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Reconciliation

Today, I talked with professional failure-stopper Michael Bennet about reforming the Senate; looked at what a congressional whip does; and wondered when John McCain decided to oppose our last, best hope for reforming Medicare.

Here's what I didn't get to:

1) If you want to understand how abortion-coverage works in the Senate bill, read this. Still confused? Read this.

2) John Judis is more optimistic about Obama's second year than his first.

3) Paul Krugman creates a tiny climate model for himself. (pdf)

4) The Dickensian politics of health care.

5) Judd Gregg does not appear to know how the Senate was structured.

6) I'll be on Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonight.

I'm going to use the reconciliation process to wish you a good weekend.

By Ezra Klein  |  March 5, 2010; 6:25 PM ET
 
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Comments

--"I'll be on Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonight."--

You're known by the company you keep, Klein. Though, really, it's not as though you're doing Olbermann any favors.

How far down in the basement of ratings is that guy???

Posted by: msoja | March 5, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, there are a number of issues that Noah ignores with respect to the problems that pro-lifers have with the Senate language--issues I have seen Stupak raise in interviews, and issues he could easily have found here: http://www.nrlc.org/AHC/AbortionPolicyHCRBackgrounder.html

Posted by: FrBill1 | March 5, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the Stupak Amendment, why doesn't somebody call his bluff and say,

"Okay, I'll vote for your amendment IF you agree that any man accused, indicted, or found guilty of rape has to have his balls cut off. Moreover, any man who fathers a child must pay the doctor, hospital bills, and living expenses of the mother while she's unable to work as well as help support to the mother and child until the child is 18 or 21 if in college. As I understand it, DNA can be obtained from embryonic fluid now.

"Here's the deal: if you want to invade my life with your laws, take away my personal freedom and liberties,then the guy who caused this situation must pay a price too. Agreed?"

Posted by: valkayec | March 5, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

--"the guy who caused this situation"--

It takes two to tango, no?

Posted by: msoja | March 5, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

It is a nice model. I wish My math skills were still that good. But if one looks "outside the box" there is still reason to ask "What if we were on an ice age track - independent of warming in the atmosphere?"

If that were to be the case. the model is worthless. Or less.

Paul Krugman is smart, but he needs to ask more questions. Otherwise he limits his mind. Or his politics too. He has to dumb down to be so far to the left.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | March 6, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

--"I'll be on Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonight."--

I had given Keith a beak thinking his mindless opposition to our efforts in Iraq had wound down. But he was still scolding us for Iraq. Even now he thinks we have lost.

Even when VP Biden sees a success.

Once I thought he was a mindless political partisan. Now he seems just to be mindless.

Watch out for Keith. If you think on your own he will toss you off the show forever.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | March 6, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Our main problems could be solved if mass media will start to understand that as Democrats, as Republicans, as our Government are wrong about explanation of reason for climate change.
I have nothing personal to Al Gore, but his explanation of reason for climate change, which for some reason are supported by mass media in the world are not scientific.
We could create 100% of employment, therefore insurance, be energy independent and fight climate change by only three countries-USA, Canada and Mexico if we will more carefully look at properties of water, which actually cool the atmosphere.
Properties of water are more powerful in nature than all GHG, including water vapor.
Xlibris.com Economy and climate change or KGB agent.

Posted by: mioffe | March 6, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Who will argue that GHG trapped infrared radiation and therefore heat the air?
Nobody!
In my opinion we must look in the reason for climate change above GHG.
What else heat the air?
It is reduction of reflection of direct sun radiation and reason for it also created by mankind activities:
1. tilling of land and mono culture in every field for crop production;
2. roads, parking lots, commercial and home building;
3. soot on snow;
It is reduction of water evaporation on continents.
Everybody could prolong these reasons.

What cool the air?
Mostly properties of water are cooling the air.
We need 539 kcal of energy to evaporate 1 kg of water. (Only 1 kcal is needed to heat 1 kg of water on one degree Celsius.).
In air we always have not only water vapor, which is also GHG, but water droplets, in form of fog, clouds and particles responsible for visibility. Their evaporation also is cooling the air.
As lighter than most gases in air water vapor going to clouds level, where they release the same energy.
It is unique properties of water transport on 2-7 miles close to space huge energy, where it easely is going to space.
Clouds reflect back to space 1/3 of sun radiation.
It is science of 19 century and is part of Physics for high school.
Climate change COULD BE REAL, EXPLANATION FOR REASON OF IT IS WRONG AND WE MUST PAY ATTENTION ON IT ASAP.

Posted by: mioffe | March 6, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Ezra

I have some medical malpractice question(s) about your article here:

http://www.slate.com/id/2145400/

- How much does a typical physician pay each year for malpractice insurance?

- Do all physicians pay the same high price or only those who are incompetent?

- How much profits are the insurers taking in overall?

- Are insurance polices expensive because of insurance company greed, botched medicine, frivolous lawsuits, all of the above?

- Why do so many foreign doctors thrive here in the USA even though "American" doctors complain that they can't stay in business because of malpractice insurance? And why do these same foreign doctors have no problem accepting medicare patients though "American" doctors are threatening to stop taking medicare patients?

- Is it true that we intentionally restrict the number of physicians being trained each year in the USA? If so, how is that done? I have an email from Sen Nelson (FL) saying we did just that in 1998, and now he is trying to get FL to reverse such practices.

Hypothetical scenario: I've read there are a million physicians in the USA. That would mean for every $1000 in insurance premiums they pay each year, the insurers are taking in one billion dollars. So if premiums are, say, $50,000 per year for a typical doctor, then the industry is taking in %50 billion. Is that $50 billion sufficient to pay all legal costs? In other words, how much money is lost each year due to medical legal costs and damage awards, etc??

When you consider that hospitals and pharmacies are also buying insurance, that means the insurers have an endless source of money flowing in.

Why don't doctors just band together and stop paying insurance, and instead form their own insurance co-op so their fees will be lower?

I need better perspective on this kind of information. Facts, figures, charts showing how much greed there is and who the greedy are. Thanks.

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 6, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Judis may be optimistic....but I hope Obama does not have a second term! I hope the House and Senate elections put a nail in the Obama presidency.....in fact, he has already failed with many people! The spending frenzy in DC needs to come to a stop...NOW!

visit: http://eclecticramblings.wordpress.com

Posted by: my4653 | March 6, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

There will be no stinkin' reconciliation!!!!

The idea that reconciliation is where the DEMS will fix the Senate bill is just a faux rabbit for the poor House dogs to chase.

Another Obama ruse.

If the House votes for this flawed anti-consumer Senate bill, -------all hell will break loose for Senators------marches on Washington, citizens en masse writing letters, phoning their senators, believing that they can still stop HCR and reconciliation, -----politicians will announce running on repeal of HCR, the polls will bear them out----- it will be a perfect storm of bad news for DEM senators.

-----many "experts" doubt the DEMS will get the 50 Senate votes needed for reconciliation after that level of public opposition,

----thus THE vote on reconciliation will be "delayed".

Then, as planned, Obama, with crocodile tears flowing, "will be forced" to sign HIS PREFERRED version, the hated Senate HCR bill into law----

Posted by: johnowl | March 6, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

I didn't even notice, Klein, Olbermann, and Krugman in the same post. The three of them are the Moe, Larry, and Curly of modern main stream media.

Read this...

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703915204575103720332317434.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_MIDDLETopOpinion

... and tell me why Krugman doesn't slink out of view of respectable people and not come back. The man is a fraud, and those who pal around with him are frauds.

Posted by: msoja | March 6, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Lomillialor - Good luck trying to get honest answers out of Klein. He's a propagandist, and has no brook with the truth.

Insurance, and health care itself, are expensive because of the numerous and sundry subsidies interjected into what was once a functioning market by the government, both federal and state. There are several vicious cycles at work through it all, but at base, the government is insisting on providing a product at below cost, at the same time it is working othr avenues ginning up demand. The exact same thing is happening in higher education.

For your question on "number of physicians" guess what? It's another government clusterfook. See Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicare_(United_States)#Graduate_Medical_Education

Oh, the joys of ignorant Socialism.

Posted by: msoja | March 6, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

The WSJ is not a valid source of honest, agenda-free opinion. Murdoch is steadily dismantling the firewall between the WSJ newsroom and the editorial dept, and now its news room is also becoming a right-wing propaganda machine just like Fox News.

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 6, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

As far as Klein's honesty, look at his earlier interview with Ryan (R) and see how Klein traps Ryan in huge dishonesty.

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 6, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

msjoa

The fact you play the socialism card, implies you are either ignorant of the differences between America and the socialist states such as the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany, or you are lying for fear's sake.

Go educate yourself about socialism, then ask yourself if we resemble those countries in any meaningful way.

Your opinions are obviously driven by ideology, and hence can be ignored by people trying to make sense of the economic and cultural chaos created by the neocons of the GOP.

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 6, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

"Oh, the joys of ignorant Socialism."

Yet, we have been driven entirely by supply-side, laissez faire economics since Reagan came in office, and now we have the Great Recession.

Talking about being unable to connect the dots.

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 6, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Based on the Sunday shows lineup, it looks like the press is going to try to make this week about conservative Democrats who will likely vote no. "Dems are divided" is indeed a favorite story to write. Of course, the Dems give them plenty of material. Should be interesting to see what folks like Adler and Altmire say.

And by the way, what weirdo does the booking for Meet the Press? Harold Ford?!?! He has no relevance to ANYTHING!

Posted by: phillycomment | March 6, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

--"The WSJ is not a valid source of honest, agenda-free opinion."--

If that's what you honestly believe, you are free to point out that they have either lied about what Krugman wrote in his recent column, or that they lied about what Krugman wrote in the text book they cite. That's pretty basic stuff. Have at it, won't you?

Posted by: msoja | March 6, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

--"[S]ee how Klein traps Ryan in huge dishonesty."--

It takes one to know one, perhaps, however, it would be illogical to ascertain Klein's honesty by measuring some one else's.

Posted by: msoja | March 6, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

--"The fact you play the socialism card, implies you are either ignorant of the differences between America and the socialist states such as the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany, or you are lying for fear's sake."--

Pretty funny: While the politicians dither over how to increase their 50% stake in health care, I should pretend it isn't Socialism because they aren't gassing Jews or investing in gulags, too?

And Ronnie Rayguns maybe would have *liked* to have taken us farther back from the cesspit of creeping collectivism, but he really didn't do much to dismantle the greater bulk of it. He railed long and hard against Medicare before it was enacted (and boy, wasn't he right?) but couldn't even get started on taking it apart. Social Security (nothing Socialist about that, right?) got a nice big payroll tax hike under Reagan, if I recall. And government spending greatly outpaced the increased tax revenue that the Laffer curve engendered tax cuts brought in.

So, it looks like, tonight, anyway, everything you know is wrong, and you still won't get honest answers from Klein.

Posted by: msoja | March 7, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

In nazi Germany and the USSR they had public schools, does that mean we should forego public schools because they are socialistic?

Auto insurance and private health insurance are as much socialistic as SS and medicare. Should we abolish insurance companies because they sell socialism?

SS and medicare and the VA health systems are programs beloved by the vast majority of American people. Not ONE American who qualifies to receive those benefits has renounced them. Will you? Or will you be a hypocrit?

Reagan was wrong to have opposed them. Those programs have saved countless lives and made it possible for most elderly people to live with some degree of dignity.

Anything adopted by a democratic process is intrinsically non-socialistic (in the true marxist definition of the word) and is fair game in a free enterprise system. If we can't democratically adopt programs like SS and medicare, then we really don't have a free market system.

So, again, go ahead and play the socialism card, but don't be surprised when people laugh when you at the same time point fingers about who's being dishonest.

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 7, 2010 6:45 AM | Report abuse

The WSJ has perhaps the most right-wing editorial board of any major newspaper. It used to be their news room, however, was reliable. There was a kind of firewall between the two. No longer. Now that Murdoch has bought the WSJ, the firewall is being dismantled. News is now profit driven, so of course an agenda has been imposed on the news. Anyone who can't admit that Murdoch has an ideological agenda with his media empire is dishonest or an idiot.

Regarding the Krugman article, it lacks context for Krugman's quote. For example, what date was that quote? Perhaps he has changed his mind about the issue. As you recall, Reagan changed parties. BushSr changed his views about voodoo economics and abortion. McCain changed his mind about DADT, torture, and being a moderate in general. Simply pointing out that someone changed their minds does not prove anything. Everyone changes their mind at times. Three months before the election, Bush and McCain both said the economy was strong; two months later they changed their minds and said it was "grave". If Krugman in fact changed his mind, the question is, at which point was Krugman right? Then or now? Simply comparing his opinion over time does not prove he is a fraud. Indeed, I doubt you have the educational background in economics to even hazard a guess whether Krugman is a fraud or understand the finer points of the issues.

On the other hand, economics is very complicated obviously. Krugman's earlier comments may have applied only to certain situations. We don't know without more context. Indeed, his quote seems to apply to what he may call "excessive" assistance in other systems. He may feel, and always have felt, that assistance in today's circumstances in this system is not excessive at all.

Maybe instead of trying to classify all keynesian economists as being frauds, you should wakeup and look at the toll that supply-side economics is taking on the middle-class since Reagan took office. Rich, white Republicans (with the help of a few Democrats) have been in control since Reagan changed the global economic landscape, not the Krugmans, or the gays, or the liberals, or the blacks.

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 7, 2010 7:05 AM | Report abuse

"Pretty funny: While the politicians dither over how to increase their 50% stake in health care, I should pretend it isn't Socialism because they aren't gassing Jews or investing in gulags, too?"

That's right.

You should admit that what we choose democratically is not socialism, and that using that word is meant to compare to gas chambers and gulags.

You should be worried more about the 10,000s Americans who die every year because of a lack of access to health care.

You should worry more about the 650,000 Americans who go bankrupt each year because of medical issues, about half of which are fully insured.

You should admit that many insurance companies have become predatory and so need to be reigned in. Just as humans sometimes become criminals and need to be reigned in. This foolish notion that some businesses don't sometimes act as predators or that profit is the only thing that matters is destroying people.

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 7, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

--"Anything adopted by a democratic process is intrinsically non-socialistic"--

Hitler wasn't elected via a democratic process? The avowedly Socialist countries of modern Europe don't operate via the democratic process?

Get a grip, would ya?

Posted by: msoja | March 7, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Nein! Hitler was not elected. Bloodshed brought Hitler to power.

The gas chambers and gulags were not done by representative gvmt or by votes.

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 7, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

--"The WSJ has perhaps the most right-wing editorial board of any major newspaper."--

That isn't saying much, these days.

I subscribed the Wall Street Journal for many years, even as one of their early paying online customers, but no more. They lost their clarity and principled foundation somewhere along the line, and it was long before Murdoch that it happened.

However, in the case of James Taranto writing on the fraud that is Paul Krugman, there's not much wiggle room. You *CAN* follow the links in the article, can't you? Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble list the Krugman publication as February 2009, which is fairly recent. His latest op-ed, proclaiming authoritatively and exactly oppositely is from two days ago.

But my, how you do cover yourself with cheap rationalizations.

Posted by: msoja | March 7, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

--"You should admit that what we choose democratically is not socialism, and that using that word is meant to compare to gas chambers and gulags."--

Now that you mention it, that is kind of where Socialism inevitably leads, isn't it?

Like with the new health care plan, if I refuse to comply with the socialist directive to buy health insurance, and then fail to comply with the government's subsequent demands in said regards, I'll be visited by at least two government "agents", and will be hauled off against my will to the state's interment camp, 'er, gulag, 'er, jail!

Health care papers, please!

ps. Did you read what those dang health insurers are up to in the Socialist Republic of Massachusetts? The stupid government there is in a pickle over their miracle commie care.

http://www.boston.com/business/healthcare/articles/2010/03/06/health_rate_hikes_flout_new_state_cap/

What a bunch of maroons.

Posted by: msoja | March 7, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

ps. It's not as though Krugman's "error" of two days ago is an isolated incident, either. There is a veritable cottage industry of ridicule grown up around the man. If one goes to the trouble to not take him at his own word, one finds that Krugman is a laughingstock. As John Hinderaker at PowerLine said yesterday, "[O]nly the existence of Frank Rich prevents Krugman from being the world's worst columnist."

Posted by: msoja | March 7, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

"But my, how you do cover yourself with cheap rationalizations."

In the very accusation you become guiltier than me.

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 7, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

"Now that you mention it, that is kind of where Socialism inevitably leads, isn't it?"

There you go again. You are fear mongering.

Strange to hear you equate being arrested for failure to pay taxes to gas chambers and gulags. Do you feel the same about sending women and drs to prison for abortion?

If you are stupid enough to think you don't need health insurance, then you ought to be arrested and waterboarded.

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 7, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

You condemn MASS people for being victims of predatory insurance practices instead of the insurance companies? Do you know how many 100s millions the insurance CEOs are raking in even as they ripoff the country? Apparently not.

MASS health care is overwhelmingly popular there. Sen Brown (R) even professed that after being elected.

Predatory rate hikes are proof for the need of reform.

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 7, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

You haven't yet proved anything about Krugman. You only linked a short, possibly out of context, WSJ story written by a man who thinks Obama's policies are in part Slavery reparations.

If you want to allege fraud here, then you have the burden of proof, not me. That WSJ link is not proof of anything.

Go back and read my initial post that explains this all in more detail.

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 7, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

--"If you are stupid enough to think you don't need health insurance, then you ought to be arrested and waterboarded."--

Win win! Hope & Change!

Good bye, ya little Nazi. I'm going out into the day, to work in the sunshine.

Posted by: msoja | March 7, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Once again, Krugman has been misinterpreted. By clowns or liars, it is hard to say. Perhaps deliberately, although it is becoming difficult to know how smart the Wall Street Journal writers really are. The quote in the Wall Street Journal is from a section of Krugman's text about "structural unemployment," i.e. when the wage rate is ABOVE the equilibrium wage rate, (see Krugman, Economics 2nd. edition, pp. 624-626.)

This DOESN'T APPLY in the downside of a business cycle, such as now. At the current time, unemployment benefits can create new demand for goods and services, thus in turn, creating jobs. Economists have known this for over a century, and the complete quote from Krugman's NYTimes column is perfectly accurate:

"Take the question of helping the unemployed in the middle of a deep slump. What Democrats believe is what textbook economics says: that when the economy is deeply depressed, extending unemployment benefits not only helps those in need, it also reduces unemployment. That’s because the economy’s problem right now is lack of sufficient demand, and cash-strapped unemployed workers are likely to spend their benefits. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office says that aid to the unemployed is one of the most effective forms of economic stimulus, as measured by jobs created per dollar of outlay." (NYTimes March 4, 2010.)

Posted by: Lee_A_Arnold | March 7, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

--"This DOESN'T APPLY in the downside of a business cycle, such as now."--

Because "the downside of a business cycle, such as now" is different than the "Eurosclerosis" Krugman references in his economics tome? What, pray tell, is the difference between a government driven recession and a government smothered standard of living? Hint: It's really hard to tell.

But, naturally (and dim lefties are so naturally disingenuous), the doublespeak that Krugman is accused of isn't about "structural unemployment" per se, but about Krugman's criticism of Senator Kyl for saying, "[C]ontinuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work," when in his own work Krugman wrote, "The drawback to [extended unemployment compensation] is that it reduces a worker's incentive to quickly find a new job," which he has let stand through two editions, so far, without caveats.

And, of course (because there are always additional factors that socialists leave out), the money to pay people not to work comes from people who do work, and they, consequently, have less of it to spend. In fact, since every dollar the government now runs through its sewer is partly borrowed from future earnings, the poor slobs with jobs have to support the unemployed WITH INTEREST.

And, also, ultimate recovery is forestalled as the government once again distorts the market for political, rather than economic (the free market is the most efficient clearing house), purposes.

Posted by: msoja | March 7, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Msoja: "Because "the downside of a business cycle, such as now" is different than the "Eurosclerosis" Krugman references in his economics tome?"

Yes, absolutely.

Msoja: "when in his own work Krugman wrote, "The drawback to [extended unemployment compensation] is that it reduces a worker's incentive to quickly find a new job," which he has let stand through two editions, so far, without caveats."

Because that isolated phrase is in a larger paragraph which gives it a different and correct context.

Msoja: "And, of course (because there are always additional factors that socialists leave out), the money to pay people not to work comes from people who do work, and they, consequently, have less of it to spend. In fact, since every dollar the government now runs through its sewer is partly borrowed from future earnings, the poor slobs with jobs have to support the unemployed WITH INTEREST."

Completely incoherent. But certainly a perfect expression of the libertarian pseudo-religion.

Posted by: Lee_A_Arnold | March 7, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Krugman himself seems to have responded to the WSJ....

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/supply-demand-and-unemployment/

So thanks to Lee and Krugman, we see that the WSJ's Taranto is either a liar or stupid.

Will people ever learn?

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 7, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

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