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Ezra Klein: January 16, 2011 - January 22, 2011

Reconciliation

Recap: The president's governing philosophy never survives first contact with Congress; the Republican war on the CBO; and it's gotten harder to pay workers well. 1) Ross Douthat on Sarah Palin. 2) Ken Auletta on Google and Eric Schmidt. 3)...

By Ezra Klein  | January 21, 2011; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Did Republicans just take ownership of Ryan's Roadmap?

I doubt Paul Ryan will suffer much from being tapped to give the GOP's response to the State of the Union: He's an easy, affable speaker, and even if the format leaves him looking a little wooden, his control of...

By Ezra Klein  | January 21, 2011; 5:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Republicans  
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It's harder to pay workers well in America

I've been trying to wrap my arms around the question of "where on earth are middle-skilled middle-class jobs supposed to come from if not from manufacturing" lately, and though I don't really have any answers, I do have a couple...

By Ezra Klein  | January 21, 2011; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
Categories:  Economic Policy  
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Towards a better health-care debate?

On the bright side, I do think you can detect some improvement on the quality of the Republican argument against the health-care law, at least if you look at elites. Take Charles Krauthammer's column, where he writes: I've got a...

By Ezra Klein  | January 21, 2011; 3:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Health-care reform doesn't have 10 years of taxes for six years of benefits

"I think you should take a look at Krauthammer's column today," writes an angry reader. "Why is it that you fail to mention the 6 years of expenditures, but 10 years of revenue? Something that I have not heard disputed...

By Ezra Klein  | January 21, 2011; 1:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Lunch Break

Van Jones explains the inequality -- and the injustice -- in...plastic?...

By Ezra Klein  | January 21, 2011; 12:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Column: The Republican war on the CBO

It's the age of civility in American politics, but there's one institution that's been civil all along: the Congressional Budget Office (sorry, but sometimes civility is boring). The nonpartisan agency, which calculates the official cost of legislation for Congress, speaks...

By Ezra Klein  | January 21, 2011; 11:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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The Founders' health-care mandate

In July of 1798, Congress passed – and President John Adams signed - “An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen.” The law authorized the creation of a government operated marine hospital service and mandated that privately employed...

By Ezra Klein  | January 21, 2011; 10:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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What happened to Obama-ism?

Noam Scheiber commends Obama's op-ed on regulation as a useful distillation of the essence of "Obama-ism." In particular, Noam points out two sentences: First, "we are seeking more affordable, less intrusive means to achieve the same ends." And second,...

By Ezra Klein  | January 21, 2011; 9:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Obama administration  
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Could we replace the individual mandate?

Kaiser Health News asked a variety of health-care experts to imagine the worst-case scenario and come up with ideas for a policy that could replace the individual mandate. This doesn't turn out to be all that hard: Late enrollment can...

By Ezra Klein  | January 21, 2011; 8:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Wonkbook: RSC details $100B in spending cuts; Obama admin appoints GE CEO

You should be watching for three different fights over the budget this year. The two that people are mostly expecting is the fight between Democrats and Republicans on cuts and the fight between Democrats and Republicans on funding the...

By Ezra Klein  | January 21, 2011; 6:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

Recap: Barack Obama doesn't need anyone's permission to be bold; neither party should be willing to risk a return to the status quo on health care; and Greg Mankiw offers a very odd thought experiment. Elsewhere: 1) "Liberalism in general...

By Ezra Klein  | January 20, 2011; 6:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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What to worry about when you're worrying about China

There's a lot of good stuff in Nick Kristof's overview of contemporary Chinese politics, but this is the part most relevant to the topics I cover: Trade is at the heart of the tensions [between America and China], and...

By Ezra Klein  | January 20, 2011; 4:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  China  
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Where is the Republican who supports universal health care?

Quick question: At this point, with Sen. Bob Bennett out of the Senate, is there a Republican serving in Congress who has either authored, co-sponsored or committed to vote for a bill that makes health-care coverage either universal or very...

By Ezra Klein  | January 20, 2011; 4:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Greg Mankiw's thinking cap

There's an interesting mixture of callousness and accidental truth lurking within Greg Mankiw's satirical proposal to reduce the budget deficit: The essence of the plan is the federal government writing me a check for $1 billion. The plan will be...

By Ezra Klein  | January 20, 2011; 3:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Health Economics  
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Should Reid bring up repeal?

Harry Reid isn't planning to bring the House's health-care repeal bill up for a vote in the Senate. Kevin Drum thinks he should reconsider: What's the harm in wasting a bit of time and making this a knock-down-drag-out fight? After...

By Ezra Klein  | January 20, 2011; 2:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Lunch Break

Visualizing the explosion in medical data:...

By Ezra Klein  | January 20, 2011; 12:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Kent Conrad to retire

This week, Joe Lieberman and Kent Conrad both announced that they wouldn't be seeking reelection to the Senate in 2012. For a variety of reasons, Lieberman's retirement attracted a lot more attention. But Conrad's is almost certainly more meaningful....

By Ezra Klein  | January 20, 2011; 11:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Tom Toles is worth a thousand words

By Ezra Klein  | January 20, 2011; 10:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Darrell Issa: Sonic terrorist

Now this is a critique of Rep. Darrell Issa that you don't hear every day: "Everyone," said Issa, "has a past." The New Yorker profile of Darrell Issa fails to include the most important aspect of Issa's past--and present. Issa...

By Ezra Klein  | January 20, 2011; 10:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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The history of economics in one sentence

To date, economics has been two parts wonder drug and one part snake oil. That's from Dani Rodrik's new book, "The Globalization Paradox." The hard bit, he says, is telling which parts are the wonder drug and which parts are...

By Ezra Klein  | January 20, 2011; 9:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Economics  
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If Obama wants to be bold, he should be bold

Peter Baker has a lot of juicy tidbits about the frequent infighting and petty spats that split the White House economic team over the past two years, but the individual who comes off worst in the article is not...

By Ezra Klein  | January 20, 2011; 9:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
Categories:  Obama administration  
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Wonkbook: House GOP votes to repeal, but not to replace

The worst portent for health-care reform last night wasn't the repeal vote itself, but what didn't come with it: Any replacement bill that Republicans were committed to passing. The second half of the Republican strategy on health-care reform --...

By Ezra Klein  | January 20, 2011; 6:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

Recap: Policy arguments aren't always on the level; the uninsured are too often forgotten in the health-care debate; Elsewhere: 1) "Unemployment always rises more for less-educated workers in recessions and falls by more in booms." 2) So much pho. 3)...

By Ezra Klein  | January 19, 2011; 7:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Repeal, but no replace

As expected, House Republicans have voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Three Democrats voted with them, which is substantially less than the 13 currently serving Democrats who voted against the bill in the first place,...

By Ezra Klein  | January 19, 2011; 6:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (69)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Remember the uninsured?

In February 2007, Deamonte Driver died of an infected tooth. But he didn't really die of an infected tooth. He died because he didn't have consistent insurance. If he'd had an Aetna card, a dentist would've removed the tooth...

By Ezra Klein  | January 19, 2011; 4:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (94)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Please repeal responsibly

Austin Frakt examines what a repeal effort focused on deficit reduction would look like: The ACA has provisions that are clearly in the spending category (Medicaid expansion, exchange subsidies), provisions that are clearly in the savings category (Medicare cuts), provisions...

By Ezra Klein  | January 19, 2011; 2:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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What does it mean to be pro-labor when labor is in decline?

Here's the puzzle: As you can see in the graph above, America has done a better job keeping GDP up than almost any other developed nation affected by the Great Recession. But it's done a far worse job keeping...

By Ezra Klein  | January 19, 2011; 1:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
Categories:  Unions  
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I just don't know what to say

Jon Bernstein transcribes this gem from Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.): What's in here? $500 billion cut to Medicare for our seniors. What else is in here? $500 billion of tax increases. What else is in here? Six years of benefits...

By Ezra Klein  | January 19, 2011; 1:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Lunch break

The history of gaming in four minutes: History of Gaming from Florian Smolka on Vimeo....

By Ezra Klein  | January 19, 2011; 1:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The first 12 million is always the hardest

I've been a bit dismissive of the Affordable Care Act's early benefits, but Suzy Khimm ran the numbers and found that 12 million people are receiving protection, coverage or direct benefits from some portion of the bill. That's a lot...

By Ezra Klein  | January 19, 2011; 11:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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It's not on the level

There's a political consultant I know who likes to illustrate the cynicism and dysfunction of our political system with an anecdote from his days as a congressional staffer. He was sitting behind his boss during a hearing when one of...

By Ezra Klein  | January 19, 2011; 11:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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House Republicans discover that the Senate doesn't work very well

The traditional definition of chutzpah is "that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan." I think it's time for an update:...

By Ezra Klein  | January 19, 2011; 9:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Health-care Rashomon

The Congressional Budget Office serves a very particular purpose in our political system: They provide politically independent, fairly cautious estimates and explanations of legislation so that when we debate, we can at least work off the same basic set of...

By Ezra Klein  | January 19, 2011; 9:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
 
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Wonkbook: Day two of the repeal fight

The House will vote tonight on repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The repeal law will likely pass, only to die in the Senate. But if the vote itself hasn't won't have much impact, what about the...

By Ezra Klein  | January 19, 2011; 6:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

Recap: Comparing America with health-care reform to America with health-care repeal; why the market can't solve the health-care problem; and the sad reality of congressional debate. Elsewhere: 1) A beautiful remembrance of Sargent Shriver. 2) The problems with policy reporting....

By Ezra Klein  | January 18, 2011; 7:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Joe Lieberman: Democratic hero?

If you look back over the past two years, perhaps the most consequential decision made by President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was to give Joe Lieberman his chairmanship, even though Lieberman had endorsed John McCain in...

By Ezra Klein  | January 18, 2011; 7:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (73)
 
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Regulating the regulators

I occasionally find it difficult to tell whether the Obama administration is doing something because it thinks it needs to be done, doing something because it thinks that it needs to preempt Congress from doing something worse, or both. A...

By Ezra Klein  | January 18, 2011; 5:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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What debate?

I'm watching the House debate on repealing the Affordable Care Act and it's ... depressing. Not the content, though that has its ups and downs. The structure. Each representative gets a minute to speak before they yield the floor. Few...

By Ezra Klein  | January 18, 2011; 4:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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The weird polling on repeal

Over e-mail, Greg Sargent asks if I'll comment on the growing divide between polls that ask if Americans support repealing the Affordable Care Act, yes or no, and polls that give them more options: It's becoming more and more obvious...

By Ezra Klein  | January 18, 2011; 4:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Polls  
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Lunch break

Life imitates art. More specifically, it imitates "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy":...

By Ezra Klein  | January 18, 2011; 12:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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The health-care system will always need the government

You often hear about the need for more "free-market" solutions to the health-care crisis. The problem for this theory, as Matt Yglesias notes, is that "the only reason most people are insured today has to do with the non-market elements...

By Ezra Klein  | January 18, 2011; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Who does higher education spending help?

Let's say Mississippi decides to spend a lot of money to help its four-year colleges graduate more students ready to join the cutting-edge of technological research. Who does that help? Well, the students, of course. And those of us who...

By Ezra Klein  | January 18, 2011; 11:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Education  
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Is the individual mandate unprecedented?

The legal argument that conservatives have raised against the individual mandate is that it's novel because it forces you to do something when you might have preferred to do nothing. Put differently, it regulates "inactivity," and that's unprecedented. Or is...

By Ezra Klein  | January 18, 2011; 10:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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The travels of the Constitution

From Jill Lepore's excellent essay on the document: The secretary of the convention carried the original to New York to present it to Congress, which met, at the time, at City Hall. Without either endorsing or opposing it, Congress agreed...

By Ezra Klein  | January 18, 2011; 10:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Legal  
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Repeal vs. reform

Today, the House of Representatives will begin debate on legislation repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. That makes for a bracingly clarifying choice. America will either have a package of reforms that we've studied quite thoroughly or a...

By Ezra Klein  | January 18, 2011; 10:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Wonkbook: Health-care debate, round two

Health-care reform isn't getting repealed this week. It's getting re-debated. The GOP's control of the House -- and thus of at least some of the agenda -- gives them a second opportunity to make their case against the bill....

By Ezra Klein  | January 18, 2011; 6:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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In praise of Jeb Bush

I think Jon Chait gets Jeb Bush very wrong here. When Bush says that "second-generation Hispanics marry non-Hispanics at a higher rate than second-generation Irish or Italians" and that "second-generation Hispanics' English language capability rates are higher than previous immigrant...

By Ezra Klein  | January 17, 2011; 1:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Immigration  
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American schools more segregated today than when Martin Luther King Jr. was killed

American schools are more segregated by race and class today than they were on the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed, 43 years ago. The average white child in America attends a school that is 77 percent white, and...

By Ezra Klein  | January 17, 2011; 11:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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It's not (just) about the deficit

"My hope is that the centerpiece of the [State of the Union] will be a comprehensive plan for dealing with the long-run budget deficit," writes Christina Romer. Not me. My hope is that the State of the Union will be...

By Ezra Klein  | January 17, 2011; 10:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  Budget  
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Column: Looking back at health-care reform from 2030

Good morning, class. Today's topic, as you know, is "The Evolution of the American Health-Care System" between 2010 and 2030. Before we begin, either turn off your iGlasses or make sure they're not set to holographically project whatever you're daydreaming....

By Ezra Klein  | January 17, 2011; 10:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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