Ezra Klein is concerned-- or rather, he's "gripped" by an "unsettling thought":
[H]ealth-care reform isn't simply suffering because the public is overly opposed to some of its revenue raisers. It's suffering because the public is insufficiently supportive of its core. ... [snip]
[I]t's not obvious what health-care reform will do for the average American . I could give you a long answer about delivery system reforms and so forth because it's my job to know these things. But it would have to be a long answer .... [snip]
Higher taxes aren't buying them obvious benefits. Instead, they seem to be paying the health-care bills of poorer Americans. ... [snip]
If support for the overall effort were more robust, the polling on the tax exclusion would matter less. People are willing to pay for things they want to buy. But though they might abstractly favor health-care reform, it doesn't seem directly related to their lives. [ E.A .]
I agree with my distinguished colleague (and welcome him to the concern troll community). He's woken to the realization that Obama is running into political difficulty because he's selling the middle class a pain sandwich --more taxes in exchange for more health care cuts. It would have been smarter to sell universal health care as offering, at a time when nearly everyone's job looks shaky, Medicare-like security for all . (It's not too late! And it fits on a bumper sticker.) ...
Whom should Klein blame for this tragic initial misstep? Among others, he should blame Ezra Klein, whose "long answer" explaining health care reform's benefits seemingly bought into the entire Orszag party line (health care reform is the way to lower costs and cut the budget deficit!)--even amplifying it by arguing that a more "rational" health care system would decide whether "a person’s life, or health, is not worth the price of a particular procedure." If only Klein and other influential Obamapparatchiks had been more critical and Kinsleyesque. ....
P.S.: A day after his concerned post, Klein writes :
People don't like to cut costs in the health-care system. It's painful. Politicians do not voluntarily do painful things. But a lot of people want to achieve universal health care. And they're willing to make a lot of concessions to do so. The coverage expansion, in other words, can serve as leverage for the cost controls. [E.A.]
Huh? July 10 Ezra Klein should read July 9 Ezra Klein. If universal coverage in itself doesn't do much that's obvious "for the average American"--but rather seems to mainly involve "paying the health care bills of poorer Americans," why would average Americans be willing to "make a lot of concessions" in the form of painful cost cuts to achieve that goal--any more than they will be willing to endure painful tax increases?
Bonus question: Why would Klein abandon the sound contrarian insight he'd had a day earlier? Collective criticism on JournoList ? ...
Update: "Pelosi, House Leaders to Hold Press Conference Today to Highlight Benefits of Health Care Reform for Middle Class"-- Politico 's Mike Allen. A Pelosi press conference! That'll do it. ... 12:04 A.M.
Gran Salida, Win/Win? WaPo profiles one of the "thousands of Latino immigrants forced back across the border in recent months by the sinking economy ..." Thousands? Is this the Gran Salida that the New York Times assured us wasn't happening ? ...
P.S.: The subject of the profile, a resourceful and industrious Guatemalan illegal immigrant named Carlos Sanchez, seems to be at least as valuable an addition to Guatemalan society as he was to Washington, D.C.'s. [non-ironic]. After what appears to be non-traumatic adjustment period
Sanchez teaches typing at his house each Saturday on 27 manual typewriters his sister stockpiled for him over the years. And he landed a day job teaching English in a local high school.
Mightn't it help developing countries like Guatemala if their most enterprising citizens return home, or stay home in the first place? ... 12:02 A.M.
"Fighting Sotomayor, Republicans Falsely Advance Fire Fighter Ricci As the White Man's Rosa Parks": I remind my brother Steve that not even the sainted Rosa Parks was quite what she seemed . ... P.S.: I've never understood quite why the Ricci case was considered to have "bad" facts by defenders of Title VII's "disparate impact" standard for judging employment tests. Ricci involved a new test, designed by consultants. The worst case, for the defenders, would be if New Haven had thrown out a traditional test that had been accepted for years as job related, no? ... P.P.S.: Would this freshly concocted multiple choice exam have met the less stringent Rosenberg Standard (a "reasonable relationship to the organization's activities")? I assume yes. But would it have been crazy for the New Haven authorities to decide "no"? ... 1:40 A.M.