Paul Krugman

Obama’s Financial Reform Just Made The World A Little Bit Safer For The Other 99%

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This is one of those stories that no one is paying attention to because it’s kind of wonky and complicated. But here’s the For Dummies version for people like you and me.

One of the weird things that happened after the deregulation of the financial industry in the 90s is that corporations that had nothing to do with banking saw a way to get filthy rich by pretending to be a bank but not have to follow any of the same laws that banks do. The result? They played a significant role in the Crash of 2008 and needed to be bailed out.

Via Paul Krugman:

GE Capital was a quintessential example of the rise of shadow banking. In most important respects it acted like a bank; it created systemic risks very much like a bank; but it was effectively unregulated, and had to be bailed out through ad hoc arrangements that understandably had many people furious about putting taxpayers on the hook for private irresponsibility.

One of the things Dodd-Frank did was force companies like GE to play by the same rules as banks and SURPRISE! GE wants no part of it. It’s no fun to play if you have to play fair. So now GE is dropping its “shadow banking” division and the financial industry just got a bit safer.

Exactly what Obama’s financial reform promised to do. But SHHHHHH! Don’t tell anyone!

The funny part about this is that Republicans swore on a stack on Bibles that Dodd-Frank would make banks and faux-financial institutions like GE act even MORE recklessly since they were legally designated as SIFI or “systematically important financial institutions” (translation: Too Big To Fail). Republicans “reasoned” that these companies would rely on the government to bail them out again.

Of course, Republicans were full of it because they knew that Dodd-Frank would impose severe restrictions on “Too Big To Fail” banks and companies. These restrictions would force them to keep enough money on hand to make bailouts unnecessary. Essentially, Dodd-Frank told the SIFIs that they could gamble all they want but they had to be able to pay their gambling debts in full if they crapped out. If there is one thing the rich hate more than poor people, it’s gambling with their own money. Republicans get really sad when the 1% can’t have their cake and eat it, too. And your cake. And his. And hers. And that guy over there’s cake, as well.

Dodd-Frank may not be perfect, but it’s making the world just a little bit safer from the greed and depredations of the rich. And any day that the rich lose a bit of their ability to destroy lives is a good day in my book.

By Left Wing Nation

Paul Krugman: Europe Is About To Plunge Back Into Right Wing Fascism

Krugman giving a lecture at the German National Library in Frankfurt in 2008.

Paul Krugman is no left-wing hack trying to get attention.  American economists should take heed to what he has to say…

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Paul Krugman has a warning for Europe: Continuing to wage economic war on yourself in the form of austerity will have ugly and violent consequences. Not that they’re listening — austerity is far too popular with the Very Serious People for them to abandon it. But Krugman has this incredibly annoying (if you’re a conservative) habit of pointing out how the Very Serious People that love the idea of austerity keep cherry picking history:

Try to talk about the policies we need in a depressed world economy, and someone is sure to counter with the specter of Weimar, Germany, supposedly an object lesson in the dangers of budget deficits and monetary expansion. But the history of Germany after World War I is almost always cited in a curiously selective way. We hear endlessly about the hyperinflation of 1923, when people carted around wheelbarrows full of cash, but we never hear about the much more relevant deflation of the early 1930s, as the government of Chancellor Brüning — having learned the wrong lessons — tried to defend Germany’s peg to gold with tight money and harsh austerity.

And what about what happened before the hyperinflation, when the victorious Allies tried to force Germany to pay huge reparations? That’s also a tale with a lot of modern relevance, because it has a direct bearing on the crisis now brewing over Greece.

After World War I, Germany was economically crushed by the British and the French. They wanted Germany to pay them back for the cost of the war and Germany was powerless to resist. The burden of all that debt forced Germany to enact brutal austerity measures and that, predictably, resulted in a massive and prolonged depression. The resentment and desperation this caused led directly to the rise of the Nazi Party and we all know what came next.

And yet, here we are, a little less than a century later and the European Union is imposing crushing austerity on Greece and several other countries (but Greece got it the worst). This, again predictably, has led to massive recession and/or depressions. But the European Union refuses to let up:

Despite this catastrophe, Greece is making payments to its creditors, running a primary surplus — an excess of revenue over spending other than interest — of around 1.5 percent of G.D.P. And the new Greek government is willing to keep running that surplus. What it is not willing to do is meet creditor demands that it triple the surplus, and keep running huge surpluses for many years to come.

What would happen if Greece were to try to generate those huge surpluses? It would have to further slash government spending — but that wouldn’t be the end of the story. Spending cuts have already driven Greece into a deep depression, and further cuts would make that depression deeper. Falling incomes would, however, mean falling tax receipts, so that the deficit would decline by much less than the initial reduction in spending — probably less than half as much. To meet its target, then, Greece would have to do another round of cuts, and then another.

So, despite austerity’s dismal track record, we’re left with Greece and several other countries suffering through depressions and recessions and crippled economies. And what do we see happening? Right wing extremism is on the rise again because when people are angry, they turn to the person that tells them who to blame — usually immigrants, homosexuals and Jews. For a current example, see Russia.

In the case of Greece, we dodged a bullet as they just elected a left wing government to end austerity instead of a right wing one interested in promoting racism, hatred and violence. But Krugman warns that the EU needs to change its approach or they’ll be courting disaster:

In any case, European creditors should realize that flexibility — giving Greece a chance to recover — is in their own interests. They may not like the new leftist government, but it’s a duly elected government whose leaders are, from everything I’ve heard, sincerely committed to democratic ideals. Europe could do a lot worse — and if the creditors are vengeful, it will.

Will the Nazi Party rise again and start a another World War? Not bloody likely. But that doesn’t mean right wing extremists won’t take control and cause untold misery if the European Union blindly demands more austerity. In other words: Those who refuse to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.


Paul Krugman: California proves the GOP's "extremist ideology ... is nonsense"

Paul Krugman | (Credit: Reuters/Chip East)


The New York Times columnist explains how California’s success puts conservative dogma to shame

In his latest column for the New York Times, award-winning economist and best-selling author Paul Krugman argues that California’s recent success — and Kansas’ ongoing failure — is yet more proof that conservative anti-tax dogma “is nonsense.”

After citing Justice Brandeis’ famous claim that America’s states are laboratories for democracy, Krugman turns to compare and contrast California and Kansas, noting that while the former state has seen economic growth and a successful implementation of Obamacare, the latter has had a stagnant economy and a ballooning deficit.

Not incidentally, these states decided to take opposite approaches to economic policy, with California embracing “a modestly liberal agenda of higher taxes, spending increases and a rise in the minimum wage” while Kansas “went all-in on supply-side economics, slashing taxes on the affluent” only to see paltry growth and a darkening fiscal picture.

“If tax increases are causing a major flight of jobs from California, you can’t see it in the job numbers,” Krugman writes. “Employment is up 3.6 percent in the past 18 months, compared with a national average of 2.8 percent; at this point, California’s share of national employment, which was hit hard by the bursting of the state’s enormous housing bubble, is back to pre-recession levels.”

Does Krugman expect the California example to change conservatives’ minds? Hardly. “Has there been any soul-searching among the prophets of California doom, asking why they were so wrong?” he asks. “Not that I’m aware of. Instead, I’ve been seeing many attempts to devalue the good news from California by pointing out that the state’s job growth still lags that of Texas, which is true, and claiming that this difference is driven by differential tax rates, which isn’t.”

Krugman then explains why Texas and California diverge — and how it’s not for the reasons right-wingers think:

For the big difference between the two states, aside from the size of the oil and gas sector, isn’t tax rates. it’s housing prices. Despite the bursting of the bubble, home values in California are still double the national average, while in Texas they’re 30 percent below that average. So a lot more people are moving to Texas even though wages and productivity are lower than they are in California.

And while some of this difference in housing prices reflects geography and population density — Houston is still spreading out, while Los Angeles, hemmed in by mountains, has reached its natural limits — it also reflects California’s highly restrictive land-use policies, mostly imposed by local governments rather than the state. As Harvard’s Edward Glaeser has pointed out, there is some truth to the claim that states like Texas are growing fast thanks to their anti-regulation attitude, “but the usual argument focuses on the wrong regulations.” And taxes aren’t important at all.

Diagnosing Paul Ryan’s psychopathy: Arrogant, manipulative, deceitful, remorseless

Diagnosing Paul Ryan's psychopathy: Arrogant, manipulative, deceitful, remorseless

Paul Ryan (Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin)


Paul Krugman revealed Ryan’s big con years ago. It’s gotten worse. Why does anyone take him seriously on policy?

If the GOP as a whole has pretty much given up on the whole “rebranding” thing, their 2012 vice presidential nominee, Congressman Paul Ryan, most definitely has not. In fact, rebranding is pretty much his thing, regardless of how credible — or incredible, actually — his efforts may be.

For years, Ryan touted himself as an avid Ayn Rand disciple, until he didn’t in early 2012, even calling it “an urban legend” that he had anything serious to do with Rand at all. He then tried to present the latest iteration of his draconian soak-the-poor/shower the rich budget proposal as grounded in Catholic social teaching, rather than Rand’s fiercely anti-Christian philosophy, a claim that the conservative U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops soundly rejected, writing that his proposed budget failed to meet certain “moral criteria” by disproportionately cutting programs that “serve poor and vulnerable people.”

Now, seeking to put all memory of the “47 percent” campaign behind him, Ryan’s trying to take that reinvention to a whole new level. He’s still touting a budget that dramatically slashes spending on programs that benefit Americans of limited means — 69 percent of all cuts — including $137 billion from food stamps, 24 percent or $732 billion from Medicaid, and $125 billion from Pell Grants, among others — while giving millionaires an average tax cut of at least $200,000. Yet, at the same time, Ryan is trying to reinvent himself as someone who’s serious about fighting poverty, only from a conservative perspective.

Setting the massive contradictions aside for the moment, it’s not an absurd idea in theory. The modern European welfare state was actually invented by conservatives, beginning in Germany, under the first post-unification chancellor, Otto von Bismarck. But this happened in the face of a powerful socialist movement, amidst tremendous dislocations, as well as international pressures that gave German elites powerful reasons to want to make life in Germany much more tolerable for the German people as a whole. In short, when the real-world political incentives are there, history shows that conservatives really can find effective ways to help fight poverty. The only problem is, the solutions they come up are the very thing that cause conservatives today, like Ryan and his Tea Party brethren, to foam at the mouth, and call “socialism!”

And so he came up with his 204-page report, The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later, a con job, as Paul Krugman called it, but that was hardly a surprise. Con jobs are a Ryan’s specialty, More on that later.

What was a surprise, at least to some, was the utter clumsiness of how Ryan’s new focus on poverty got him into trouble on race. He went onto Bill Bennett’s radio show and channelled Newt Gingrich from the 2012 primaries:

We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.

Ryan also cited Charles Murray, white nationalist author of “The Bell Curve.” While many people took him to be speaking in racial code, it was arguably even worse if he was not, as Brian Beutler pointed out:

But if Ryan genuinely stumbled heedless into a racial tinderbox then it suggests he, and most likely many other conservatives, has fully internalized a framing of social politics that wasdeliberately crafted to appeal to white racists without regressing to the uncouth language of explicit racism, and written its origins out of the history.

Of course, something like this has actually happened repeatedly throughout the history of white supremacy in America: True origins are constantly being erased, nefarious intentions hidden, unspeakable injustices naturalized. But what I find fascinating about Ryan is how self-assuredly he switches from all-knowing to naif, without for a moment even thinking this might tarnish his moral authority in any way. He later said his comments had “nothing to do” with race, and the next day issued a statement saying, “After reading the transcript of yesterday morning’s interview, it is clear that I was inarticulate about the point I was trying to make.” There was no sense of moral responsibility at all, no sense that he owed anyone an apology. (This is all quite typical of a psychopathic personality — as will be touched on below.) But he did have to do something, from a political point of view.

And so he met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus this Wednesday, in order to try to pretend to have a dialogue on poverty. It was not very much of a success. “We didn’t get a whole lot accomplished,” CBC chair Marcia Fudge said to the press afterward, but Ryan found it easy to pretend otherwise. “What is good out of this is that we need to talk about better ideas on getting at the root cause of poverty, to try and break the cycle of poverty.” Ryan also spoke about the need to “improve the tone” in the conversation about poverty — something that he himself might have thought about earlier, no?

Continue reading here…

Paul Krugman slams Wall Street for “undermining our economy and our society”

Paul Krugman slams Wall Street for "undermining our economy and our society"

Paul Krugman (Credit: AP/Lai Seng Sin)

I know this is the second consecutive Salon article, but economist, Paul Krugman has something to say and I wanted to share it…


The New York Times columnist argues that America’s large financial sector has done more harm than good

In his latest column for the New York Times, best-selling author and award-winning economist Paul Krugman argues that the financial sector of the American economy is not only outsized but that it’s hurting the economy and making Americans’ lives worse.

Citing journalist Michael Lewis’ new book on high-frequency trading — which opens with a story about an expensive tunnel being drilled for fiber-optic cable to cut down the communication time between Chicago’s futures markets and the stock market in NYC by three milliseconds — Krugman argues that American public policy has become overly influenced by high finance, with inequality and economic instability as a result. “[American] society,” Krugman writes, “is devoting an ever-growing share of its resources to financial wheeling and dealing, while getting little or nothing in return.”

After claiming that the large financial sector in the U.S. doesn’t increase overall prosperity and doesn’t promote economic stability, Krugman writes that its primary function seems to be to prey off of less powerful economic actors. “[Wall Street’s] playing small investors for suckers,” Krugman says, “causing them to waste huge sums in a vain effort to beat the market.” The result, Krugman posits, is a select few Wall Street players making a lot of private profits while contributing little to the overall public.

Krugman continues:

In short, we’re giving huge sums to the financial industry while receiving little or nothing — maybe less than nothing — in return. [NYU Professor Thomas] Philippon puts the waste at 2 percent of G.D.P. Yet even that figure, I’d argue, understates the true cost of our bloated financial industry. For there is a clear correlation between the rise of modern finance and America’s return to Gilded Age levels of inequality.

So never mind the debate about exactly how much damage high-frequency trading does. It’s the whole financial industry, not just that piece, that’s undermining our economy and our society.


Paul Krugman bashes Paul Ryan for yet another “con job”

Paul Krugman bashes Paul Ryan for yet another

Paul Krugman, Paul Ryan (Credit: Reuters/Bob Strong/AP/Mary Altaffer/photo composite by Salon)


It’s been a while since the New York Times’ premiere liberal columnist, Paul Krugman, had reason to flay one of his favorite targets, chief GOP wonk and former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. But with the GOP suddenly talking about how much it wants to help America’s poor — a development Krugman calls “fake compassion” — the award-winning economist and best-selling author once again has a reason to take Ryan to the woodshed.

In his latest column for the Times, Krugman writes that while Ryan’s new attack on liberalism —a lengthy report, supposedly on the efficacy of government-funded anti-poverty measures — is less of a sham than efforts from years past, the Wisconsin congressman has still ultimately produced “a con job.”

Krugman applauds Ryan for “citing a lot of actual social science research” but insists that the GOPer has falsely represented the conclusions of most of the research he cites. “In some cases,” Krugman writes, “Mr. Ryan and colleagues outright misstate what the research says, “drawing outraged protests from a number of prominent scholars about the misrepresentation of their work.”

But where Ryan’s report really goes wrong, Krugman argues, is in its ideological assumptions — chiefly, it’s unexamined belief that anti-poverty measures make the poor lazy and drains them of their ambition. “Mr. Ryan would have us believe that the ‘hammock’ created by the social safety net is the reason so many Americans remain trapped in poverty,” Krugman writes. “But the evidence says nothing of the kind.”

More from Krugman at the New York Times:

After all, if generous aid to the poor perpetuates poverty, the United States — which treats its poor far more harshly than other rich countries, and induces them to work much longer hours — should lead the West in social mobility, in the fraction of those born poor who work their way up the scale. In fact, it’s just the opposite: America has less social mobility than most other advanced countries.

And there’s no puzzle why: it’s hard for young people to get ahead when they suffer from poor nutrition, inadequate medical care, and lack of access to good education. The antipoverty programs that we have actually do a lot to help people rise. For example, Americans who received early access to food stamps were healthier and more productive in later life than those who didn’t. But we don’t do enough along these lines. The reason so many Americans remain trapped in poverty isn’t that the government helps them too much; it’s that it helps them too little.

Which brings us back to the hypocrisy issue. It is, in a way, nice to see the likes of Mr. Ryan at least talking about the need to help the poor. But somehow their notion of aiding the poor involves slashing benefits while cutting taxes on the rich. Funny how that works.

Paul Krugman: GOP’s Obamacare lies hurt American families

Paul Krugman: GOP's Obamacare lies hurt American families

(Credit: AP Photo/ Francisco Seco)

As comprehensive and satisfying a take-down of the modern GOP as you will read…(Salon)


Award-winning economist and best-selling author Paul Krugman’s latest column for the New York Times is an unapologetic attack on the Republican Party for, in Krugman’s words, “trying to deceive voters” and, in the process, “deceiving themselves.”

What’s got Krugman riled up this time is the GOP’s official response to President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address, in which Washington congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers argued Obamacare “is not working” and, as proof, cited the experience of one of her constituents, Bette Grenier, who claimed to have seen her monthly premiums increase by a whopping $700.

Before explaining the problems with Grenier’s story, Krugman makes quick work of McMorris Rodgers’ assertion that Obamacare is not working. He notes that sign-ups, while slightly behind projections due to the disastrous rollout of, are nevertheless happening at a rapid speed, and that most insurance companies are thus far not concerned that the applicant pool is too old and sick (which could lead to higher premiums for everyone else).

“[T]he law,” Krugman declares, “is doing its job.”

Moving on to Bette Grenier, Krugman, like Salon’s Brian Beutler, points out that Gernier’s story almost immediately fell apart once it was examined by members of Washington state’s media.

The biggest problem with her tale was the fact that Grenier, if she wanted to, could have found a much cheaper alternative than the $700-hike plan, but she refused, saying, “I wouldn’t go on that Obama website.”

Moreover, Krugman notes that Grenier’s prior insurance was pretty bad — it was barebones, had “a $10,000 deductible” and “[offered] very little financial protection.”

But instead of blaming Grenier, Krugman charges Republicans like McMorris Rodgers, who rely on “misleading stories at best, and often outright deceit” in order to portray Obamacare as an unmitigated disaster.

“Who pays the price for this deceit?” Krugman asks. “In many cases, American families. Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing.”

But they’re not the only ones. Krugman also engages in a little bit of concern trolling, warning the GOP that their confidence in Obamacare’s malfunctioning is leading them to a false sense of security about their chances in November’s elections. “[C]onservative politicians aren’t just deceiving their constituents,” Krugman writes, “they’re also deceiving themselves.”

“Right now, Republican political strategy seems to be to stall on every issue, and reap the rewards from Obamacare’s inevitable collapse,” he continues. “Well, Obamacare isn’t collapsing — it’s recovering pretty well from a terrible start. And by the time that reality sinks in on the right, health reform will be irreversible.”

How Republicans Fit The Classic Profile Of An Abuser

This is an interesting analysis of  the Republican party…

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A domestic violence survivor and crisis hotline counselor explains how today’s Republican party matches the classic profile of an abuser. The Republican party fits the classic personality profile of an abuser. Photo montage by Elisabeth Parker for Addicting Info.

As a former victim of domestic violence, in another lifetime, I learned a lot about the abusive personality. When it was over, and I was out, I became a domestic violence hotline counselor. The classes I took to train me for this job taught me two things: One, abusers aren’t psychotic, but instead have character disorders; and two, abusive behavior isn’t uncontrollable – it’s a learned social behavior.

Enter stage left, Republicans and what used to be their “fringe” faction, the tea baggers. The “fringe” faction, though, has of late become “non-fringe” enough to take over the House, lead John Boehner around by the nose, shut down the federal government and gleefully high-five each other as our country teeters on the edge of default – all, ostensibly, to wage war against Obamacare, a law that was passed by the House and Senate, signed by the President, upheld by the Supreme Court and that has withstood 42 Republican-driven repeal attempts.

Like abusers, Republicans always make things someone else’s fault.
The behavior of Republicans – most recently around their government shutdown, and as they dig in their heels and rationalize – by making it someone else’s fault – driving the country into default, it reminds me vividly of the abusive personality that I engaged with daily, for years, until my divorce. No compromise was ever allowed, it was his way or his other way. He never talked about the many ways in which he was wrong, it was “look what you made me do.” In his mind, the only one whose behavior needed changing was mine. Any abusive behavior of his was justified because, in his warped thinking, I provoked him. He used bullying, fear tactics, threats and intimidation to get his way. In the end, although never abusive to them directly, he used my kids as pawns in his abusive game. He refused to share responsibility in any part of our relationship breakdown. I owned it, lock, stock and barrel.

Like abusers, Republicans do not negotiate in good faith.
If you break it down, how different is the behavior of a classic abuser than the behavior we are now seeing within the Republican Party, most notably, and startlingly, the tea baggers, beginning with the mastermind of the Republican government shutdown, Ted Cruz, and moving on through the ranks of Mike Lee and Michele Bachmann and Paul Ryan and Louie Gohmert, and about 30 others? As a domestic violence survivor, I know that the President and Harry Reid are utterly correct to hold the line at negotiation. Abusers – such as the House tea baggers, along with John Boehner, their puppet – do not negotiate in good faith. Regardless of what “deals” they offer up today, they will renege when it comes time to uphold their end of the bargain. When Republicans say they want a short-term “deal” to re-open the government and avoid a default, I know what that means: Just as abusive personalities are generally incapable of rehabilitation, neither are Republicans. Rehabilitation implies that there is a point of normalcy in the past to which one can return. I have yet to see that point for Republicans; they’re beyond redemption. A year ago, Paul Krugman aptly pointed out that the debt ceiling debacle demonstrates that “raw extortion works and carries no political cost,” and that “irresponsible brinksmanship” is now “a proven effective negotiating tactic.” Mr. Krugman, meet your classic abuser.

Like abusers, Republicans must win at all costs.
An abusive personality really doesn’t care who is caught in the crossfire. His desire for control, his low self-esteem and irrational, desperate need to be the winner at any cost trumps any scrap of humanity. Despite the fact that Republicans raised the debt ceiling more than 25 times under Republican presidents (and five times, without batting an eye, under Bush), their classically abusive personalities have risen to the fore under this President. At any cost, regardless of any harm to others, they will win. So what if the U.S. defaults? According to some Republicans, for the President to allow a default would be an “impeachable offense;” on the other hand, if the President were to invoke the 14th Amendment and direct the Treasury to pay its bills regardless of the House’s inactivity, that, too, in the minds of Republicans, would no doubt rise to the level of an impeachable offense. As in all abusive relationships, it’s a Catch 22. Listening to the screaming rage of Republicans, it’s clear that no cost is too great to make President Obama look bad. If the measures Republicans implement increase the chance that this President’s success story will be on pause, they’ll make a pact with any devil. So what if their newly-discovered “fiscal conservatism” trashes a still fragile economy, tanking the markets, and driving unemployment numbers up? If that’s what’s required to be the victors in the game of chicken they’ve been playing with our lives, that’s what they’ll do. Their lack of humanity, and lack of a moral center, is truly breathtaking.

Like abusers, Republicans will invalidate you.
I remember, during the days when I was on the receiving end of such bullying tactics, how my heart would pound and adrenaline would flow, how my stomach would knot up. I’ve felt that way any number of times during these past terrible weeks as progressives have fought for a toehold in the battle of integrity against a foe who has none. My gut has kept score. A classic abusive personality generally uses sexually derogatory slurs against his victim, but in this case, Republicans continue to press the case that this President is not legitimate. Their use of coded and un-coded racial slurs against our President are not dissimilar to the derogatory terms like “slut” and “whore” that classic abusers use to refer to their women; it’s how they engage. And it is, sadly, how the Republicans have engaged politically ever since President Obama was elected, and continue to engage.

Continue reading here…

Obamacare Is the Right’s Worst Nightmare – Paul Krugman

N.Y. Times’ columnist Paul Krugman nails it…

The New York Times

News from New York: it looks as if insurance premiums on the individual market are going to plunge thanks to Obamacare. This shouldn’t come as a surprise; in fact, the New York experience perfectly illustrates why Obamacare had to look the way it does. And it also illustrates why conservatives should be terrified about this legislation, as it takes effect. Americans may have had a lot of misgivings in advance, thanks to vast, deliberately spread misinformation. But I agree with Matt Yglesias — unless the GOP finds even more ways to sabotage the plan, this thing is going to work, it’s going to be extremely popular, and it’s going to wreak havoc with conservative ideology.

To understand what’s happening in New York, you have to start with what almost everyone at least pretends to believe: Americans shouldn’t find it impossible to get health insurance because of pre-existing conditions that aren’t their fault. Two decades ago, New York tried to deal with this by imposing community rating: insurance is available to everyone, and the price doesn’t depend on your medical history.

The problem was that this created a death spiral: young, healthy people didn’t buy insurance, worsening the risk pool, driving up premiums, driving out more relatively healthy people, etc., until you were left with a rump of very ill people paying very high rates.

How do you deal with this? Well, ideally, Medicare for all. But since that wasn’t going to happen, you improve the risk pool by requiring everyone to buy insurance — the individual mandate. And since some people won’t be able to afford that, you also offer subsidies. Voila! ObamaRomneycare!

Read more here

‘No Pizza For You!’: Drudge Report Falls For Daily Currant’s Satirical Story About Mayor Bloomberg

Ha! Conservatives always get caught “out there” by satirical wit…


The Daily Currant has fooled several members of the media into falling for satirical stories — from Glenn Beck and terrorist-contaminated pizza to Sarah Palin and Al Jazeera. On Friday, it fooled yet another: The Drudge Report. This time with a story about New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The Currant’s story said Bloomberg “was denied a second slice of pizza today at an Italian eatery in Brooklyn” after reaching his “personal slice limit.” It was meant to be a jab at the mayor’s effort to limit the portions of sugary drinks sold in the city.

The Drudge Report played it up thusly:

As the Atlantic Wire reported, the splash only stuck around for a few minutes, around 8 a.m. Eastern time, before someone realized the mistake and took it down. The tweet still exists.

Recently, you may recall, The Daily Currant fooled The Washington Post into thinking Sarah Palinwas headed to Al Jazeera. It also successfully fooled the media with a story about Ann Coulterrefusing to board a plane with a black pilot” and Paul Krugman filing for bankruptcy after living a bitlavishly. And then there was that time Bill O’Reilly assaulted a department store Santa.