Archive for the ‘Ezra Klein’ Tag

Quote of the Day   Leave a comment

Ezra Klein “The Republican Party’s play is Fred Upton’s “Keep Your Health Plan Act.” The law is poorly named: It doesn’t actually guarantee that you can keep your health care. Instead, it allows insurers to keep offering their current plans and also allows them to offer new plans that aren’t ACA compliant.

At a slim 235 words, Upton’s bill is a master class in the pitfalls of soundbite legislation. It manages to fail to solve the problem it’s actually aimed at while creating a new political problem — this time, for Republicans.

The bill gives insurers the option of renewing their cancelled plans — but, crucially, it doesn’t require them to do so. Few insurers want to renew those plans, as they don’t expect them to be profitable in a post-Obamacare world. So Upton’s bill doesn’t mean people can keep their current health insurance, but it means they can begin (wrongly) blaming their health insurer rather than the Obama administration for the cancellation of that insurance.

Meanwhile, Upton’s bill has a secondary provision allowing insurers to offer new plans in 2014 that don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections. So if an insurer wants to continue turning people away for being sick, they can go right ahead. If they want to offer shoddy coverage that’ll evaporate the moment a health crisis strikes, that’s their prerogative. The result is that Upton guts the law’s extremely popular insurance regulations. “A vote for the Upton bill, in short, is a vote for everything Americans say they hate about their health-care system,” Jon Cohn writes.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/11/14/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-plans-to-fix-obamacare/

Advertisements

Quote of the Day   Leave a comment

By Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas, Published: October 15 at 8:29 am

According to the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll 74 percent of Americans disapprove of how the Republicans are handling the budget negotiations. That’s three-out-of-four Americans.

Numbers like that shouldn’t happen on highly visible issues in a competitive, two-party system. But when they do happen they can’t go on for very long.

Republicans know they need a way out. In the Senate, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell may have found one. Their deal would fund the government until January 15th and raise the debt ceiling until February 7th.

The deal would also create a bicameral budget committee that will report back by December 13th, and it delays Obamacare’s reinsurance fee (more on that here) and strengthens the law’s income verification procedures.

The thing about these concessions is that none of them is actually a concession — for either party. Democrats have been begging for a budget conference for six months, and in recent weeks, Republicans began begging for one too. The reinsurance fee doesn’t matter much to Obamacare and organized labor has been begging Democrats to get rid of it. The income verification is already in Obamacare, but the Obama administration was lagging on it.

“Democrats won’t say it too loudly just yet, but the emerging budget agreement leaves Republicans with remarkably little to show for forcing the first government shutdown in 17 years,” writes Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown. “They barely nicked Obamacare and their poll numbers are in tank.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/10/15/wonkbook-this-number-is-the-reason-republicans-will-end-the-shutdown/

 

Quote of the Day   Leave a comment

Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas, Published: September 30 at 8:36 am

Here’s how today’s Wonkbook was supposed to start: We’re about 16 hours from open enrollment in Obamacare going live. The law, which has dominated American politics for three years even as it’s been an abstraction to most Americans, is about to become very real.

But here’s how it actually has to start: We’re about 16 hours away from a government shutdown. That’s more than enough time for the House and Senate to both pass a bill averting a shutdown. But the odds of that happening are increasingly remote — and that’s because Obamacare is set to begin in 16 hours.

On Saturday, Speaker Boehner agreed to load the continuing resolution with a one-year delay of Obamacare, a repeal of the medical-device tax, and a “conscience clause” assuring health-care providers they don’t need to offer birth control if they don’t want to. They wrote a bill, in other words, that the Senate can’t accept. His right flank was ecstatic.

“Chants of ‘Vote! Vote! Vote!’ echoed through the room,” report Robert Costa and Jonathan Strong. “Standing in the back, Boehner’s deputies watched the scene and smiled. ‘People went bonkers,’ says Representative Matt Salmon of Arizona. Representative John Culberson of Texas was so enthused that he yelled, ‘Let’s roll!’ after hearing Boehner’s remarks. Culberson later told reporters he was alluding to the cry of United 93 passenger Todd Beamer.”

All this for a bill that House Republicans know the Senate will reject.

So the federal government will probably shut down tonight. And, at about the same moment, Obamacare will go live, as the shutdown does little to impede the law.

There’s a silver lining in this for Obamacare, as well as a real danger.

The Obama administration has been a bit afraid of October 1st. After all, no major product launches without a hitch, and Obama is more major, and facing more politicized scrutiny, than almost any product the federal government has ever launched. The fear was that things would go wrong on October 1st and the press, looking for dramatic stories of Obamacare glitches, would swarm the anecdotes, giving the public the impression that the law was a failure even as most of it was working fine and the bugs were being quickly fixed.

But with a government shutdown and a looming debt-ceiling crisis obsessing the media and the country, the media simply has less bandwidth to cover the rollout of the health-care law. That gives the administration, as well as the states, a bit more breathing room to find and fix bugs in the early days without seeing the law declared a failure.

The downside for the law is that less focus on Obamacare means fewer people hearing that the insurance marketplaces have gone live, and thus fewer people knowing they should go and sign up for coverage. The Obama administration, some of the states, and a consortium of outside actors all have plans to promote the law through paid media in the coming weeks and months, but the launch could’ve earned them a lot of valuable free media.

But all of this speaks to why the Republican Party is so frightened. Until now, Obamacare has been an abstraction. You can repeal an abstraction. Tomorrow, it becomes a reality. And reality is a lot harder to repeal.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/09/30/wonkbook-obamacares-october-surprise/

Quote of the Day   Leave a comment

Ezra Klein, Published: September 21 at 9:56 amE-mail the writer

Larry Summers’s campaign to replace Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke wasn’t doomed by any of the typical doubts about a potential Fed chief. Senate Democrats weren’t worried that Summers was too tolerant of inflation or insufficiently committed to quantitative easing. In fact, they weren’t worried about his opinions on monetary policy at all.

Summers fell because at least five Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee doubted his bona fides as a bank regulator. But even that doesn’t get at the whole truth. Summers really fell because those Senate Democrats — and many other liberals — don’t trust the Obama administration’s entire approach to regulating Wall Street. For all the talk of Summers’s outsized personality and polarizing past, he really lost because he was a stand-in for Obama.

Most clashes between the White House and liberals are disagreements over what’s politically possible rather than what’s optimal policy. On health care, the White House would have liked a public option but couldn’t find the votes. On the stimulus, the White House would have liked a bigger bill but didn’t see a way to pass it through Congress. On taxes, the White House would have liked more revenue but wasn’t willing to go over the fiscal cliff to get it. Liberals often disagree with the tactical compromises the White House makes to pass legislation, but the underlying philosophical divide is narrow.

The conflict over financial regulation is different. There, the White House really does disagree with its liberal base. The Obama administration didn’t oppose breaking up the big banks on tactical grounds. It opposed breaking them up because it thought that was bad policy. The administration would have opposed doing it even if Democrats had 80 votes in the Senate.

“When there was an opportunity to strengthen financial regulation in 2009 and 2010, the administration was less than enthusiastic,” says Simon Johnson, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has been a strong advocate of tougher financial regulations. “They didn’t support the Brown-Kaufman amendment to break up the big banks. Larry Summers isn’t  a fan of the Volcker rule. There was no interest in bringing back Glass-Steagall.”

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/09/21/summers-lost-because-liberals-dont-trust-obama-on-financial-reform/

 

Quote of the Day   Leave a comment

Ezra Klein “Think back to July 2011. The problem was simple. Republicans wouldn’t agree to raise the debt ceiling without trillions of dollars in deficit reduction. Democrats wouldn’t agree to trillions of dollars in deficit reduction if it didn’t include significant tax increases. Republicans wouldn’t agree to significant tax increases. The political system was at an impasse, and in a few short days, that impasse would create a global financial crisis.

The sequester was a punt. The point was to give both sides a face-saving way to raise the debt ceiling even though the tax issue was stopping them from agreeing to a deficit deal. The hope was that sometime between the day the sequester was signed into law (Aug. 2, 2011) and the day it was set to go into effect (Jan. 1, 2013), something would…change.

There were two candidates to drive that change. The first and least likely was the supercommittee. If they came to a deal that both sides accepted, they could replace the sequester. They failed.

The second was the 2012 election. If Republicans won, then that would pretty much settle it: No tax increases. If President Obama won, then that, too, would pretty much settle it: The American people would’ve voted for the guy who wants to cut the deficit by increasing taxes.

The American people voted for the guy who wants to cut the deficit by increasing taxes.

In fact, they went even further than that. They also voted for a Senate that would cut the deficit by increasing taxes. And then they voted for a House that would cut the deficit by increasing taxes, though due to the quirks of congressional districts, they didn’t get one.

Here in DC, we can get a bit buried in Beltway minutia. The ongoing blame game over who concocted the sequester is an excellent example. But it’s worth remembering that the goalposts in American politics aren’t set in backroom deals between politicians. They’re set in elections. And in the 2012 election, the American people were very clear on where they wanted the goalposts moved to.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/23/on-the-sequester-the-american-people-moved-the-goalposts/

Quote of the Day   Leave a comment

Ezra Klein”The truth is, the most important piece of economic policy we pass — or don’t pass — in 2013 may be something we don’t think of as economic policy at all: immigration reform.

Congress certainly doesn’t consider it economic policy, at least not officially. Immigration laws go through the House and Senate judiciary committees. But consider a few facts about immigrants in the American economy: About a 10th of the U.S. population is foreign-born. More than a quarter of U.S. technology and engineering businesses started from 1995 to 2005 had a foreign-born owner. In Silicon Valley, half of all tech startups had a foreign-born founder. One-quarter of all U.S.-based Nobel laureates of the past 50 years were foreign born. Right now, about half of the PhDs working in science and technology are foreign born.

Immigrants begin businesses and file patents at a much higher rate than their native-born counterparts, and while there are disputes about the effect immigrants have on the wages of low-income Americans, there’s little dispute about their effect on wages overall: They lift them.

The economic case for immigration is best made by way of analogy. Everyone agrees that aging economies with low birth rates are in trouble; this, for example, is a thoroughly conventional view of Japan. It’s even conventional wisdom about the U.S. The retirement of the baby boomers is correctly understood as an economic challenge. The ratio of working Americans to retirees will fall from 5 to 1 today to  3 to 1 in 2050. Fewer workers and more retirees is tough on any economy.

There’s nothing controversial about that analysis. But if that’s not controversial, then immigration shouldn’t be, either. Immigration is essentially the importation of new workers. It’s akin to raising the birth rate, only easier, because most of the newcomers are old enough to work. And because living in the U.S. is considered such a blessing that even very skilled, very industrious workers are willing to leave their home countries and come to ours, the U.S. has an unusual amount to gain from immigration. When it comes to the global draft for talent, we almost always get the first-round picks — at least, if we want them, and if we make it relatively easy for them to come here.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/31/worried-about-the-economy-then-pass-immigration-reform/

Posted February 1, 2013 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

Tagged with , , ,

Quote of the Day   Leave a comment

Ezra Klein “When it comes to the debt ceiling, the White House has a credibility problem. Their plan is to simply refuse Republican demands to negotiate over the debt ceiling. But for that plan to work, Republicans need to believe the White House won’t negotiate over the debt ceiling. Otherwise, they’ll refuse to raise the debt limit, assuming that as we get closer to actually breaching the ceiling, the White House will be forced to the table.

At the moment, Republicans don’t believe the White House. Nor does the media. Or, really, anyone. This White House is seen as almost congenitally unable to resist negotiations. At today’s news conference, Bloomberg’s Julianna Goldman put the question directly to President Obama:

‘I just want to come back to the debt ceiling, because in the summer of 2011, you said that you wouldn’t negotiate on the debt ceiling, and you did. Last year, you said that you wouldn’t extend any of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, and you did. So as you say now that you’re not going to negotiate on the debt ceiling this year, why should House Republicans take that seriously and think that if we get to the one-minute-to-midnight scenario that you’re not going to back down?'”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/14/on-the-debt-ceiling-the-white-house-has-a-credibility-problem/