Ten Years and Four Days Ago at Grasping Reality: July 22-25, 2007

Worth Hoisting and Highlighting: Paul Krugman is wise; Ezra Klein points out that those who claim having health insurance is not important (a) have health insurance, and (b) are not telling the truth; Robert Samuelson of the execrable Washington Post is an embittered, evil, strange man; the execrable Stuart Taylor, Jr., of the Atlantic Group is one as well; and neither Robert Pear of the New York Times nor David Broder of the Washington Post either do now know enough or do not care enough to do their proper jobs:

  • The Permanent Disgrace of the National Journal: Stuart Taylor, Jr. http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/07/the-permanent-d.html: Why oh why can't we have a better press corps? That the National Journal did not fire Stuart Taylor, Jr., after he denounced our NATO allies "already in an overwrought tizzy about the supposed mistreatment of the 158 detainees at Guantanamo Bay..." is to its permanent shame. That the National Journal and the Atlantic continue to employ him today is to their deep and permanent disgrace. Here is Taylor defending Alberto Gonzales...:

  • Paul Krugman Was Smart in September 2002 http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/07/paul-krugman-wa.html: "Larry Kudlow published a column in The Washington Times with the headline 'Taking Back the Market—by Force'. In it he argued for an invasion of Iraq to boost the Dow. Pretty amazing stuff, though not as amazing as a July column in The New York Post by John Podhoretz, whose headline read 'October Surprise, Please', followed by the injunction 'Go On, Mr. President: Wag the Dog'. In general it's a bad omen when advocates of a policy claim that it will solve problems unrelated to its original purpose. The shifting rationale for the Bush tax cut—it's about giving back the surplus; no, it's a demand stimulus; no, it's a supply-side policy—should have warned us that this was an obsession in search of a justification. The shifting rationale for war with Iraq—Saddam Hussein was behind Sept. 11 and the anthrax attacks; no, but he's on the verge of developing nuclear weapons; no, but he's a really evil man (which he is)—has a similar feel. The idea that war would actually be good for the economy seems like just one more step in this progression..."

  • Carbon Blogging: "In That Case, We Have No Time to Lose. Plant [the Trees] This Afternoon!" (Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps?/Robert J. Samuelson Is a Bad Person/Washington Post Edition) http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/07/in-that-case-we.html: Remember that: Robert Samuelson did not want Congress to be "stampeded" into including a carbon tax in the 1993 reconciliation bill.... If we cannot pass a BTU tax, telling people who fund carbon offsets or drive fuel-efficient cars that they are good, responsible, moral people is a perfectly orthodox and constructive thing to do. But somehow Robert Samuelson doesn't think so today. Attempts to work on the preferences side by saying 'good for you!' to Prius drivers get him really, really angry... http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/07/in-that-case-we.html

  • Ezra Klein: Health Insurance Matters http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/07/ezra-klein-heal.html: "One of the common objections to universal coverage is that insurance coverage doesn't actually improve health outcomes all that much. This objection, unsurprisingly, is generally made by people with health coverage. It's also not very true..."

  • Meanwhile, Brian Beutler Is Unhappy with Robert Pear (Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? New York Times Edition) http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/07/meanwhile-brian.html: Brian writes, about Robert Pear's... "House Democrats hope to portray the [SCHIP] issue as a fight pitting the interests of children and older Americans against tobacco and insurance companies. The White House says the Democratic proposals would distort the original intent of the children’s program, cause a big increase in federal spending and adversely affect older Americans who are happy with the extra benefits they receive from private health plans..." What mustn't be written explicitly (both in this case and more generally) is that the weight of all evidence and argument suggests strongly that the Democrats portray the issue basically correctly while Republicans are completely full of s---.

  • Yes, It's the Washington Post Once Again... http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/07/yes-its-the-was.html: Dean Baker spoils my day by telling me to go read David Broder. David Broder is physically incapable of ever telling it straight.... "Bush has made the State Children's Health Insurance Program, known as SCHIP, the center of his campaign against 'excessive' domestic spending. His budget allocates only $5 billion in additional money for... the next five years... supporters of the program say is too small to cover even the 6.6 million children who are currently receiving help..." As Dean points out, it's not just "supporters": it's also the Congressional Budget Office--the high priests of nonpartisan reality-based budgeting, in this case Noelia Duchovny, Lyle Nelson, and Carol Frost. This isn't the "he said, she said" issue that David Broder makes it out to be...

  • Ezra Klein Is Naive About Brooks and Income Inequality http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/07/ezra-klein-is-n.html: "This article is dishonest and misleading, in effect if not intent. I'm perfectly willing to believe some rightwing Heritage type impressed a perfectly well-intentioned David Brooks with these points at a party, but either way, the resulting article served to deceive readers of the New York Times op-ed page as to the state of the economy. This strikes me as a rather big deal. "The honchos of the New York Times don't think this is a big deal. You see, in their minds Brooks is not there to inform people but to "balance" Paul Krugman. He performs that task admirably...

  • Hoisted from the Archives: CJR Daily on the Journamalism of Mike Allen http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/07/cjr-daily-he-sa.html: "Here's hoping journalists soon start pushing back, and perhaps even find a more direct outlet for the truth than mere clues. A good news story can mean different things to different people, but none of us should have to search it for hidden messages directed to an elite few..."

The Full List: