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Posted at 6:35 AM ET, 01/19/2011

Wonkbook: Day two of the repeal fight

By Ezra Klein


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 two days of debate that preceded it? Any minds changed?

Didn't look like it to me. The minute-long, rapid-fire statements from various members of Congress proved predictably partisan, with Democrats extolling what they consider to be the bill's considerable virtues and Republicans painting a grim picture of what they see to be its fatal flaws. If anything, it seems the two sides are more locked into their original positions than they were a few months ago, not less. Which means though no one will decisively win today, neither will anyone admit defeat. The two parties are going to grind this one out over the course of months, or even years. Regulators will be hauled before committees by Republicans who don't want the bill implemented. Funding will be zeroed out. Legislation reforming the shortcomings that both sides see in the bill, or doubling down on the strengths both sides see in the bill, isn't likely to get very far. There's simply no consensus in favor of implementation, repeal, or revision. And there's certainly no talk of a compromise.

Top Stories

David Herszenhorn and Robert Pear summarize the first day of health-care debate: "As the fight over health care returned to the House floor on Tuesday, the debate could largely be stripped down to four questions that are relatively simple to ask, if not to answer: Will the health care law, approved last year by Democrats with no Republican support, increase or reduce future federal deficits? Will the law lead to the elimination of jobs by overburdened employers as Republicans assert, or will it create jobs as Democrats maintain? Will the law raise or lower the cost of medical care for individuals and families, employers, and state and federal governments? And, will the law achieve President Obama’s goal of providing coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans?"

Most Americans oppose health care reform, but also its repeal, reports Jon Cohen: "Republican claims that the new health-care law will hurt the country's fragile economic recovery and inflate the deficit resonate with the public, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. But few opponents of the law advocate an immediate, wholesale repeal of the legislation...Despite the relative popularity of the detractors' arguments, there is still little consensus among opponents about the right approach to amending the legislation. Those who do not support the law are split about evenly between advocating for its complete repeal (33 percent), a partial repeal (35 percent) and a wait-and-see approach (30 percent). Fully two-thirds of all Republicans say they want the law repealed, at least partly."

Health-care reform and FinReg will be largely exempt from Obama's regulation reforms, reports Jared Favole: "President Barack Obama's government-wide review of federal regulations will have little effect on two of the president's major regulatory victories: an overhaul of Wall Street and the health-care market, according to a White House budget official. The review focuses on old, outdated regulations so new ones written as part of the health-care and financial overhaul likely won't be affected, an official at the White House Office of Management and Budget said. Mr. Obama wants agencies to take a fresh look at old regulations to determine whether they are outdated or unnecessary. 'New regulations will not be priorities for the lookback,' the official said."

Regulators have approved a blueprint for implementing the Volcker rule, reports Neil Irwin: "In a key step in the implementation of the financial reform legislation signed into law last summer, the Treasury Department and bank regulators approved an 81-page study Tuesday of how to implement the 'Volcker Rule,' the provision of the legislation that aims to keep banks that benefit from a federal government backstop from undertaking risky trading and other investment activities. The document calls for "robust" enforcement of the law, first proposed by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker as a step to try to prevent banks from making irresponsible bets that could ultimately necessitate a federal bailout."

Cats and guitars interlude: Best Coast's "Crazy for You".

Got tips, additions, or comments? E-mail me.

Still to come:David Leonhardt says American workers need more power; most Americans oppose health care reform and its repeal; Democrats are still trying to get a bipartisan deal on filibuster reform; the EPA doubts Obama's regulation crackdown will affect it; and the world from the point of view of a flying arrow.


House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says significant cuts are needed for an increase in the debt limit to pass:

Business lobbyists and Republicans support Obama's regulation move, reports Lori Montgomery: "President Obama on Tuesday ordered every federal agency to conduct a systematic review of existing regulations, a concerted effort to banish red tape at a time when the administration is eager to promote economic growth and to repair its fractured relations with the business community...Thomas J. Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the move was a positive first step...He said the review should include the recently enacted health care and financial reform laws...'Today's Executive Order from President Obama shows that he heard the same message I did in the last election - that Americans are sick and tired of Washington's excessive overreach and overspending,' House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said in a statement."

Elizabeth Warren is facing her first Congressional inquiry:

By the way: Elizabeth Warren for Senate?

Inadequate funding is hurting the SEC's enforcement efforts, reports Kara Scannell: "US regulators have postponed investigative trips and abandoned examinations of money managers who are more than a day’s travel away to cope with a restricted budget, say officials at the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC has tightened its purse strings and redirected staff to take on new assignments. Funding constraints have led enforcement lawyers to ask potential defendants to travel to the agency’s offices for interviews. When the defense has objected, the SEC has resorted to taking testimony over the phone or postponed the deposition. The SEC’s actions come as it prepares for a fight on Capitol Hill, with House Republican lawmakers threatening to cut the agency’s budget."

The US can learn from Chinese industrial policy, writes Steven Pearlstein: "With its state-controlled economy, China can force its companies to act collaboratively to achieve the country's strategic economic objectives. And that gives it a tremendous advantage in negotiating the terms of trade with a country like ours, where China can strike deals that may provide short-term profits to one company and its shareholders but in the long run undermine the competitiveness of the other country's economy...Americans are uncomfortable with the idea of industrial policy. But when competing against countries that practice it skillfully and aggressively, we may have no choice but to respond in kind - if for no other reason than as a way to negotiate a more level playing field for American firms and American workers."

Obama's new regulatory policy is more of a shift in tone than substance, writes David Wessel:

A lack of worker power is keeping unemployment high, writes David Leonhardt: "This jobless recovery, after all, is the third straight recovery since 1991 to begin with months and months of little job growth. Why? One obvious possibility is the balance of power between employers and employees. Relative to the situation in most other countries -- or in this country for most of the last century -- American employers operate with few restraints. Unions have withered, at least in the private sector, and courts have grown friendlier to business. Many companies can now come much closer to setting the terms of their relationship with employees, letting them go when they become a drag on profits and relying on remaining workers or temporary ones when business picks up."

Point-of-view interlude: The world as seen through a moving arrow.

Health Care

This is the single best article you'll read on the legal fight over the individual mandate:

My comparison of a world with the health-care law and a world where the law is repealed: "The choice Congress is debating today is not between the vision of progress in the Affordable Care Act and some other vision for how we move forward. It's the progress in the ACA or the status quo. And when you compare those two, there's no contest: Under the ACA, coverage is more universal, deficits are lower, cost control experiments are more numerous, and the insurance market is more competitive and humane than under the status quo."

The House debate has stayed collegial:

Jared Loughner's murders reflect a failure of the mental health system, writes Steve Luxenberg: "The mental health system performed much as we have designed it over the past 40 years, ever since the courts and state legislatures adopted 'a danger to themselves or others' as the standard for taking action against those showing signs of a mental illness that might lead to violence...The overriding question in the reports was a legalistic one: Had he violated the school's code of conduct? If school officials wrestled with whether and how to refer him for a psychiatric evaluation, there's no evidence of that in the records released thus far. The mental health system can't fail someone it never sees."

Health care lobbyists are staying quiet on health care reform repeal

Domestic Policy

Bipartisan negotiations on the filibuster are still ongoing, reports Scott Wong: "Democratic and Republican leaders have been working through the January recess on a non-binding compromise to improve the way the Senate does business. And New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, who heads policy and messaging for Democrats, said he’s continued to hold talks with Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, the No. 3 Republican in the Senate...But if both parties fail to reach a deal before senators return to Washington next Tuesday, the chamber likely will take up a rules reform package offered by Harkin and fellow Democratic Sens. Tom Udall of New Mexico and Jeff Merkley of Oregon. Even in the middle of the two-week recess, the trio of Democrats was on a conference call with reporters trying to build support for their plan."

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy's gun control bill will limit magazine sizes, reports Jennifer Steinhauer: "Seizing on the shooting in Arizona that killed six and critically injured Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Representative Carolyn McCarthy of New York, a long-time gun control advocate, said Tuesday she would introduce a bill next week that would ban high-capacity ammunition magazines. The bill would be carried in the Senate by Senator Frank Lautenberg. The bill would limit such magazines to 10-round-maximums and close a loophole in the expired assault weapon ban, in which magazines manufactured before the law went into effect could still be sold or transferred."

Reversing Citizens United requires a constitutional amendment abolishing corporate personhood, writes Katrina vanden Heuvel:

Aging on federal courts is causing problems, writes Joseph Goldstein: "Today, aging and dementia are the flip side of life tenure, with more and more judges staying on the bench into extreme old age. About 12 percent of the nation's 1,200 sitting federal district and circuit judges are 80 years or older, according to a 2010 survey conducted by ProPublica. Eleven federal judges over the age of 90 are hearing cases--compared with four just 20 years ago. (One judge, a Kansan appointed by President John F. Kennedy, is over 100.) The share of octogenarians and nonagenarians on the federal bench has doubled in the past 20 years... Sometimes, when judges stay on the bench longer than they should, no one questions their fitness. And most courts have no systemic way to deal with judges with age-related cognitive problems."

Stock phrase supercut interlude: Movies featuring the line, "Now, if you'll excuse me."


The EPA doubts Obama's new regulatory policy will affect it, reports Andrew Restuccia: "The Environmental Protection Agency is 'confident' it will not have to alter current or pending environmental regulations, including upcoming climate rules, as part of the new regulatory review framework President Obama outlined Tuesday. 'EPA is confident that our recent and upcoming steps to address GHG emissions under the Clean Air Act, comfortably pass muster under the sensible standards the President has laid out,' an EPA official told The Hill in a statement Tuesday. The official said this includes EPA’s current rules, including tighter fuel economy standards, as well as upcoming greenhouse gas standards for power plants and refineries."

A California light bulb program is showing lackluster energy savings results, reports Rebecca Smith: "California's utilities are spending $548 million over seven years to subsidize consumer purchases of compact fluorescent lamps. But the benefits are turning out to be less than expected. One reason is that bulbs have gotten so cheap that Californians buy more than they need and sock them away for future use. Another reason is that the bulbs are burning out faster than expected. California's experience is notable because energy experts have placed high hopes on compact fluorescent lamps. Often spiral-shaped, they screw into existing light sockets and offer energy savings of about 75% over traditional incandescent light bulbs."

Pricing carbon is more important than creating "green jobs", writes Ryan Avent:

Green energy can't fuel job growth, writes Edward Glaeser: "America has had many high-tech breakthroughs over the last half-century, but those innovations rarely provided abundant employment for the less educated workers who need jobs most. The Devens closing reminds us that even when ideas are 'made in America,' production is almost always cheaper in China. Failed public investments, like the money spent in Devens, reflect the fact that public officials are rarely skilled venture capitalists and that governments pursue many objectives that lead them away from solid investments. It’s easy to see why any governor would be excited about a green-energy manufacturing plant in a less prosperous area of his or her state. But the same forces that made Devens political catnip meant that it was unlikely to be a long-term success."

Closing credits: Wonkbook is compiled and produced with help from Dylan Matthews, Mike Shepard, and Michelle Williams. Photo credit: White House.

By Ezra Klein  | January 19, 2011; 6:35 AM ET
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Next: Health-care Rashomon


Reversing Citizen's United does NOT require an amendment.

Obama could simply appoint several new Justices to the Supreme Court. It's within his power to do so. This would be easier than trying to get a new amendment enacted.

Also, the Justices who voted for this Democracy-destroying decision could be impeached and removed from office. Once again, this is easier than enacting an amendment.

Yet, all these options are probably impossible given the GOP's control of the House and Obama's refusal to act boldly.

Another option would be to dig up some dirt on the Justices in question and have a federal court prosecute them for some crime. Of course, I don't know if such crimes were committed (though I think their votes on Citizen's United is an impeachable offense).

Posted by: lauren2010 | January 19, 2011 7:35 AM | Report abuse

"Obama could simply appoint several new Justices..."

"Another option would be to dig up some dirt on the Justices in question and have a federal court prosecute..."

Brilliant. Another option, equally practical, would be to shine the Bat Signal and have the Caped Crusader deal with the problem. Or cast a magical spell to reverse every opinion Roberts et al have ever written.

Posted by: shocked-n-saddened | January 19, 2011 7:55 AM | Report abuse

As usual the "State Run Media" just doesn't get it. When the elections of 2012 are done and the "tea party" has huge gains (again), they still won't get it. They are obsolete! The American people don't want Obamacare. They wanted "hope and change". They wanted the first "black" African American President. They wanted a President that was proud to be an American. That is not what they got.

Posted by: jisom | January 19, 2011 8:03 AM | Report abuse


while I agree that Citizens United sets a bad precedent are you really suggesting that their judgements are an impeachable offense? REALLY? HELLO NONSENSICAL.

Also why not just plant some sort of drugs or something on them if you're going to go all the way and try to "dig up dirt" on them. Why stop at nonsensical when you're so close to crazy.

Not mentioned here I rather enjoyed the banter last night on Hardball with a Rep from Georgia (don't know his name) and Rep. Andrews from NJ a strong single payer supporter. Seems that Rep. Andrews needs to take a lesson on what HIPAA was and did. Note to Rep. Andrews: If you have existing coverage or have had no more than a 62 day lapse in coverage NO INSURANCE COMPANY can cancel your coverage. It is guaranteed renewable. Now he could have tried to make the argument (and would be right) that its unaffordable for some and because of that we need to address the cost but that's not what he did or said.

At the beginning of the above video a Democrat (i suppose) put up a picture of a cute kid that said his father could afford to change his jobs because he was afraid about pre-existing conditions. HELLO! HIPAA protects him. If he had existing coverage or had less than a 62 day lapse in coverage then his new employer's plan could not subject him to pre-existing conditions. The fact that almost no one understands the law is just amazing and the fact that Democratic legislators don't get it is beyond amazing.

Posted by: visionbrkr | January 19, 2011 8:41 AM | Report abuse

--*Jared Loughner's murders reflect a failure of the mental health system*--

When are you going to apologize for smearing Palin, Angle, Bachmann, Kelly, and others with complicity, Klein? Have you no shame?

Posted by: msoja | January 19, 2011 8:53 AM | Report abuse

So how do Pearlstein and Glaeser jibe with one another?

Posted by: Klug | January 19, 2011 9:09 AM | Report abuse


You probably know of these but just in case.

You say "The repeal law will likely pass, only to die in the Senate."

Not necessarily.

RULE 14.

Any Senator can invoke Rule 14 to object to the reading of HR 2 ( the repeal bill ).

This would block it from being sent to committee. Where of course it will die.

This would allow the Senate Majority Leader to commence debate on the matter when he so chooses.
Which of course harry Reid would never do.

However, then you throw in ...

RULE 22. ( The filibuster rule )

If any Senator can gather 16 signatures on a cloture petition, then they could file that petition with the clerk of the Senate.

This would commence a proceeding that would end with a vote requiring 60 votes to shut off debate on a motion to proceed within two days of the filing of the petition.


What do these two steps do?

Rule 14 stops it from going to committee.
Rule 22 allows the Senators to bypass the majority leader and cause a filibuster vote.

Once Rule 22 is invoked, Senators such as Manchin who ran stating he would repeal ACA, and is up for re-election again in 2012 would be forced to man-up or show they lied.

Since the Republicans are potentially able to gain 4 votes from the 11 running in Bush/McCain states as well as put all the others in a pretty tight spot ...

The Democrats would have to filibuster.
Which considering all the articles you wrote on filibuster would ...
make them look awfully hypocritical awfully quickly.

Basically ...
Invoking Rule 14 followed by Rule 22 would force the Democrats to choose.

ACA or Filibuster reform.

Posted by: chromenhawk | January 19, 2011 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Rep. Andrews is so outside his realm of understanding that last year because of what he thought was help he was giving to a constituent against an "evil insurance company" he actually CAUSED this individual to be subject to a pre-existing condition.

Here's the story:

I'm in the process of now untangling a mess that happened because a client's former employee contacted Rep Andrews' office about the ARRA subsidy and on account of Rep Andrews' actions they are now likely making her subject to pre-ex because Rep Andrews' office requested (and Aetna complied because they're deathly afraid of politicians, especially ones like Andrews) that her COBRA subsidy date be changed from March 1st until August 1st 2009 because she didn't receive the info in a timely manner from the insurer relating to the subsidy and the reason behind that was that the regulations took so long to come down and were changed ad nauseum by the state. This lapse from March to August is going to subject her to pre-ex because its more than a 62 day lapse in coverage as per HIPAA law.

Thanks for all your help Rep Andrews!!

Posted by: visionbrkr | January 19, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

*Raises eyebrows*

lauren2010 needs to learn some constitutional law.
And I think Ezra would prefer NOT to have that help.

point by point

Reversing Citizen's United does NOT require an amendment.

*Depends upon how it is worded. It is possible.
i.e. Death penalty was ruled unconstitutional but specific steps and reasons made it pass the muster.

Obama could simply appoint several new Justices to the Supreme Court. It's within his power to do so. This would be easier than trying to get a new amendment enacted.

* NO it is NOT!!!!
First Congress must increase the size of the US Supreme Court.
The President doesn't get to willy-nilly go "Oh I need some more friends there.
If they could, Bush II would have added two and had Roe v. Wade overturned!!!
Furthermore, the most embarrassing setback for FDR was he tried to pack the court and his DEMOCRATIC congress said "Whoa! No way!"
OMG --- the rest of the diatribe is not as bad as this.
Total lack of knowledge of American government and history!

Also, the Justices who voted for this Democracy-destroying decision could be impeached and removed from office. Once again, this is easier than enacting an amendment.

* Yes easier BUT ... not only would it set a bad precedent, causing USSC Justices to be impeached every few years because the current congress does not like them ...
In an impeachment ... Congress impeaches, the Senate convicts.

Congress ... impeaches ... uhm. No. The REPUBLICAN Congress will not.
So the Senate does not get a say.

Yet, all these options are probably impossible given the GOP's control of the House and Obama's refusal to act boldly.

* First part true. Second part false.
Obama HAS NO SAY!!!
Hell, most people do not realize.
The President has no say in an AMENDMENT!
He doesn't even get a veto.
( because with 67% voting to amend the constitution ... the veto is already over-ridden ...AND nowhere in article V does it give the President a role in the Amendment process.

Another option would be to dig up some dirt on the Justices in question and have a federal court prosecute them for some crime. Of course, I don't know if such crimes were committed (though I think their votes on Citizen's United is an impeachable offense).

* As someone said ... why not just plant some pot on them.
Hey I know, let's dig up some dirt on ALL the Senators and Congressmen!!!
Then we could get a court to prosecute them.
Oh better yet!!!!
As soon as that Federal Court tries to prosecute them?
Let's dig up dirt on the federal prosecutors. And the judges prosecuting them.
Hey ...why don't we just do what the Romans ...naw ...we don't need another dialog on words have consequences.

Sheesh ... I don't mind Ezra's partisanship THAT much considering he is edumacated but THIS
( still chuckling over a President can just appoint more Justices cause they *feel* like it ...)

Posted by: chromenhawk | January 19, 2011 10:00 AM | Report abuse

"The overriding question in the reports was a legalistic one: Had he violated the school's code of conduct? If school officials wrestled with whether and how to refer him for a psychiatric evaluation, there's no evidence of that in the records released thus far."

Incorrect, the school kicked him out and advised both he and his parents that he could not return without a clean examination by a mental health professional.

At almost every twist and turn of life we now blame schools for not doing the parents' jobs. His parents are chiefly to blame in this, for not taking the necesaary action. This is no different that cases where there are guns in houses with easy access for children, and a tragedy occurs.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | January 19, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Please show text from constitution that dictates how the size of the court can be increased.

My comment was based on an NPR discussion I heard about how FDR believed he had authority to increase the size of the court, but that internal party dissension (not congressional action) made him rethink the wisdom of such a move.

And yes, impeachment is possible option (more possible than ezra's mention of amendment) though not likely. As I said earlier.

Lastly, politics has a possible role: I.e. Find a criminal act and prosecute it, then use that to whip up public support to impeach or force resignation. Again, an unlikely scenario.

Just pointing out that other options exist.

Posted by: lauren2010 | January 19, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse

The post about the judges brings out once again what I have been saying, although in a different venue. There are too many old people running the country, the oldest group in our nation's history.

The 111th Congress had the oldest Senate on record (until they started dying off) House records are harder to come by. Now our judiciary is the oldest on record too. People in their late 70's and 80's are not in position to make sound judgements about the nation's future, not only because of mental acuity, but usually because they harken back to a world that no longer exists.

Ben Franklin was about 70 years old in 1776, by far the oldest of our nation's Founding Fathers. In the Senate today, they would call him "kid" his age ranking him no higher than 20th. George Washington was 44 in 1776 and 67 when he died. Despite having fought the Revolution, presided over the creation of the Constitution and having been the first president, he manged to do all of this by an age that would him no higher than 36th in the Senate. That would also make him slightly older than the average age of the Supreme Court, but younger than the average age of the Federal Judiciary as a whole.

I'm not talking about turning things over to Ezra's generation just yet, but cetainly a person should begin to withdraw from public office by 70, and be gone completely by 75 at the absolute latest.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | January 19, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse


Keep chuckling but the last laugh is on you.

I am correct to say Obama can increase the court's size.

All he has to do is nominate someone and if the Senate confirms his nomination, then the deed is done.

The constitution does not specify this process.

Posted by: lauren2010 | January 19, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"A lack of worker power is keeping unemployment high, writes David Leonhardt"

This guy writes on economics? Simply stunning.

David Leonhardt should Google "Depression of 1920", note the rapid recovery in employment and also note the relative power of labor in the 1920s.

David Leonhardt should also note what happened in the mid 1930s after the Wagner Act led to large increases in union membership and higher wages (hint: the Roosevelt Recession).

Posted by: justin84 | January 19, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

On health-care, Cohen's headline is misleading ("More Americans oppose health-care law..."). And your's is blatantly false ("Most Americans oppose health care reform...").

In fact 58% support reform. 45% support the law as is. 13% want more. A recent AP showed 62% wanting to keep the ACA or expand it.

Most Americans do and always have wanted reform and the percentage is rising over time.

Posted by: jtmiller42 | January 19, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

"The fact that almost no one understands the law is just amazing and the fact that Democratic legislators don't get it is beyond amazing."


I'm not amazed at all.

Posted by: justin84 | January 19, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Article III of the US Constitution.

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.

Has been read to say ...
the United States Constitution does not specify the size of the Supreme Court, but Article III authorizes the Congress to fix the number of justices.

Currently Title 28 of the United States Code Section 1 provides for 1 Chief Justice and 8 Associate Justices.

For Obama to appoint a 10th and/or 11th he would first have to invalidate Title 28 of the USC Section 1.

Which he can not invalidate a law by just saying he does not like it.

I suppose he could TRY to just appoint more and say the law is unconstitutional.
But then the USSC would have to rule on it.

And the current conservative majority would rule to put themselves in the minority?

This BTW would happen no matter what. The most likely reason to grow the USSC would be to change the balance.
Whoever had the majority would not like the balance being changed and would say no.

Furthermore, there are some Supreme Court decisions that say that Congress has "ceded" some of their Constitutional powers to the president over lack of action during time.
This can be seen in conflicts between the Dept of the Treasury and Congress' Power of the Purse.

Using that same argument ... the presidents of the past by acknowledging, accepting, and even signing into law the codes such as the one above have ceded the power to establish size to Congress.

Posted by: chromenhawk | January 19, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

--*There are too many old people running the country*--

That's what DeathCare is for.

Posted by: msoja | January 19, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

"The US can learn from Chinese industrial policy, writes Steven Pearlstein"

GDP per capita in China is about 15% of American GDP per capita, after adjusting for cheaper prices in China. China is roughly at where America was back in 1929 in terms of wealth creation per person.

And that's the economy America should be learning from?

If China was as successful at creating wealth on a per capita basis as America is, the Chinese economy would be larger than the US, EU, Japan, Russia, India and Brazil COMBINED.

Posted by: justin84 | January 19, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse


its like the town hall I attended here in NJ where the buffoon known as Frank Pallone attended and spoke and had the audacity to say that in his own state where he's been a legislator for over 30 years an insurance company could receive a health insurance application from someone and then based upon the health questions answered could increase the rate for that person. Uh, Hello Rep Pallone. NJ has modified community rating since 1994 which states that the rates set forth will and DO hold for any and all comers. For God sakes the rates are posted on the NJ DOBI website and he talked smugly about it like he was the only one who knew what he was talking about and that everyone else was wrong when it was him that was wrong. And he was one of the CREATORS of PPACA.

Just disgusting. They should make all these jokers take regular tests for all the world to see to show that they have a clue as to what they're talking about becuase most of them don't.

Posted by: visionbrkr | January 19, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Pearlstein extolling the virtues of a Chinese (Reid accurately if not diplomatically described China's president as a dictator) style industrial policy for the U.S. is pretty amusing if you remember back years ago when all the pundits were saying that America was finshed and Japanese style industrial policy was the wave of the future. Look how that worked out. The fact is the U.S. system of capatilism and "relatively" light governmental regualatory burden has served us well through out the years and our system's flexibility has always won out over other countries who think the government knows best when it comes to running an economy. Of course under Obama the "relatively" light regualatory burden has become a lot heavier.

Posted by: RobT1 | January 19, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse


As disturbing as that story is - and it is horrifying - I'm still not amazed. It's what I've come to expect.

Posted by: justin84 | January 19, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse


Tks for the citations. Hadn't realized the Senate ceded their authority on this.

I guess I was wrong on this one, though there are indeed constitutionality issues with that law.

Posted by: lauren2010 | January 19, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse


Yea well,
I understand WHY the concept of ceding constitutional power is important.
It allows for a consistent, coherent, predictable government.

Yet somewhere inside me a voice screams "But if you have been wrong for 50 years -- that doesn't make you right. It only makes you wrong for a long time!"

Also the concept strikes me as silly in that I could waive my 5th amendment rights for my whole life ... does that mean at 60 I no longer have the power to invoke it due to *ceding* it?

And what about finding "new" rights? Did the people cede them due to lack of usage?

Personally, I think the concept of ceding constitutional authority is a concept the courts use to say "Yep. It is wrong. But we want to duck this issue because the remedy will be a bear to figure out."

On the issue of "Citizens' United" you can stop and think of something I say all the time ... rarely is a decision activist.
It is the remedy that is activist.

Saying that the partial birth ban is unconstitutional because it allows no possible path for the ( albeit rare ) times it is the ONLY way to save the life of the mother -- is a valid decision.

Throwing the whole bill out is instead of sending it back to the legislature for them to add a specific process that would be timely enough while ensuring it IS the ONLY way to save the mother's life ( etc etc ) is an activist remedy.

Another example of this for you could be ... you could understand ( though disagree ) with a ruling that the mandate is unconstitutional. Thus not activist.

But throwing JUST the mandate out is a different remedy than throwing the whole bill out. The whole bill invalidated could be called activist.

Decisions are rarely activist -- remedies often are.

Posted by: chromenhawk | January 19, 2011 5:56 PM | Report abuse

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