Another day

another cut and paste on health care from Ezra Klein.  Today, he makes a great, and very important point, about how difficult it is to actually accomplish meaningful change in health care when one party has absolutely no genuine interest in doing so.  From discussions with my students, a point that comes up again and again, is how liberal this bill is because all the Republicans in Congress opposed it.  As I’ve discussed before, of course, so not true.  This bill most closely resembles Republican proposals from the 1990’s.  Anyway, Ezra:

In a world where the two parties’ top priority on health care was providing answers for the uninsured and cost control, an argument over the best way to do health-care reform would be a very healthy thing. But that’s not what we’ve got. We’ve got the Democratic Party, whose top priority is to try and solve our health-care problems and who’ve shown their commitment to that by moving steadily rightward over the last century in a bid to pick up Republican support for some sort of solution, and the Republican Party, whose top priority is that we shouldn’t do whatever the Democrats are proposing and have proven their commitment to that by abandoning previously favored policy proposals as soon as the Democrats demonstrated any interest in adopting them.

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Chart of the day (sane Mormon version)

Love, love, love this from Jon Chait:

Note that while the GOP field has two sane Mormon candidates, which is probably two more than there’s room for, the “sane, non-Mormon”and “insane Mormon” fields are wide open. I’m not sure who’s the best fit for the former category, but the latter is just screaming for Glenn Beck.

Personally, I don’t think it’s fair to put Thune and Pawlenty in with DeMint, Palin, and Bachman, but, to Chait’s credit, they are higher on the sanity graph.

2012 in Charlotte

The 2012 Democratic convention will be in Charlotte.  I’m super excited about this.  It will likely be the only national political convention I ever attend.  I don’t know that I can ever get myself in the building (something tells me not enough of you are reading to qualify for blogger credentials), but damnit, I’m going.   Political science research suggests that it actually doesn’t do anything to help Obama’s chances of winning NC again:

There isn’t much of a relationship between a convention site and that state’s eventual vote in the presidential election. After tallying several decades’ worth of conventions and elections, Michael Berry and Kenneth Bickers — political scientists at the University of Colorado, Denver, and Boulder — found “no evidence that hosting a national nominating convention has any discernible effect on the ultimate vote in that state.” If there is a gain — or loss — it’s best explained by the fundamentals in each state: the economy, partisan advantage, and presidential incumbency.

But I’m just happy I’ll be able to experience it.  And my sister-in-law doesn’t know it yet, but I’m staying with her.

Economic (in)activity

The recent ruling striking down the health care law argues that in forcing you to buy health insurance, the government is not regulating economic activity– as permitted by the commerce clause– but rather, regulating economic inactivity, which is not a Constitutional use of Congress’ powers.  Ezra Klein has the best explanation I’ve yet seen for why not buying health insurance is economic activity:

To make this more concrete, when an uninsured person breaks a leg and needs hospital care, that care is paid for by the rest of us. It’d be a bit odd for your economic inactivity to cost me money. But your decision to remain without insurance does cost me money, because you’re an active consumer of health-care risk and an active participant on a health-care market that affords you certain benefits. When you don’t purchase insurance, you’ve not decided against participating in the American health-care system. You’re just not participating responsibly. To quote Mitt Romney:

Some of my libertarian friends balk at what looks like an individual mandate. But remember, someone has to pay for the health care that must, by law, be provided: Either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay. A free ride on the government is not libertarian.

Thanks, Mitt.  And despite recent claims to the contrary, statements such as this are why Romney is no more viable for the Republican nomination.

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