I Would Award This Year's Nobel Prize in Economics to Ben Bernanke and Mark Gertler...
Risk Adjustment Mechanisms in Market-Based Health Reform

links for 2009-10-07

  • all it the the stimulus that dare not be named. Bloomberg reports that the Obama administration is considering "a mix of spending programs and tax cuts to respond to widening job losses that would amount to an additional economic stimulus without carrying that label." On the table: A boost in transportation spending, extension of unemployment benefits, and a continuation of the first-time homebuyer tax credit. The New York Times adds in a possible $3,000 tax credit to businesses for new hires, and a proposal to "allow more businesses to deduct their net operating losses going back five years instead of the usual two." An extension of unemployment benefits and other safety net provisions seems assured, though everything on the table will obviously require that the government borrow even more money than it already is doing.
  • Before ending his opening 15-minute presentation, Weiner made a pre-emptive strike against his opponent, dutifully listing the many independent organizations and news outlets that have judged McCaughey's claims to be false, from Politifact to John McCain adviser Gail Wilensky (some have gone so far as to label her a liar). He prepared the audience for McCaughey's usual modus operandi, which she's employed for the better part of 15 years: present a nonstop flurry of page numbers and out-of-context quotes that are impossible to evaluate in real time. “The theme is whenever there's a discussion about saving money in Medicaid, Medicare, or anything, she says someone's going to die,” he said. “When there’s any discussion about having inefficiency—uh uh, someone's going to die from that, too.”
  • Obama's speeches are online, and reading them, it's tempting to wonder if Will even read the remarks before using them as the basis for a cheap column. The president told the International Olympic Committee, for example, "I've come here today to urge you to choose Chicago for the same reason I chose Chicago nearly 25 years ago -- the reason I fell in love with the city I still call home." It was a springboard for the president to reflect, not on himself, but on his hometown -- the diversity of the city, the "rich tapestry of distinctive neighborhoods," Chicago's history of hosting major events, and its ability to be "a bustling metropolis with the warmth of a small town." Obama referenced the celebration in Chicago on Election Night last year, but he specifically said, "Their interest wasn't about me as an individual." Will specifically noted that the president used the personal pronouns "I" or "me" 26 times in 48 sentences. What Will did not note is that Obama used the word "we" 26
  • The usually interesting Ross Douthat has an unusually terrible column today about the Democrats and income inequality.... Douthat’s thesis is, “In the short run, Barack Obama could preside over an America that’s more economically stagnant and more stratified.”... Douthat begins by noting... "Liberals... have spent decades telling a more simplistic story, in which conservatives bear all the blame for stagnating middle-class wages and skyrocketing upper-class wealth..." This is a strange statement. In fact, liberals have spent decades engaged in a lengthy – some would say tiresome – multisided debate over the causes of rising income inequality. I have read innumerable papers and articles blaming technological change, education, weakening labor power, international trade, changing corporate norms, among other factors. Most analyses pin the blame on multiple factors.,,