Ron Brownstein has an interesting column in National Journal arguing that the Senate health care bill makes a serious effort to curb costs. This longer piece on the Atlantic website, “A Milestone in the Health Care Journey” is also well worth reading.
Though I agree with much of what Ron says, and if I were a senator would vote for this bill rather than no bill, it depends what you mean by a serious effort to curb costs.
Barack Obama’s foreign policy: subtle, or just weak? The Economist.
Emails don’t prove that climate change is a fraud. Gene Robinson, Washington Post. An anti-”denier” gives climate scientists some good advice: welcome contrarian views, don’t try to squelch them, and admit what you don’t know. Why is that so hard?
Mr Obama goes to Copenhagen. FT
Large changes in fiscal policy. Alesina and Ardagna (via Greg Mankiw).
Bonus reading: Win a date with E.J. Dionne. Michael Kinsley, Slate. I missed this somehow first time round. Mike reminded me of it yesterday. Olden but golden. “Not that [Nicholas] Kristof ignores women’s issues. He opposes rape, for example. Chicks love that.”
Yes, the future deficits are worrisome, says Jim Hamilton at Econobrowser. He’s responding to a series of articles and blog posts by Paul Krugman–most recently this column on “the phantom menace“; see also this blog post on invisible bond vigilantes–arguing that the dangers of public borrowing are being exaggerated.
It’s an important discussion and you should go to the sources. But here’s a summary. Krugman stresses two main points. First, to make fiscal policy sustainable, you don’t need to reduce the ratio of debt to output, you just need to stabilise it–and there is no compelling reason why you should aim to stabilise it at current levels, rather than at the higher levels which several more years of big deficits will cause. Countries like Belgium and Italy have much higher debt ratios than the US. So what’s the problem? Second, economic growth makes deficits and additional debt easily affordable, so long as interest rates are low enough in relation to the growth rate to keep a lid on debt-service costs. Interest rates are (very) low at the moment, so what’s the problem?