Bending the Curve on Health Spending: The CBO Is Not a Policy Philosopher-King Office II (Please Think About It Peter Orszag and Doug Elmendorf Department)
In a Good World, There Would Simply Be No Such Thing as the Washington Post

links for 2009-07-27

  • [W]hy should Democrats do anything other than celebrate?  The Republicans, after all, seem to be in total disarray.  Isn't that good news for the party in power?  It isn't.  For one thing, in a democracy, a skilled and plausible opposition keeps a government on its toes....  But more important, someday... the Republicans are going to win back the presidency.... The election of a well-born and genial cipher to the premiership in Britain next year doesn't promise to be catastrophic. But the results in Italy in 1922 and Germany in 1932 weren't nearly so innocuous.... When... political battles are deliberately waged... over... the contrived question of whether one candidate personally freed a convicted rapist for a weekend furlough, or went to Moscow as a student in order to enlist as a Soviet spy, or somehow faked his heroism in Vietnam, or is a Muslim or a socialist or an illegal alien... we have ventured into... pig-f------. It debases all public discourse. No one finally benefits...
  • Even Peter Pace – the marine general who as chairman of the joint chiefs was sufficiently close to Mr Rumsfeld for Robert Gates, current defence secretary, to refuse to nominate him for a customary second term – weighed in after his retirement. “I’m not an apologist for Secretary Rumsfeld,” he said. “He’s a son of a bitch. And I told him that.”
  • David Broder's latest column reads as if it had been written by the health insurance lobby. He's trying to scare people with the idea that "five unelected ... commissioners" will "determine how they will be treated when they are ill."... I'd rather have five unelected commissioners, or five names drawn at random from the phone book, determine how I will be treated than have that determination made by an... insurance-company... [that] makes money by denying me care. I used to think that Broder was simply a victim of Beltway insideritis... now he's taken an actual stand on a vital issue, and it's clearly the wrong stand... "cost control" is precisely what the Republicans and the Blue Dogs have been demanding.... But when Obama proposes something that, as Broder admits, would actually control cost, Broder sticks his thumb in Obama's eye. Maybe it's not insideritis after all.... Broder's just too rich and has been hanging out with too many rich people.
  • [T]he status quo is untenable. The Zionist vision of a Jewish democratic state won't survive the demographic and moral realities.... [P]eople in J Street... most... want to preserve both Israel's democratic and Jewish character. That's more than I can say for some people in the "mainstream" pro-Israel community, who blind themselves to the coming crisis.
  • Here is David Brook.... "Ae they really my guys? Do I have guys anymore? At the moment, I feel politically closer to Barack Obama than to House Minority Leader John Boehner.... On the other hand, I feel politically closer to Lindsey Graham than to Henry Waxman." Henry Waxman will likely end up voting with Barack Obama well over 90% of the time (Obama had a more liberal voting record in the Senate than Waxman does in the House). Meanwhile, Lindsey Graham might sound like a moderate but [is]... solidly in the middle of the Republican caucus.... Brooks prefers Obama's style and attitude to Boehner's--just as he (Brooks) prefers Graham's moderate tone to Waxman's more visible partisanship. But senate votes matter to people's lives, and I have the suspicion that if Brooks paid more attention to them, rather than to the personalities of Washington politicians, he might find himself drifting leftward on the political spectrum.