Paul Krugman, "Not enough audacity"

Friday, June 26, 2009

In today's op-ed for the New York Times, Paul Krugman writes:

The big question here is whether health care is about to go the way of the stimulus bill.

At the beginning of this year, you may remember, Mr. Obama made an eloquent case for a strong economic stimulus — then delivered a proposal falling well short of what independent analysts (and, I suspect, his own economists) considered necessary. The goal, presumably, was to attract bipartisan support. But in the event, Mr. Obama was able to pick up only three Senate Republicans by making a plan that was already too weak even weaker.

The point is that if you’re making big policy changes, the final form of the policy has to be good enough to do the job. You might think that half a loaf is always better than none — but it isn’t if the failure of half-measures ends up discrediting your whole policy approach.

Which brings us back to health care. It would be a crushing blow to progressive hopes if Mr. Obama doesn’t succeed in getting some form of universal care through Congress. But even so, reform isn’t worth having if you can only get it on terms so compromised that it’s doomed to fail.

Click above link for rest of article. A real disappointment to liberals and progressives is in the works.

Trembling Before G-d

Thursday, June 25, 2009

powerful film

re: Health Fail | And now...a word from the AMA

Re: "There is no center-left party"

Massachusetts Healthfail

Can anyone say single-payer?

A good example of how even a public-option plan can still flounder if it is gutted by conservative and business interests.

Same authors, earlier piece with some additional information:

There are additional articles out there about the failures of the Massachusetts system. Do you think that the data coming out of Mass. (which is more mixed than these articles admit) will aid conservatives in defeating a public-option in national health care reform. Or will it serve as an example for liberals to advocate deeper liberal structural reforms in the system?

I'll go with the former. It will come down to rhetoric and name calling. Anything with any resemblance of structural reform will be a labeled a "non-starter" by conservatives and center-right democrats. I'm admittedly jaded, I say torch the system and the parties like Atlanta.

While poll after poll show that Americans support a public health care option (which is remarkable given that many Americans confuse the watered down public option proposals with "socialized medicine") The democratic leadership, including Obama, are not offering true reform (testimony to the influence of campaign donations and lobbying). Glimmer of hope that there is enough pressure on the left to achieve true reform. Also serves a sad reminder that the US does not have a true center-left party.

Obama and shifting to the right...

I believe that President Obama has indeed caved into political pressure to be more outspoken on Iran than experts, Republican experts, like Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, and the like, would otherwise suggest.

This is not the only front on which he is trying to move to the center, or the perceived center, of the political/discursive/rhetorical spectrum.

The apppointment of Tim Geithner and Larry Somers to the Treasury Secretary and Economic Council Chairman position, respectively, signaled that two Wall Street insiders with serious ties to the financial industry, in favor of corporate-friendly policies, would get to set financial/economic policy. The results are less than overwhelming.

Further exampes to follow as the days and weeks proceed.