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Ezra Klein: March 28, 2010 - April 3, 2010

Reconciliation

By Dylan Matthews Today, Suzy looked at scam artists exploiting fears about health-care reform, and at the role states will play in health-care reform. Mike responded to Paul Krugman's column on financial reform and looked at the views of Kansas...

By Washington Post Editors  |  April 2, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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The real Obamacare swindle

By Suzy Khimm NPR has a good story about how swindlers are already trying to take advantage of the confusion over the Affordable Care Act to run health-care scams: Days after President Obama signed the $938 billion bill into law,...

By Washington Post editor  |  April 2, 2010; 3:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
Categories:  Explaining health-care reform  
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A history of extremes

By Dylan Matthews Ta-Nehisi Coates nicely cuts down Chuck Lane's suggestion that there was an "attitudinal equivalence" between abolitionists and slavery-defenders before the Civil War: Lane is referencing, in rather disrespectful fashion, the awesome Shadrach Minkins. A Norfolk-area slave, Minkins'...

By Multiplatform Editor  |  April 2, 2010; 1:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Thoughts and a response to Krugman's editorial on financial reform

By Michael Konczal The new Paul Krugman editorial on financial reform is very important, and I want to discuss parts of it here. You should read all of it, but I want to focus on two parts: Even among those...

By Multiplatform Editor  |  April 2, 2010; 12:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Why the fate of health reform lies in states' hands

By Suzy Khimm Though reform opponents have derided the Affordable Care Act for being a "federal takeover" of the health-care system, the new health law actually leaves a lot up to the states. Take the creation of the new state-based...

By Washington Post Editors  |  April 2, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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What expert consensus is good for

By Dylan Matthews George Mason law professor Ilya Somin protests that there isn't an expert consensus on whether the individual mandate is constitutional: Let me reiterate what is already known to most experts, but may not be clear to some...

By Washington Post editor  |  April 2, 2010; 10:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Kansas City Fed president on financial reform

By Mike Konczal I would highly recommend checking out this interview between Shahien Nasiripour and Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Thomas M. Hoenig, where Hoenig called for a fundamental change in Wall Street. In the interview, Hoenig: Lambasted...

By Washington Post editor  |  April 2, 2010; 9:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Financial Regulation  
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Sit down, honey, let's kill some time

By Dylan Matthews I'm really curious as to why David Brooks thinks his deficit reduction process will work: Now some people think their elected officials are so rotten that only an unelected commission can save us. Snobs. The history of...

By Washington Post editor  |  April 2, 2010; 9:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Congress  
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Facts on the ground

By Dylan Matthews Dan Barry at the New York Times has a great feature on the community health center in Portland, Maine, on the occasion of President Obama's visit: A year ago, there was no Portland Community Health Center, though...

By Washington Post editor  |  April 2, 2010; 8:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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The other doc payment problem

By Suzy Khimm Lawmakers and medical providers have made much ado about the “doc fix” that’s needed to remedy the long-standing flaw in the Medicare payment system. As Ezra and others have pointed out, this has been a problem that’s...

By Multiplatform Editor  |  April 1, 2010; 2:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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The big business pushback against health reform

By Suzy Khimm Hi, everyone. I’m Suzy Khimm, and I write about national politics for the Washington bureau of Mother Jones. I was previously at The New Republic, where I helped cover the health-reform debate, and I'm also on Twitter....

By Washington Post Editors  |  April 1, 2010; 1:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Health , Health Coverage , Health Economics , Health Reform  
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College as a work-life issue

By Dylan Matthews Economix's Catherine Rampell posts a fascinating chart from a new Council of Economic Advisers report on work-life issues, showing just how fast the number of two-income households has grown: Unfortunately, the report (PDF) doesn't break this down...

By Washington Post editor  |  April 1, 2010; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Why political science matters, 'independents' edition

By Dylan Matthews David Broder thinks "independent voters" are sick of partisanship: Today, most opinion polls agree that fewer than 20 percent of voters approve of the job Congress is doing. Despite passage of a health-reform bill that will surely...

By Washington Post editor  |  April 1, 2010; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The Rosner Amendment, or the last line of defense in a financial reform bill

By Mike Konczal So part of the financial reform package is allowing regulators to wind down large financial firms in a way similar to the way they wind down commercial banks. One question is, "When do you wind these firms...

By Washington Post editor  |  April 1, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Financial Crisis , Financial Regulation  
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Are policy concessions worth it?

By Dylan Matthews Grist's David Roberts argues that a maximalist Democratic agenda, with few concessions to Republicans or centrist Democrats, would be popular: Republicans have quite cannily figured out how to manipulate voters' heuristics. No matter what Democrats do or...

By Washington Post editor  |  April 1, 2010; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Barack Obama , Congress , Democrats  
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Consumer financial protection, Texas-style

By Mike Konczal Why care about consumer financial protection? My interest in thinking about consumer financial protection laws started some time ago with this graph: Those are the housing price levels for Phoenix and Dallas, two somewhat similar cities, and...

By Washington Post editor  |  April 1, 2010; 10:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Economic Policy , Economy , Financial Regulation  
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Letting the government govern

By Dylan Matthews It turns out that when you let government officials take their positions, things actually get done faster! See what happened to the National Labor Review Board since President Obama recess-appointed two members to empty seats: One thing...

By Washington Post editor  |  April 1, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Geithner's attack on leverage requirements

By Mike Konczal Hello, all. My name is Mike Konczal, and I'm a blogger on financial reform these days at Rortybomb and the Roosevelt Institute's New Deal 2.0 blog. I'll do my best to keep the financial reform material accessible...

By Washington Post editor  |  April 1, 2010; 9:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Economic Policy , Financial Regulation  
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Would a constitutional convention get it right?

By Dylan Matthews Virginia Del. James LeMunyon has an interesting but wrong-headed op-ed in the Wall Street Journal calling for a national constitutional convention. The remedy is in Article V of the Constitution, which permits a convention to be called...

By Washington Post editor  |  April 1, 2010; 8:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Congress  
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Blog break

Now that health-care reform is signed into law, I'm going to take a few days off from the blog. The days spanning Thursday and Tuesday, to be exact. Filling in for me will be Dylan Matthews, who helps out around...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 31, 2010; 6:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Times have changed

Mark Schmitt thinks that the age of hero legislators was dependent on an uninformed populace and a lot of unquestioned privilege: There's been a lot of nostalgia recently about legislative giants of an earlier era -- retiring Sen. Evan...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 31, 2010; 5:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Congress  
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'Tightrope'

Janelle Monae may have my favorite aesthetic in music right now. This video is the jam. And the song is, well, also the jam. Janelle Monae - New Music - More Music Videos Alyssa Rosenberg comments: What Lady Gaga has...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 31, 2010; 4:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Snail mail works

I loved this article tracking a single letter to the White House from the moment its author sat down to write it to the day she went to her mailbox and found a response....

By Ezra Klein  |  March 31, 2010; 3:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Drill, baby, drill

"I think the term 'cap and trade' is not in the lexicon anymore," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on CNBC this morning. Oh, and he said it while announcing that the Obama administration was opening new areas up to offshore...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 31, 2010; 1:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
Categories:  Climate Change  
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What does success mean on FinReg?

We're seeing a lot more stories about how this or that political figure is increasingly optimistic about a financial regulation package making it out of the Senate this year. The latest in the genre sees Paul Volcker saying happy things,...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 31, 2010; 1:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Financial Regulation  
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Lunch break

That branch never should have messed with that panda. See more funny videos and funny pictures at CollegeHumor....

By Ezra Klein  |  March 31, 2010; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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If the deficit commission is looking for a way to cut spending ...

The Onion has a good suggestion: In an effort to reduce wasteful spending and eliminate non-vital federal services, the U.S. government announced plans this week to cut its long-standing senator program, a move it says will help save more...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 31, 2010; 12:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Why are economists more prominent than historians?

Justin Fox recently sat down with a bunch of historians to talk about why economists had lapped them in the public debate. Fox's explanation was interesting, and so too was the historians': One answer I offered was that economists had...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 31, 2010; 11:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
Categories:  Economics  
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The problem of food fraud

That Chesapeake blue crab you were served the other night may not, in fact, have been Chesapeake blue crab: The expensive "sheep's milk" cheese in a Manhattan market was really made from cow's milk. And a jar of "Sturgeon...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 31, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  Food  
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Shelby Steele cannot imagine that other people think health-care reform is important

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed attempting to explain why Obama stuck to "health-care reform when jobs are a far more pressing problem," Shelby Steele uses the word "grandiosity" four times. He uses some variant of "narcissistic" four times....

By Ezra Klein  |  March 31, 2010; 10:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Why it's hard to eat local

It's the (lack of) infrastructure, stupid. (More here.)...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 31, 2010; 10:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Food  
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Why does Washington ignore political science?

Ryan Sager considers why practitioners of politics seems so allergic to the structural explanations favored by political scientists: My theory of why no one in politics likes to think about political science: because it renders them powerless. How do you...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 31, 2010; 9:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Political Science  
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ObamaCare vs. Mitt Romney

The passage of Obamacare is going to make life harder for Mitt Romney in 2012. Which makes the White House pretty happy. Romney isn't the world's most skilled politician, but he's one of the more credible challengers Republicans can...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 31, 2010; 8:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Businesses doing more with less

If you're looking for job growth to roar back soon, this should worry you: "Businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 31, 2010; 7:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Economy  
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Reconciliation

Today I looked at whether America can regulate the banks on its own, tried to figure out whether there'd been a big surge in anti-immigration sentiment during the recession, and got a bit more enthusiastic about Obama's education plan. Here's...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 30, 2010; 6:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Mental health and health-care reform

Mental-health advocates are "almost giddy" about the Affordable Care Act. That, plus last year's passage of "the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act" could really end up revolutionizing mental-health care in this country....

By Ezra Klein  |  March 30, 2010; 5:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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The cost of reconciliation

One thing I'd wanted to add to my Newsweek piece but didn't have the space to include is that congressional paralysis -- in this case, the filibuster -- doesn't just lead to inaction and outsourcing, but inefficient action. Filibusters...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 30, 2010; 3:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Congress  
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Yes, America can regulate its banks

I've called capital requirements the "killer app" for financial regulation, but there's some question as to whether we can run the program. Some think that the international character of the financial market means that an international body -- probably the...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 30, 2010; 3:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Financial Regulation  
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'Race to the Top' actually forcing states to run

Moments ago, President Barack Obama signed the reconciliation bill reforming the student loan system and expanding Pell grants into law. But the most interesting education news is elsewhere: The administration has announced the winners in the first round of...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 30, 2010; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
Categories:  Education  
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Lunch break

Why we need a new traffic sign....

By Ezra Klein  |  March 30, 2010; 12:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Taxpayers to make $8 billion off of Citibank?

Joe Weisenthal and Kamelia Angelova note that Tim Geithner's Citibank rescue has turned out to be a pretty good deal for the taxpayers. The government is selling off the stock this week, and netting a tidy profit of $8...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 30, 2010; 11:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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How will health-care reform affect me?

A lot of the questions I've been getting on the new law are very specific queries about how the legislation will affect particular people in particular situations. I wish I could respond to all of them. I can't. But this...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 30, 2010; 11:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Explaining health-care reform  
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Tom Toles is worth a thousand words

By Ezra Klein  |  March 30, 2010; 11:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Could a majoritarian Congress be more bipartisan?

John Sides has a characteristically smart critique of my Newsweek article, taking issue with my contention that "getting rid of the rules meant to ensure bipartisanship may actually discourage partisanship." As Sides argues, we already have a majoritarian body...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 30, 2010; 11:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Congress  
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Insurance companies agree to cover sick kids

The story so far: There was some ambiguity over whether the Affordable Care Act's immediate ban on preexisting conditions discrimination for kids also required insurers to offer coverage to sick kids. Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services,...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 30, 2010; 9:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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'Constitutional yearning'

"What Cuccinelli is doing transcends legal activism—with which I have no quarrel—and places him squarely in the world of constitutional yearning. That's a particularly cynical enterprise for someone who preaches fidelity to the law and Constitution as they are written."...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 30, 2010; 9:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Nativism doesn't appear to be on much of a rise

There's been plenty of overheated rhetoric and creative paranoia on display this year, but nativism has been, to me, the dog that didn't bark. The Tea Parties haven't been very focused on immigration, and while abortion and socialism both...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 30, 2010; 8:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
Categories:  Immigration , Polls  
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The new new housing plan

The AP has a nice explainer on Obama's proposed $75 billion effort to prevent foreclosures. The idea is to keep 3 to 4 million people from losing their homes by the end of 2012. So far, the administration's efforts have...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 30, 2010; 7:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Reconciliation

Since I want you folks to read my Newsweek feature on the need for congressional reform and the consequences of continued decline, I'm going to link to that rather than any blog posts. Recipe of the day: Barley risotto with...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 29, 2010; 6:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Sebelius to insurers: Make my day

The health-care story of the day is that insurers think they've found a way to get around getting around Congress's intent to ban preexisting condition discrimination for children. Details here. This afternoon, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 29, 2010; 6:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Is the market worried about inflation?

There's been some concern about the small rise in rates seen at the recent auctions for Treasury bonds. The worry is that this could mean that the market thinks inflation is around the corner. Paul Krugman, however, doesn't think there's...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 29, 2010; 4:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Economy  
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Why take the chance?

Mike Konczal weighs in with an example of why we should be cautious about entrusting the capital requirements in financial regulation to regulators: People talk a lot about the “unregulated” shadow banking market, but it is important to remember that...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 29, 2010; 4:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Financial Regulation  
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Does the Affordable Care Act end health discrimination for kids before 2014?

A lot of folks have asked why the Affordable Care Act only eliminates preexisting condition discrimination in 2014. The basic answer is that in order to avoid an insurance death spiral, where costs rise because sick people rush into the...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 29, 2010; 4:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Are Democrats more disorganized than Republicans?

John Holbo proposes a thought experiment: Consider a country, he says, with two parties. One party enforces total party discipline. The other does not. Over time, both parties will push positive proposals/legislation. Quite obviously, the Bipartisan Party will be...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 29, 2010; 3:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Congress , Democrats , Republicans  
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What happens when Congress can't do its job?

This is an excerpt from "What Happens When Congress Fails to Do Its Job?", which appears in the latest issue of Newsweek. Full thing here. In the months leading up to the health-care-reform vote, there was much talk that...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 29, 2010; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Articles , Congress , Government  
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Access to medical care is not 'candy' or an 'indulgence'

For Robert Samuelson, the fact that the Affordable Care Act is fully paid for and in fact reduces the deficit isn't good enough. "If the administration has $1 trillion or so of spending cuts and tax increases over a decade,...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 29, 2010; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (88)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Deals and the Constitution

A reader writes in with a further point on whether the Founders would've been appalled by the process that led to the health-care reform bill: Don't forget the ultimate "Cornhusker kickback": Designating each black person as only 3/5's of...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 29, 2010; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Lunch break

The guy who plays "air-traffic controller" in one of America's best restaurants explains his job....

By Ezra Klein  |  March 29, 2010; 12:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Three out of four developed countries agree: Tax the banks!

The Wall Street Journal reports that there's international consensus around some form of a bank tax meant to cover the cost of future bailouts. The proposals vary: France and the president of the United States only want to use...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 29, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Financial Regulation , Taxes  
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Think Tank: FinReg edition

Since the blog -- and Washington -- is shifting focus from health-care reform to financial-regulation reform, this week's Think Tank is something of a primer. As it happens, all the links are to reports put out by the Roosevelt Institute,...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 29, 2010; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Think Tank  
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FinReg's killer app

"Capital requirements" are one of those terms that wonks are suddenly using a lot and that plenty of people are probably still confused by. But they're important to understand, because they're the killer app of financial regulation. David Leonhardt offers...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 29, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Financial Regulation  
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The most important health-care reformer you've (probably) never heard of

Aside from the secretary of health and human services, the presidential appointee with the most power over the future of the American health-care system is the director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Medicare and Medicaid are...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 29, 2010; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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When an idea becomes a law, it gets complicated

One of the neat things about a value-added tax is that unlike our current tax code, it's really simple. But then, a lot of things are really simple in theory. Income taxes, for instance, which form the basis for our...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 29, 2010; 10:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Taxes  
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The difference between being pro-business and pro-market

In the introduction to the Roosevelt Institution's 'Make Markets be Markets' report, Rob Johnson quotes Chicago University economist Luigi Zingales making an important distinction on the nature of lobbying. Most lobbying is pro-business, in the sense that it promotes the...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 29, 2010; 9:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Would the Founders have approved of the health-care reform process?

"The process that led to this bill was sleazy," Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Sunday's Meet the Press. "It was the worst of Washington." Maybe so, though I'm not sure what the best of Washington looks like. The Iraq debate,...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 29, 2010; 8:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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The Palin test for FinReg

I don't like to disagree with Paul Krugman about financial regulation, but I think it's actually a bit too pessimistic to sigh that "no system will work once President Palin gets to appoint the Secretary of the Treasury and...

By Ezra Klein  |  March 29, 2010; 7:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Financial Regulation  
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