posted by: matthear | January 22, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

From Greg Sargent's blog:

Van Hollen: Senate Bill’s Brand May Be Irrevocably Tarnished, So We May Go Reconciliation Instead


Who am I to assign you homework over the weekend, but if I could it might be this:

Really research with the best sources possible what is possible to do under the reconciliation requirements, and what isn't, also what's politically feasible to get the votes necessary even if it can qualify for reconciliation.

Some specifics:

1) Can we lower the Medicare age to say 55 or 50 (not buy in, you get it, like with 65 year olds today) and/or make all children and adult students entitled to Medicare?

2) Can we ban charging extra for pre-existing conditions?

3) Can we have an individual mandate?

Posted by: RichardHSerlin | January 22, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

For the love of god jkaren, please stop torturing us with the kumbaya pablum. This isn't your diary, and blog comments are not the forum for 8th grade poetry

Posted by: ab13 | January 22, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

And I'd like to put this forward:

Suppose the Democrats put forth a bill that made Medicare free for all children, students, and people over 50, paid for by steeply progressive increased payroll taxes for those with incomes over $300,000, and you throw in as many cost saving measures as possible (Medicare Commission, etc.)

Even if this failed to pass (and it might qualify for reconciliation, and so only need 50 votes), could it really help the Democrats and educate the public that Obama and the party really pushed for it, and put all of the Republicans on record as voting against it?

Posted by: RichardHSerlin | January 22, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, If you really are to the point in the day where you believe Scott Brown was elected to vote for that health care bill when he ran on the message that he would be the 41st vote to stop healthcare you must be bogarding that thing your smoking. Pass it around. It is obviously very good stuff.

Posted by: RobF1 | January 22, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

On full disclosure I have been banned from Te-Nehisi Coates blogs. I am following your discussion of, and let's be clear, health insurance reform bill(s), not health care reform w/ Te-Nehisi and I want to respond to your discussion.

I want this bill chucked because it will not do what you are arguing it will, i.e. provide health insurance. The biggest reason people do not have health insurance is that they can't afford it. This bill claims that by using a tax credit you will recover the cost of your insurance a year after you pay for it. My question is if people don't have the money to buy insurance now, what makes you think they can pay for it and wait a year to receive a large portion of their money back?

As people are mostly irrational, I'd estimate that of the pool of 30million the President says will be covered, I believe only 2% will take the chance. If you believe everyone will take a chance of buying one's months premium because they are super sick and hope you don't get dropped when they don't pay I have seen nothing in the bill that protects you from not paying your premiums and keeping your insurance.

So on the merits of the bill alone can you explain how it will help people whom don't currently have health insurance because they can't afford it?

Posted by: teddy1 | January 22, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Why aren't progressives (and all Americans, for that matter) marching on Washington DC to demand the impeachment and removal of all USSC justices who voted to decimate our campaign finance laws and thus our Democracy?

Call your elected officials NOW and demand impeachment. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! And if Obama tries to stop this, then he should be impeached too.

Posted by: Lomillialor | January 22, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

"Can foreign corporations now dump money into American elections?"

This is a very powerful and emotional issue with voters of both parties and independents.

They all react very strongly against the idea of foreigners influencing our government.

This may really be the issue to use to create enough pressure to remedy this extremely dangerous ruling by the Republican Supreme Court Justices.

If Democrats really hit on this hard again and again, Republicans may not be able to resist the public pressure to not vote against measures to restrict corporations like those noted here, measures it would be hard to see even extremist Republican Justices stopping:

Who knows, if Democrats hit this hard enough -- it's a potentially very powerful issue with the public -- perhaps we could even get an amendment to the constitution.

Posted by: RichardHSerlin | January 22, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse


I may be wrong but aren't 15 million people being added to Medicaid through most of the versions of reforms? Those are not paid through tax credits, no?


sorry but i've gotta side with ab13. really? he survived the campaign? What did he have bad Chinese take out or something? How much more difficulty he could have faced? Really? How bout Lincoln who dealt with a civil war and was assasinated, FDR who dealt with the Great Depression, any president that was ever shot of assasinated. I'm sorry but you really need to get over it. You sound like this person Peggy Joseph on the Daily show rerun i just watched who at an Obama rally said "This was the most memorable day of my life." When asked why she said, "I won't have to worry about putting gas in my car, I won't have to worry about paying my mortgage." Seriously? Who said you didn't have to pay your mortgage, is that what this is about, free stuff?

Stop with the all hail, praise Obama stuff. Its more than a little creepy.

Posted by: visionbrkr | January 23, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Ezra says the House must pass the Senate bill immediately!!!

Oh wait, the National Organization for Women says kill the bill because "on balance, this bill harms women."

Kill the Bill!!!

Posted by: bmull | January 23, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Ezra Klein, in his own words, on the long term goals of health care reform (from his appearance on Charlie Rose last month):

Charlie Rose: "So this bill, it’s a good first step, it will make the next one
easier. But the next one is going to be the harder one and I don’t think
anybody looking at this process should be very confident that we will be
able to take it.

CHARLIE ROSE: What’s the next one?

EZRA KLEIN: In a very hard way, cost control. Not just starting the
procedures and the pilot programs, but telling doctors and hospitals and
device manufacturers and Pharma "You are going to make less money next year
than you made this year," or "You are going to make a lot less money in ten
years than you expect to be making now." That’s going to be very hard.

Remember that, folks. HCR's proponents want doctors, nurses and scientists taking less money home.

Posted by: Klug | January 23, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

ab13 / visionbrkr

it is entirely up to you if you choose to waste one moment of your precious time reading comments that you find irritating or objectionable.
unfortunately for you,
what other people write, think or feel is not up to you, despite your wishes to the contrary.
cherish the fact that there is a place where we are all relatively free to express ourselves, in the ways that we wish.

Posted by: jkaren | January 23, 2010 2:24 AM | Report abuse

It seems like the obvious thing to do now is, (1) Incorporate in the United States.
(2) Start accepting donations from foreign citizens.
(3) Start running adds supporting politicians.

The best way to protest this decision is to make a mockery of it. There are plenty of liberals in other countries that care about US politics, now they get to have some input.

Posted by: zosima | January 24, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

I have come to the place where I
enjoy the writing of jkaren
I love it that he/she formats his
thoughts in free verse.
Indicating that it
is not prose, simply.
Jkaren seems like the benevolent
embracing, non belligerent spirit
many of us thought was Obama's
and would be this administration's.
Not so.
But it endures yet in jkaren.

Posted by: truck1 | January 24, 2010 6:07 AM | Report abuse

I have commented a number of times upon Klein's easy way with other people's money and careers. A previous poster brought up a great example of this. "...telling doctors and drug manufacturers...." they have to make less money. That a blogger and food enthusiast should dictate the finances of people who work as hard and contribute as much to our well being as doctors and drug manufacturers...well, we've come to quite a pass here.

Posted by: truck1 | January 24, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse


thank you very much.

Posted by: jkaren | January 24, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Impeaching the USSC: Is not likely to happen. What's more, any successful attempt to hold hearings or revoke this Supreme Court decisions will be used against decisions you agree with, from the past and in the future. Live by the sword, die by it, as well.

I'm not defending or attacking that particular decision--I've always thought CFR was bad law, and this doesn't strike me as the disaster that it clearly strikes others as being. But the idea that the all the Supreme Court justices need to be impeached (or just the ones that voted for the decision, maybe?) seems both extreme and, if it ever were successful, fraught with unintended consequences.

Barney Frank, who suggested they would remedy this situation via corporate law--i.e., new, specific laws on corporate spending, as opposed to FEC-supervised campaign finance law--seems a lot smarter, and more likely to succeed, to me.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 24, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

The larger problem with anybody telling anybody they have to make less money (wether by government fiat, or government regulation) tends to be that almost everybody ends up making less money, somehow.

The blogger and food enthusiast, Ezra Klien, is just expressing his opinion, as do we all. Still, a deep student of history should notice, at some point, that command economies--even the quasi-socialist types--tend to have poorer economies with lower tax revenues and a lower standard of living, even if there is less "wealth inequality". And the more the government steps in and determines what things should cost and how much people should make, the closer we are to a command economy.

Nixon had wage and price controls. Ask him how that worked out. Ask Carter how inheriting an economy still suffering from the after-effects of Nixon's wage and price controls worked out for his single malaise-filled term.

It always sounds good in theory.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 24, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

"Almost everybody ends up making less money, somehow..." Well, almost is the key word here. There is always a priveleged class. In the old soviet Union they were known as the nomenklatura. There was and is a similarly privileged group of bureaucrats in China. These people have their own private stores, have better cars, housing and medical care than anyone else. It has to be anticipated that there would be such a class here -- high government officials and other favorites. You can see the formation of this in the fact that those who wish to impose this new healthcare on everyone plan to exempt themselves. I believe they have rejected an amendment that would have required congress to accept the same coverage as will be imposed upon the rest of the citizens. There is huge, though largely covered up, wealth inequality in socialist and communist countries. Mao literally had his own railroad trains, many mansions, etc...As did his family and courtiers.

Posted by: truck1 | January 24, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

"Mao literally had his own railroad trains, many mansions" . . .

Well, jeeze, wouldn't you, if you were Mao?

Of course, those who advocate income equality don't mean for it to apply to themselves. I don't know about you, but I can't fly myself on Airforce One to Paris or Hawaii for a quick little getaway. When it comes to income equality, how many people who agitate for it voluntarily live their own lives that way? But they want the government to do it to everybody else.

Indeed, aside from Ed Begley, how many uber-environmentalists live by the prescriptions they have for the great unwashed? Al Gore? Nope. George Dubya's ranch in Texas is more eco-friendly than Al Gore's Nashville mansion.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 24, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

This headline alone screams aloud, 'I don't get it.'

Posted by: prossers7 | January 25, 2010 5:50 AM | Report abuse

I think describing what Ezra's talking about in terms of the Soviet Union is not, shall we say, a charitable reading of his intent. Right now our healthcare system is going to bankrupt the country in what, 30 years? This is because we order too many test, aren't a very healthy people, and yes, our doctors make more money than most other industrialized nations' doctors.

This isn't to say there must be a Soviet-style cap on wages, but maybe Medicare uses its large pool of customers to force doctors to charge less or changes the way doctors are paid so they don't get more money for giving people tests they don't need.

The bottom line is that too much of our money is going to healthcare and it *must* be reduced. That's going to include lower wages for some healthcare providers. Anyone that uses this against proponents of reform either doesn't understand the issue or isn't arguing in good faith.

Posted by: MosBen | January 25, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

"That's going to include lower wages for some healthcare providers."

Yes, but that's not one of your lead talking points, is it? If you asked a typical progressive to talk for 10 minutes on health care, when do you think this would come up? Do you think it would at all? "In order for the country to remain solvent, let's cut doctor and nurse salaries!"

If you want to go there, why don't you all say so more often?

Posted by: Klug | January 25, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Well, if you're talking politics, the answer is pretty clear: we have a dysfunctional political system where people care more about talking points and short-term political gains than they care about making good policy. Republicans don't really think "don't get sick" or "if you get sick, die quickly" for their healthcare plan. Democrats don't really "want to pay doctors less" or "want a government bureauocrat between you and your doctor". These are things each side says which aren't true but which sound good on TV shows. They're good talking points but have no connection to sound policy.

Your original post shows what I'm talking about. Reform proponents dont "want" to pay doctors less. I'm a reform proponent and I want everyone to be rich and have a pony. Why would anyone want to pay doctors less? Why do you think progressives avoid the issue of doctor payments when even a whiff of such talk exposes them to these accusations, especially when the accusor should know better.

Though perhaps the better question is: Failure to pass meaningful healthcare reform will ensure our nation's insolvency? Why do opponents of healthcare reform want to bankrupt the country?

Or: Failure to pass meaningful healthcare reform will mean the US can't afford to pay for a standing military. Why do opponents want us to be less safe?

Posted by: MosBen | January 25, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse


my time isn't that precious (as i waste far too much of it on here). My words were meant more to state that the way you heap praise (IMO) on President Obama makes you sound like a shill for him and the administration. Not everything he does is right (I think even he'd admit that). If you never are critical of him then you risk being painted as nothing more than an apologist for him. You're right you have every right to say what you say as do I. I just wish that you'd be more open minded to the fact that he can do wrong as well as to the fact that not everything Republicans do is wrong. 45-50 million people every 4 years can't be duped by them like many (not necessarily you) believe.

Posted by: visionbrkr | January 25, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Since we're arguing in bad faith here, I'd like to object to the last line of your 8:08 AM post. You appear to be arguing that those who use the argument are either uninformed or being disingenuous. Gotcha.

Bad faith aside, I think I get what you're saying: you wish that it wasn't the case that MDs/RNs would make less in the future, but for the good of the country, that's going to have to happen.

In the end, I disagree but I think I understand. But it annoys me when progressives try to hide a long-term goal.

Cards on the table: do I think there's money to be had from the providers? Sure, why not? Do I think there's enough to "bend the curve"? No, I don't and not without real tradeoffs.

Posted by: Klug | January 25, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Klug, after I posted the first post this morning I realized that last line didn't really get at what I meant. What I meant to say was that people who bludgeon health care reformers with accusations of "wanting to lower your doctor's wages" is either arguing in bad faith or is ignorant of the issues. Costs are out of control and must be contained. Some of the costs that we pay which exceed the costs of other industrialized nations are payments to medical providers. Some of it may be that they're just paid to much in general, I don't really know, but a lot of it is tied to the fact that we have a system that rewards doctors monetarily for ordering tests and procedures that patients don't need or are uncalled for, etc. We also have a system where most insurance companies are in a very weak position to negotiate pay rates with doctors.

If we eliminate the tests that shouldn't be ordered, it's going to result in doctors getting paid less. If insurance companies, including Medicare, could negotiate more strongly, it'd probably mean doctors would get paid less. It's not that we want doctors to get paid less, it's that there's X number of dollars in the healthcare pie right now and if we're going to reduce X then somebody is going to be making less money, including doctors.

Posted by: MosBen | January 25, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

MosBen: Not quite sure there's any point in continuing, but thanks for a civil discussion.

Posted by: Klug | January 25, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Klug, and to you, sir. Always nice when things on the internet don't devolve into screaming matches. Hope to see you 'round these parts again for Round 2.

Posted by: MosBen | January 25, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

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