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Reconciliation

Today I looked at "the largest yielding of sovereignty from the Congress since the creation of the Federal Reserve," the ways in which the conservative strategy on health care actually kinda worked, and talked with George W. Bush's Medicare director about the Affordable Care Act.

Here's what I didn't get to:

1) People realize that the excise tax is a way of rolling back the "regressive tax preference for employer-based health insurance," right?

2) Paul Krugman has a great analogy for FinReg.

3) David Leonhardt has a great article on FinReg.

4) A useful chart showing how the Affordable Care Act is financed, though it would've been helpful if they'd broken down the Medicare cuts.

5) Aww, happy Biden!

6) I'll be on “Countdown” tonight in the first segment.

I was going to wish you a good weekend, but -- oh, wait, I can actually just wish you a good weekend.

By Ezra Klein  |  March 26, 2010; 6:38 PM ET
 
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Comments

Ezra - I thought I saw during the credits of Bill Maher's show last week that you were going to be on tonight or something. Did that change?

Posted by: gocowboys | March 26, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, Krugman makes a great analogy. I'm confused by his closer - why would he be in favor of the new financial regulations if he didn't think they were going to work? Shouldn't he oppose them in favor of something that, in his opinion, is likely to be effective?

Posted by: justin84 | March 26, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, that term "FinReg" is just awful.

Posted by: Hopeful9 | March 26, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Health Care Reform “Breaks” Bond of Consent Between Government and Governed??

This is more over-the-top deliberately incendiary demagoguery, diametrically opposite from the truth (no shock there). Precisely which bond is it that supposedly has been broken, and by whom? In democracy, elections constitute the most significant bond between people and government. There were extensive and detailed debates, regarding health care reform, during the more than yearlong campaign, before the elections. The side campaigning for health care reform won. The other side lost. And has, ever since then, ignored the verdict of the one poll that counts; and the majority of Americans that voted them down; thereby seeking to nullify the elections’ results. To approve something, other than comprehensive reform, clearly at stake during the elections is what would strain those bonds, not the opposite.

Polls come and go week to week, and are easily manipulated. Precisely which poll was it that somehow demonstrates a majority of Americans having changed their minds, after electing the side advocating health care reform? Was it the poll showing over 60% approval for the public health option? Was it the poll showing opposition to "death panel"-type distorted caricatures, as deliberately portrayed by opponents? Was it the poll showing approval for each element in health care reform, when presented individually? Or was it the latest-latest poll, taken after passage, showing that a plurality of people support the bill?

Just precisely who has been breaking bonds here?

Posted by: armondavid | March 27, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

'People realize that the excise tax is a way of rolling back the "regressive tax preference for employer-based health insurance," right?'

Um, no. It is not. The "excise tax" is a tax. A tax on a subsidy. It is a way to raise revenue that was devised in lieu of raising taxes on the wealthy. It is a cop out. A bandaid on a festering pustule.

A system devised on taxing subsidies for one class of workers in order to subsidize another class of workers or non-workers is emblematic of a system that is severely broken and in need of reform.

Wait, didn't we just pass reform?... never mind. Too late. Opportunity lost.

Posted by: jc263field | March 27, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Ezra

Why do we see the same familiar political faces (McCain, Bachmann, Kerry, et al) on the TV talk shows?

There are 435 House members and 100 Senate members, yet we never see but a few.

Whether it be print, TV, talk radio, etc, it seems McCain, for example, is always there.

Why don't Democrats accept progressive talk radio show invitations more often? It seems it is rare that I see hear a Democrat on progressive talk radio.

A similar question is about the op-eds. How many are submitted and who decides which ones to run? Again, it's always the same few who get all the limelight.

Is the media controlling who gets on TV, print, radio, or is it something else?

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 28, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Ezra,

RE: rolling back the "regressive tax preference for employer-based health insurance"

I think Ryan and Daniels are talking about the Have-Nots, those without tax exempt employer-based health insurance. The Have-Nots don’t get a tax exemption now for their health insurance costs and, based on the new law, they’re not getting it anytime soon.

You seem to be talking about the Haves, those with tax exempt employer-based health insurance.

To change the subject on you, do you think the Have/Have-Not tax policy is fair? Do you see other considerations that justify it?

Posted by: Yosh57 | March 28, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Ezra:

Who are you kidding with a chart on how the Affordable Health Care act is financed? You, I and everyone else knows that the federal budget, like our personal budgets, is one giant melting pot. There is income and there is spending. Currently and into the distant future the spending far outstrips the income and we continue to add new programs and entitlements at a record pace. It’s well known, the deficit and our national debt are growing exponential and we are on the road to financial Armageddon.

The combined unfunded liability of Social Security and Medicare has now reached $100 trillion dollars! By 2050, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will consume nearly the entire federal budget. There is no money left for any new entitlements, but we found room for them in this health care bill including start up of a new unfunded liability for long term care, the Class Act. These programs are Ponzi schemes, pure and simple. Every dollar is spent. There is no savings or investment. But, there will be a day of reckoning and it is not too far in the future.

When Obama took office the national debt was about $50,000 per household. It is now over $70,000 per household and by 2020 it is estimated to be $170,000. By that time rampant inflation sky high interest rates may be the result. If we want this nation to survive for our grandchildren we need to stop new programs and “Affordable” government financing and start talking about an austerity program that truly begins to pay down the national debt. This bill does not do that and you, I and everyone else knows that (unless we are kidding ourselves).

Posted by: LewisE | March 29, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

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