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Recap: Seven things to know about Austan Goolsbee; tracking the cost curve in health-care reform; Dean Baker's plan to create 9 million jobs.


1) If there weren't pictures, I'd think Jeffrey Goldberg's meeting with Fidel Castro was fabricated. It's just too incredible to be believed.

2) Alice Rivlin explains why free-market conservatives should care a lot about the exchanges.

3) I think things like 'erotic capital' are usually undervalued as economic forces.

4) I'll be talking about the economy with Rachel Maddow at about 9:15 Eastern.

Recipe of the day: Roasted red pepper soup with corn and cilantro.

By Ezra Klein  |  September 10, 2010; 5:10 PM ET
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Next: Wonkbook: Boehner buckles on Bush tax cuts; Surowiecki on why the stimulus is unpopular; Happy Basel III day!


As it turns out, you were right to be skeptical about Goldberg's meeting with Fidel Castro. Regarding the latter's supposed admission of the failure of Cuba's economic model, Castro "meant 'the opposite' of what he was reported as having said by The Atlantic magazine reporter Jeffrey Goldberg" (AP).

Posted by: postriot | September 10, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

--"Goldberg's meeting with Fidel"--

Castro is a bigger liar than Klein, but Klein is still young and has many things to learn.

Posted by: msoja | September 10, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

--"Alice Rivlin explains"--

Is she kidding? Or just as riddled with the government disease like our girl Klein?

Government mandated and regulated exchanges do not a market make. Period.

There is no freedom in such things. One side is not free to set its end of the terms of the proposed exchange, and the other side, "armed with low-income subsidies" is kept blissfully insulated from any true market choices.

Yeah, I know. Vast swaths of Klein's reading public will swallow the untruths of it, hook, line, and sinker.

I wonder, do propagandists ever feel shame?

Posted by: msoja | September 10, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

I wonder, do drama queen anarchists ever feel foolish and alone?

Posted by: Patrick_M | September 11, 2010 5:35 AM | Report abuse

Wassamatter, Patrick? Don't feel up to arguing that government exchanges are an example of the free market in action? Could it be that the idea is laughable on its face?

And, yet, there are Rivlin and Klein with their serious stupid faces on, pulling that leg. And there you are humping it, too.

What a disgrace.

Posted by: msoja | September 11, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

EZRA - I have some basic questions for your research desk:

Does increasing the cost that IRS charges enterprizes for pursuing profitable opportunities lower their demand?

Does Obama's ideological commitment to higher taxes on corporations pose the greatest threat to recovery from the great recession?

Even if he is not responsible for the initial recession, isn't it clear that his the double-dip is a result of his committment to increase costs on those with the gumption to take risks and pursue economic growth activity by pursuing new profitable opportunities?

If you increase the cost on a cup of coffee, doesn't that lower the demand for that cup of coffee?

If you increase the costs on businesses wishing to try and start pursuing increasingly risky profitable opportunities during this fragile economy lower the demand and discourage this?

Aren't these economic policies during this fragile period incredibly stupid?

And by the way, just how does he claim that Bush's tax policy caused this economic meltdown? Fact is, the tax cuts caused an immediate recovery from the 9-11 recession, just as the tax cuts kickied in, the economy totally reversed direction!

Wasn't the economic meltdown solely caused by the failure of government to properly regulate high risk home loans around the nation as well as the practice of co-mingling these high risk mortgages with other financial assets and sell them off to big banks?!

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | September 11, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Rivlin must be living on some other planet. His argument essentially is that conservatives should support the exchanges because if these don't work, Americans will demand single-payer. Um, really? Democrats control 60 percent of both houses of Congress and Americans wouldn't allow them to pass anything close to single-payer. The left-most bill they were able to pass was RomneyCare Redux. And partially because of that, Republicans are now set to take over the House and possibly the Senate this fall. Oh yeah, this is a country just pining for single-payer. It's right around the corner, folks, along with Bigfoot.

I think we're far more likely to go the other direction and embrace Wyden-Bennett or maybe some version of Mitch Daniels' Indiana health care reform.

Posted by: DR721 | September 11, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

"Everyone wants higher-quality care, expanded access, and slower health care spending growth."

As is the usual nature of trilemmas, you may pick two of the three.

"Market enthusiasts would do well to stop shouting about socialized medicine and instead work hard to be sure the states set up efficient, customer-friendly exchanges." It could be their last chance to prove their point."

Sounds ominous.

The market enthusiasts have already lost. Would anyone call the automotive market a 'market' if you could only buy cars on government run lots, and the government subsidized both the purchase and maintenance of the cars? Don't worry, private mechanics would still take care of the maintenance.

How is this system at all appealing to free market types?

"Limiting insurance, however, cannot go far without the risk that consumers will defer needed care if they have to shell out cash."

Yikes. Why should I pay for something another person is not willing to use his/her own money on?

By the way, it will also defer unneeded care and downright harmful care.

"But a patient in the throes of a heart attack has neither the time nor the knowledge to shop for the best options."

This is true. But not every health care problem is a heart attack.

Also, if he had to pay the bill, beforehand he might carry a card in his wallet which lists the preferred hospital, based on either price or quality. Or he might join a AAA like organization where prices are negotiated beforehand, and if he's away from home his card directs the ambulance to, it possible and reasonable, take him to a location which has agreed to basic terms with the organization. Or at a minimum if the bill looked burdensome in advance, he would eat better. Who really knows? All we can say for sure is that if you have to pay the bill you will take action to improve quality & cost.

"Health plans must not be allowed to cherry pick healthy clients by excluding those with pre-existing conditions"

Auto plans must not be allowed to cherry pick good drivers by excluding people who have already gotten into an accident.

Life plans must not be allowed to cherry pick the young and healthy and exclude the very sick.

Homeowners plans must not be allowed to cherry pick those with standing houses and exclude those with burning homes.

"Individuals must not be allowed to forego coverage when they are healthy and demand it when they get sick—hence mandated insurance."

Um, if the insurance market were actually an insurance market, this wouldn't even be necessary to state.

"This sounds like a lot of regulation. It is. Advocates of market solutions must understand that the alternative to regulated markets is not the status quo. The status quo encourages inefficiency, uneven quality, soaring costs and declining coverage."

The status quo is hardly a 'market' solution. A far more 'market' solution with government involvement is to give each person a huge budget and let them decide details.

Posted by: justin84 | September 11, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Wow, looks like we know why no one showed up at that 9/12 tea party rally. They were all busy posting on Klein's blog.

Posted by: CarlosXL | September 13, 2010 1:10 AM | Report abuse

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