Ten Second News

Ben Smith Doesn’t Understand How Insurance Works

In a post over at BuzzFeed that makes me want to pound my head against my desk, Ben Smith proves that highly visible political pundits can write regularly about health insurance from 2009-2013 and yet – remarkably – can somehow still learn almost nothing about health insurance: “Imminent elements of Obama’s grandest policy move, the…

Increased Health Insurance Competition Doesn’t Do What You Think It Does

As a principled pragmatic, I often reject the ‘Right vs. Left’ or ‘Tyranny vs. Freedom’ debates that political parties and moneyed interests frame for us. I find that our best solutions are usually arrived at when we as a country focus and build upon those common-ground areas where we agree.  So you’d think I’d be…

Health is the War of the State

Healthcare is a political football in every Western country to some extent.  In countries with extensive government healthcare the debate is about what the government should pay for, in the US it’s about whether the government should provide broad services at all.  Cost is a constant source of frustration everywhere and despite the significant differences…

Political Trolls: What the GOP Hath Sowed

Scott’s post last week attacking the Republican behavior before, during and after the health care debate generated quite the lively discussion in the comments thread.  Scott and many primarily left-of-center commenters argued that the Republican and conservative leadership need to own up to their responsibility in fomenting death threats because “the very participation of Republican…

Paul Ryan’s Budget

“If Obama’s efforts to create a viable regulatory framework in which individuals can buy private health insurance (a) pass congress, and (b) turn out to work well and be popular, then you can imagine a version of Ryan’s plan being put into place. But in the absence of that kind of reform, I just don’t…

Forget The President, He’s Not That Important (On Domestic Policy)

The interspheres have been aglow with the leaking of a planned spending freeze proposal by the Obama Administration.  A run down of various opinions can be found in Scott’s post. Scott writes: This is politics as usual, painful though it is to level that claim. And though I’m well aware of the danger in making predictions…

In Praise of Jane Hamsher, et al: Redefining the Art of the Possible

Jane Hamsher has been taking a lot of flak in recent days for coming out against the Senate health care reform bill as well as for suggesting that “both the [progressive opponents] and the tea party activists are saying almost the exact same thing about the Senate bill” and that the “painfully obvious left/right transpartisan consensus…

Taxes: Where Political and Constitutional Expediency Collide

I’ve been out of pocket from the political realm for a week and a half, but President Obama’s claim that a health insurance mandate is not a tax strikes me as marginally good politics and absolutely terrible lawyering.  I think Jason Kuznicki (also here) and by extension Will, are absolutely, 100% correct that an individual mandate…

Poverty guidelines and the costs of health care reform

The Census Bureau reported Tuesday that 15.8 percent of Americans lived in poverty last year, using an alternative method to analyze their numbers provided by the National Academy of Sciences.  This is significantly higher than the 13.2 percent official poverty rate the agency released last month. Since a great deal of the estimated cost of health care…

Conflicts of interest

James Joyner points us to this bit of union badness from Mickey Kaus: I knew they’d find a way to punish Ford: The new UAW contract with Ford apparently does not give America’s surviving non-bankrupt automaker parity with GM and Chrysler, reports Bloomberg: “The plan doesn’t include cuts to retiree benefits, such as vision coverage, that were granted to GM…

Bobby Jindal strikes an impressive blow for dishonesty

I’m embarrassed to say that I once had a little bit of respect for Bobby Jindal.  I mean, his retrograde social views notwithstanding, he seemed to be exactly what I was looking for in a Republican: intelligent, articulate and comfortable with public policy.  Granted, I would never vote for him, but it is critically important…

Another (predictable) liberal defense of Rep. Grayson

Justin, a Friend of the Blog, isn’t terribly happy with the language Rep. Grayson (infamously?) used to describe the Republican health care alternative: There is no sense in which the Republicans want people to die.  Nothing even approximately close.  Republicans have their reasons for disagreeing with health care reform, many of which I think are…

That Horse? It Left the Stable Long Ago. We Called Him Seabiscuit

David Rivkin and Lee Casey take to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to claim that any individual insurance mandate would “likely” fail to pass Constitutional muster under even a modern understanding of Constitutional law and the commerce clause.  Whatever my thoughts on the value of an individual mandate, this is a shoddy piece of legal commentary…

The Speech

Well I listened to President Obama’s speech on NPR last night whilst playing with my daughter and Curious George.  Suffice to say, I didn’t catch the entire thing, though what I did catch sounded pretty good.  A few thoughts: CNN says it boosted support for Obamacare.  We’ll see if it lasts.  Speeches, especially those of…

Obama’s Well Nigh Impossible Wed. Night Task

President Obama’s two biggest problems politically are 1. a frankly crazy and irresponsible minority GOP party (with plenty of enablers to be sure) and 2. His own party affiliation. In the immortal words of Will Rogers, President Obama is not a member of any organized political party, he’s a Democrat. If the House Dems are…

Partisanship! It’s good for winning!

Generally, I’m loath to give the Bush administration credit for much of anything, but if there is one thing they got right, it’s in their approach to passing legislation.  President Bush and his advisers realized, correctly, that the partisan make-up of any given vote matters far less than what Beltway insiders normally think.  It doesn’t…

A few meandering thoughts on racial anxiety and Obama’s right-wing opposition

As I’m sure most of you have noticed by now, I write (and think!) a fair amount about racial politics.  Indeed, it goes beyond my blogging – a good chunk of my undergraduate education focused on the intersection of race and politics, and my senior thesis expanded on some ideas I have regarding the nexus…