Friday, November 22, 2013

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Terry Gilliam, 73. One of those days with lots of good choices, but I'll go with the Python.

1. Greg Koger on the post-nuclear Senate.

2. Paul Krugman is right on Republicans, news cycles, and the ACA.

3. And Jennifer Lind on apologies. Interesting. What I really am looking for, however, is a good analysis of the various players on the US side in the US/Afghanistan negotiations on post-2014, and who wants what and why. My general sense of it is that Barack Obama probably should just want out, and that the (apparent) effort to stay indicates that he's getting rolled by...I don't know. But this is just wild guessing on my part, and I could just as easily imagine that Obama wants to stay, and, say, the Pentagon wants out. At any rate, I haven't seen any analysis at all, and I'd like to.


  1. Krugman claims that "[Republicans] are fools" because they intend to point out the real-time and projected failures of Obamacare in a methodical fashion. I don't know why any adult would find his piece worth emailing to a friend, let alone blogging about, as Krugman ineffectually insults people who disagree with him daily.

  2. I had a similar take, backyard. Krugman's forecast for the ACA sounds a bit like the liberal equivalent of your drunken conservative uncle at dinner next Thursday ('first, the healthy kids are gonna sign up! Then, the cancellations will magically disappear! Everything else Avik Roy worries about - poof! Once they get the intertubes fixed'). I agreed with you also about his dismissal of Republican criticism: if he's wrong, and the ACA fails spectacularly, well that's just a bad day for liberals, and everyone move on, nothing more to see here...

    ...I mean, if someone was a Nobel laureate in Economics, a self-styled final authority on all matters US budget, you might expect them to foresee the calamitous budget impact of an ACA implosion, and why the other side would want to distance themselves from that potential train wreck as much as they could.

    Otherwise...well, its all just theater, so shut up Republicans!

    1. All he is saying is that either the system won't work, in which case the GOP opposition campaign will be unnecessary, or it will work, in which case the campaign won't matter.

    2. Unlike other liberal priorities (e.g. SSM or cap and trade), the failure of the ACA adds untold hundreds of billions of dollars to an already-overburdened federal budget. The source of which additional deficit spending, as Matt Jarvis reminded us the other day, the hoi polloi is not naturally prone to remember.

      Consequently, there's a pretty obvious and important reason for the opponents of said legislation to remind the people, constantly, about their opposition.

      This is perhaps not an unreasonable thing to expect the nation's principal federal budget authority to acknowledge in their writing.

    3. I'm not really sure I follow, CSH. No one is stopping Republicans from saying whatever they like. The issue was the effectiveness of what they're saying. The ACA hasn't failed yet, and if it works, it brings the deficit down. And I think the cancelation issue is way overhyped. Of the 5% in the individual private market, more than half leave it in six months or less anyway; only 17% (17% of 5%) are in it as long as two years. When the exchanges are working properly (and they're already improving), people whose coverage has been canceled will get new coverage. And Sarah Kliff estimates that 70% of them will qualify for subsidies. Sudden cancelations and sudden increases in premiums (especially as custmoers got older and the insurance companies wanted to encourage them to move elsewhere) have always been common in that market; replacement coverage less so. As for Obama's promise that people wouldn't lose their coverage; he probably shouldn't have said that. People will get over it. A GOP health-insurance counterproposal from 2009 made the same promise with less justification.

    4. Scott, I'm thinking about the possible failure of the ACA only in the context of the death spiral, and not even the death spiral of the legislation (prevented by the fail-safes...for a while) but rather the budget. At a certain level, you (and Krugman, and well - Matt Jarvis) are right that whatever happens, tomorrow will be another day with a different news story.

      What makes an ACA implosion unique is: even as the zeitgeist moves on to the next shiny topic, an imploded ACA will make future budget reconciliations by-degrees more difficult. Like many others, you're uncomfortable with a $100 B sequester, spread awkwardly among entitlements, defense and discretionary spending? Implode the ACA and multiply that $100 B by some factor of dreadful.

      The association of that dreadful with the failed ACA will not be, in the state of nature, remembered by the electorate, as Krugman and Matt Jarvis pointed out.

      But its a ridiculous leap to go from "the electorate won't, by their nature, remember your ideological enemy's contribution to their epic misery"

      - to -

      "so you're dumb to go to great lengths to remind them".

    5. Okay, but Krugman isn't saying that no one will notice if it fails. He's saying that if it fails, people won't need the Republicans to tell them they don't like it.

  3. All he is saying is that either the system won't work, in which case the GOP opposition campaign will be unnecessary, or it will work, in which case the campaign won't matter.

    Of course, the ACA was never popular with voters, but approval polls show that this sentiment is growing. As a churlish partisan, Krugman would prefer that Republicans shut their mouths, even as said Republicans are mirroring voters. It's to the Rep's advantage to amplify and project their position when voters agree with them. Why should Rep's take advice from Krugman? It just looks to me as if progs are feeling butt-hurt because they're performing so badly and publicly, so they've decided to call the opposition stupid.

    And JB thinks that this is good work, of course.

  4. "It's to the Rep's advantage to amplify and project their position when voters agree with them."

    Why though? What concrete benefit does this produce?

    1. They get more votes because when voters vote, the Rep who's running will have been loudly agreeing with voters about how much ACA sucks and how much Obama lied. I don't see what the electoral downside is supposed to be for Reps in openly supporting a popular position that Dems are on the other side of. This whole thing is making Dems look like dishonest idiots.

    2. Is that even remotely true? I'm by no means an expert on voter behavior, but I'm pretty sure the academic consensus is that these things just don't have an effect. Voters will know where their rep stands on the ACA, although candidate policy positions are somewhat overrated as a driver of voter behavior anyway. But they definitely won't care how loudly the rep screamed at X point in time about Y issue.

      You're probably right that there is no electoral downside, but it's equally true that there is no electoral upside.

    3. Then you thought it was foolish for Dems to loudly criticize Bush 43 over Iraq II when it was no longer popular? Voters have great memories and closely track their "representatives," right? They know what is going on with respect to politics and (unlike JB) don't have to randomly push buttons in the voting booth?

      Obama somehow convinced millions of people that they would be able to keep the plans they wanted simply by repeating it over and over. Do you think that Reps can't muddy the water in the same way? Only Obama can convince voters by dishonest gasbagging?

      Not that the Reps are necessarily going to lie as much as Obama during this whisper campaign.


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