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Bloggingheads 02-24-2010 03:09 PM

Squeaky Clean Edition (Robert Wright & Ramesh Ponnuru)
 

Stapler Malone 02-24-2010 03:37 PM

Re: Squeaky Clean Edition (Robert Wright & Ramesh Ponnuru)
 
The correct answer to Ramesh's question here is "way more worried." Democracy is great, democracies are the best partners to work with, but at the end of the day governmental legitimacy matters less in this particular scenario than governmental capacity and authority. You pretty much couldn't find a worse state structure for a nuclear candidate than "democratizing."

Wonderment 02-24-2010 03:42 PM

OMG! Do I agree with Ramesh?
 
I have to say, as a professional Monday morning quarterback, that I am inclined to agree a better, far simpler and more marketable plan would have been to expand Medicare chronologically downward. Obama could have started by saying, "Medicare will now cover everyone 55 and older. In 2011 it will include everyone 54 and older, and so on for the next few decades." We'd eventually have single payer universal coverage. Late, but not never.

I see lots of obvious problems with this approach, but it does have the big advantage of working to expand a popular program. It's hard for Republicans who are on Medicare or have their parents on Medicare to scream very loudly that Medicare is Trotskyist. Isn't Medicare just a joyous component of American capitalism -- a key benefit of living in The Greatest Country to Ever Have Existed?

Baltimoron 02-24-2010 04:57 PM

Re: OMG! Do I agree with Ramesh?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 152139)
I have to say, as a professional Monday morning quarterback, that I am inclined to agree a better, far simpler and more marketable plan would have been to expand Medicare chronologically downward. Obama could have started by saying, "Medicare will now cover everyone 55 and older. In 2011 it will include everyone 54 and older, and so on for the next few decades." We'd eventually have single payer universal coverage. Late, but not never.

The lasting casualty of this health care insurance reform frankfurter spectacle is any regard for the technocratic fantasies of pundits and profs. It's obvious to me now, that "plans" don't motivate political players. I would put more hope in the sort of legislative arm-twisting and presidential cajolery that would force players to compromise.

As a sop, though, I would suggest limiting the number of political appointees to the executive departments and professionalizing perhaps to assistant level. It would encourage regulatory capture, but I think Americans will need to deal with less efficiency to avoid boom and bust.

basman 02-24-2010 06:43 PM

Re: Squeaky Clean Edition (Robert Wright & Ramesh Ponnuru)
 
Total digression:

It hit me like bolt of lighting just this instant: Bob Wright sounds just like Sheldon on Big Bang, nasally, high pitched, near constant whine--both from Texas too.

Itzik Basman (not to be confused with Itzik Basman)

JonIrenicus 02-24-2010 09:39 PM

Re: Squeaky Clean Edition (Robert Wright & Ramesh Ponnuru)
 
On nuclear proliferation... there is no country on this earth, that has nuclear weapons, which will relinquish all of their weapons, correct?

Is the US or Russia or India or China or Israel ever going to completely wipe out their stockpile of such weapons?

If no, and if over time more countries will tend to get weapons, why not work towards something that actually could happen, like encouraging more countries (no idea how to go about this) that have or will have dangerous weapons to become more responsible.



I mean at some point, you can't put the technology under wraps, so why bother? As long as nations that have them keep them away from deranged people, I don't see the issue.

It's like Ramesh's hope for the future is for nations to be better and more responsible with increasing power, Bobs hope for the future is that more nations never get to the stage where they have destructive power.

Almost as if he never expects some other nations to come out of a childlike state, irresponsible, and volatile, and not to be trusted, so best to not have weapons fall into the hands of the savages.

By the way, the current state of some societies does not give me much confidence about them either, but my solution is not to magically whisk away all dangerous capability (never, ever, EVER going to happen, might as well hope for preventing knowledge of gun powder or explosives or whatever else, that could harm others), it is get people to be more responsible.

Unit 02-25-2010 12:41 AM

On Cadillacs
 
Bob likes the tax on Cadillac plans, but wouldn't it punish people who save more for health-care? It seems morally indefensible to me.

ledocs 02-25-2010 02:14 AM

Re: Squeaky Clean Edition (Robert Wright & Ramesh Ponnuru)
 
I thought bhtv was supposed to be about ideas, Bob. So when Ramesh got to the point of saying that he was OK with the Cadillac tax in isolation but could not support the current bill(s), that was your cue to let us find out why he opposed the bill(s), unless it's just the usual sort of knee-jerk reasons. Or perhaps you were either out of your depth or more concerned about maintaining civility than about having the audience learn anything. Instead, we get a bunch of pretty idle speculation about what will motivate congresspeople. That was uninteresting because no specific cases were even outlined. OK, Stupak was mentioned. Anyway, this whole discussion was pretty close to worthless.

You're the alternative media mogul, not I, but I'm not getting the sort of concerted and ongoing examination of policies or ideas that I feel I could be getting, given this format, not on Afghanistan/Iraq, not on the financial crisis, not on health care reform. I am not aware of a single real health care economist who has been on the site. Why hasn't Reinhardt been on? Where is the substantive debate about this "libertarian" alternative on health care that Brink Lindsey alluded to when he last talked to Cohen? If there is a Swiss system that sort of approximates what this libertarian alternative is, then let's hear about it from someone who has studied it. As it is, I've heard Lindsey refer to a secret plan, like Nixon's plan to get us out of Vietnam.

I want to hear more academic or think-tank experts and fewer young journalists. I think there could be more of a sense that we're tracking certain policy and intellectual problems, rather than flitting about sort of randomly and listening to a certain stable of heads put in their two cents, often on subjects they don't know that much about. Because one thing you are doing, no doubt unintentionally, is just encouraging more ill-informed citizens who come on to these forums and bloviate. The site is not fulfilling its promise as an educational tool, in my opinion. You are helping to breed contempt for expertise.

Here's an example. You had Mark Schmitt talk to the lady law professor from Yale about the Citizens United decision. That was good, but I'm not convinced that her take on the decision was correct. She thought it was a minor decision, Ronald Dworkin thinks it's monumentally and importantly bad, and even Evan Bayh thinks it's quite disturbing. Why can't we get Pam whatever her name is from Stanford to debate a conservative law professor on this? And why can't we be on the road to developing some expertise among the viewers, because I would probably read the decision if given any impetus to do so, by which I mean if I felt that I was part of an ongoing conversation or debate.

Keep up the good work.

claymisher 02-25-2010 02:20 AM

Re: Squeaky Clean Edition (Robert Wright & Ramesh Ponnuru)
 
shorter ledocs: The food here is terrible, and the portions are too small.

Blackadder 02-25-2010 08:13 AM

Re: On Cadillacs
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Unit (Post 152203)
Bob likes the tax on Cadillac plans, but wouldn't it punish people who save more for health-care? It seems morally indefensible to me.

I believe the "Cadillac tax" only applies to premiums. A person who wants to save for health care can already do so tax free via a Health Savings Account.

Alexandrite 02-25-2010 08:41 AM

Re: Squeaky Clean Edition (Robert Wright & Ramesh Ponnuru)
 
So Bob was asking who the tea party people are. I think I can explain it.

The reason it's so weird is because the origins of the Tea Party is the Ron Paul campaign from 2007. So you have the original weird libertarian, paleo-conservative, whacko coalition continuing to do their thing, holding these rallies and the like, and eventually this organizational structure is coopted by members of the conservative right in early 2009. People like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. This is about the time you start seeing them label themselves as "Teabaggers" (The savvy young libertarians never called themselves that). It's an already odd diehard coalition being pulled toward the masses through these odd personalities that are kind of antithetical to the original organizers.

Go back to March 2009, and you'll see this is when Beck starts calling for his 9/12 protest, and I think that's about when he started calling himself a libertarian and annoying the crap out of real libertarians. Or when he'd say he likes Ron Paul after spending a year bashing him.

You have the Paulistian refugees being pulled to the mainstream audiences by personalities like Beck and Hannity, personalities that the original coalition didn't like. When these forces combined their efforts it resulted in this kind of messy whatever:

1: Long term Paulistians and libertarians who are willing to tolerate greater cooperation with the right in exchange for more mainstream advantages.
2: And fans of talk radio.

This should explain the weird break down. It should maybe explain why there wasn't a solid leadership behind it either. Why would the Paulistians anoint Beck, or Hannity? Why would Glenn Beck fans support Ron Paul? And it's become it's own thing now.

Is it lasting?
It's no more a lasting coalition then the Paleo-libertarian coalition has ever had with the right. It'll have an impact until the we get a realignment on the right again. It's a temporary filler, given that so many of the prior coalitions and powers collapsed with the end of Bush. I think if you see a weak 2012 candidate, or if the party looks weak in 2012, the Tea Party will have a larger impact on that. If you have a strong candidate and a strong chance of winning the 2012 election, I think you'll see them fade away.

edit: fixed some bbc

ledocs 02-25-2010 10:55 AM

Re: Squeaky Clean Edition (Robert Wright & Ramesh Ponnuru)
 
Claymisher, summarizing my prior verbose post:

Quote:

shorter ledocs: The food here is terrible, and the portions are too small.
I would not go that far. I must like the site, because I've been spending a lot of time here since I discovered it. I had a rough night, sleeping-wise, and wrote that rant in the middle of the night. The editorial board should take that post in the spirit in which I intended it, which is that of constructive criticism. The site is good, but it could be a lot better, sort of like my guitar playing.

The Stanford law professor I would like to see is Pam Carlin or Karlin, I believe. She was a big media presence during the Clinton impeachment. I saw her mentioned as a possible Supreme Court nominee during the runup to Sotomayor.

So, just to substantiate my complaint, I just did a search on "health care" for the entire history of bloggingheads. The vast majority of citations that turn up consist of the usual ideological point-counterpoint between two heads, neither of whom is anything like an expert in health care. It's just diavlogs in which health care is mentioned prominently. I did not see a health care economist listed. There could have been several diavlogs in which experts talked in detail about Canada, France, Britain, and other advanced countries. Krugman could have been on to talk about health care, because he has devoted a lot of time to the subject and has been on bhtv, and of course Reinhardt could have been on. And let the libertarians take their best shot with whomever they've got in this field. And for that matter, how about a mainstream Republican expert on health care, there must be someone.

And a further point, there is a podcast available at "The New York Review of Books" website by Jerome Groopman. He is interviewed by an editor. It lasts about 18 minutes. One might learn more about health care in America in that podcast than by listening to the entire history of talk about this subject on bhtv. There is someone else who should have been on bhtv. You call him up and see if he'll do it. Then you get him to suggest a suitable interlocutor, someone who does not agree with him about everything, if you don't already have someone in mind.

PreppyMcPrepperson 02-25-2010 12:26 PM

Re: Squeaky Clean Edition (Robert Wright & Ramesh Ponnuru)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ledocs (Post 152220)
Claymisher, summarizing my prior verbose post:



I would not go that far. I must like the site, because I've been spending a lot of time here since I discovered it. I had a rough night, sleeping-wise, and wrote that rant in the middle of the night. The editorial board should take that post in the spirit in which I intended it, which is that of constructive criticism. The site is good, but it could be a lot better, sort of like my guitar playing.

The Stanford law professor I would like to see is Pam Carlin or Karlin, I believe. She was a big media presence during the Clinton impeachment. I saw her mentioned as a possible Supreme Court nominee during the runup to Sotomayor.

So, just to substantiate my complaint, I just did a search on "health care" for the entire history of bloggingheads. The vast majority of citations that turn up consist of the usual ideological point-counterpoint between two heads, neither of whom is anything like an expert in health care. It's just diavlogs in which health care is mentioned prominently. I did not see a health care economist listed. There could have been several diavlogs in which experts talked in detail about Canada, France, Britain, and other advanced countries. Krugman could have been on to talk about health care, because he has devoted a lot of time to the subject and has been on bhtv, and of course Reinhardt could have been on. And let the libertarians take their best shot with whomever they've got in this field. And for that matter, how about a mainstream Republican expert on health care, there must be someone.

And a further point, there is a podcast available at "The New York Review of Books" website by Jerome Groopman. He is interviewed by an editor. It lasts about 18 minutes. One might learn more about health care in America in that podcast than by listening to the entire history of talk about this subject on bhtv. There is someone else who should have been on bhtv. You call him up and see if he'll do it. Then you get him to suggest a suitable interlocutor, someone who does not agree with him about everything, if you don't already have someone in mind.

Agreed. But those people have figured relatively minorly in the health care debate OFF BHTV too. And before you all crow that experts are pretty minor relative to ideologues on ANY policy issue, look at the role that climate scientists have had in the environmental debate and at the currency that accusations against them have.

chamblee54 02-25-2010 02:36 PM

Re: Squeaky Clean Edition (Robert Wright & Ramesh Ponnuru)
 
At about the 51:00 mark, Bob says Iraq when he should say Iran.
How many people really, truly cannot tell the two apart?
In a few years, if the Shiite government in Iraq (without Kurdistan) unites with Iran, will it make a difference.
I was editing a post/illustraions for my blog while listening to this. Any resemblance of the two is either a subliminal convergence, or an unfortunate coincidence. At least none of the pictures look like Bob.

Unit 02-25-2010 10:46 PM

Re: On Cadillacs
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Blackadder (Post 152214)
I believe the "Cadillac tax" only applies to premiums. A person who wants to save for health care can already do so tax free via a Health Savings Account.

If you pay more you get more, no?

AemJeff 02-25-2010 10:47 PM

Re: On Cadillacs
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Unit (Post 152328)
If you pay more you get more, no?

You think so?

bjkeefe 02-25-2010 11:51 PM

Re: On Cadillacs
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 152329)
You think so?

There are ten million retailers who just popped a woody at Unit's last response.

Unit 02-26-2010 12:39 AM

Re: On Cadillacs
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 152329)
You think so?

Yes. If you are willing to forgo more of your earnings to prepare for the day that you will be ill, than your neighbor is, then the day you get ill you should get better treatment. If you don't agree with this, you involuntarily push people to stop planning for the future and to rely entirely on third-party benevolence. In essence, medical decisions get taken away from individuals who surrender themselves to whoever is paying for them, insurance companies or the govt or whatever scheme is set up.

AemJeff 02-26-2010 12:44 AM

Re: On Cadillacs
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Unit (Post 152342)
Yes. If you are willing to forgo more of your earnings to prepare for the day that you will be ill, than your neighbor is, then the day you get ill you should get better treatment. If you don't agree with this, you involuntarily push people to stop planning for the future and to rely entirely on third-party benevolence. In essence, medical decisions get taken away from individuals who surrender themselves to whoever is paying for them, insurance companies or the govt or whatever scheme is set up.

That's a moral argument. i.e., it's prescriptive, not predictive.

Unit 02-26-2010 12:51 AM

Re: On Cadillacs
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 152344)
That's a moral argument. i.e., it's prescriptive, not predictive.

I said so in my first post, that I was making a moral argument. And yes I think that it's better to encourage careful individual planning as well (if this is what you mean by prescriptive).

claymisher 02-26-2010 01:01 AM

Re: On Cadillacs
 
Also, people should choose their parents very carefully.

bjkeefe 02-26-2010 01:06 AM

Re: On Cadillacs
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by claymisher (Post 152348)
Also, people should choose their parents very carefully.

Morally speaking, people should do what I think is moral.

Problem solved.

claymisher 02-26-2010 01:11 AM

Re: On Cadillacs
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by claymisher (Post 152348)
Also, people should choose their parents very carefully.

I mean really, why should society have to pay for people who didn't even bother to choose their parents with care? If we don't discipline them with the invisible fist of the market they'll just keep picking the wrong parents. That's yer moral hazard right there.

AemJeff 02-26-2010 10:53 AM

Re: On Cadillacs
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Unit (Post 152347)
I said so in my first post, that I was making a moral argument. And yes I think that it's better to encourage careful individual planning as well (if this is what you mean by prescriptive).

Then you're not making a coherent argument. The following is an empirical question:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unit (Post 152328)
If you pay more you get more, no?

What's the point of asking such a question (about how the world does behave) but answering it with how you believe the world should behave.

Unit 02-26-2010 10:54 AM

Re: On Cadillacs
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by claymisher (Post 152353)
I mean really, why should society have to pay for people who didn't even bother to choose their parents with care? If we don't discipline them with the invisible fist of the market they'll just keep picking the wrong parents. That's yer moral hazard right there.

I guess you've never heard of Child Protection Agencies? Apparently the govt does worry if people chose the wrong parents.

Unit 02-26-2010 11:09 AM

Re: On Cadillacs
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by claymisher (Post 152353)
I mean really, why should society have to pay for people who didn't even bother to choose their parents with care? If we don't discipline them with the invisible fist of the market they'll just keep picking the wrong parents. That's yer moral hazard right there.

The analogy with childcare would be to tax people who invest a lot of time and effort in having a good relationship with their parents. Let's tax Cadillac parents!

TwinSwords 02-26-2010 01:21 PM

Re: On Cadillacs
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Unit (Post 152392)
The analogy with childcare would be to tax people who invest a lot of time and effort in having a good relationship with their parents. Let's tax Cadillac parents!

Right. The analogy is that the Child Protective Services you referenced are paid for by taxing the citizenry, which includes good parents. So, in effect, we are taxing the Cadillac parents. Why? So that children with awful parents can be rescued from shitty circumstances and given a chance at a better life.

And if you're a true libertarian, you are opposed to this practice. I realize a lot of people call themselves libertarians in a more informal sense, like the guy who wants to smoke pot, or the one who wants to ride a motocycle without a helmet. But a true philosophical libertarian is considers taxation for child services to be tyranny, and an illegitimate exercise of government power. Which is why libertarianism will never amount to more than either (a) a tiny fringe political movement, or (b) a more robust movement that is less doctrinaire about what it means to be a libertarian (e.g., Brink Lindsay).

Unit 02-26-2010 06:44 PM

Re: On Cadillacs
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwinSwords (Post 152398)
Right. The analogy is that the Child Protective Services you referenced are paid for by taxing the citizenry, which includes good parents. So, in effect, we are taxing the Cadillac parents. Why? So that children with awful parents can be rescued from shitty circumstances and given a chance at a better life.

And if you're a true libertarian, you are opposed to this practice. I realize a lot of people call themselves libertarians in a more informal sense, like the guy who wants to smoke pot, or the one who wants to ride a motocycle without a helmet. But a true philosophical libertarian is considers taxation for child services to be tyranny, and an illegitimate exercise of government power. Which is why libertarianism will never amount to more than either (a) a tiny fringe political movement, or (b) a more robust movement that is less doctrinaire about what it means to be a libertarian (e.g., Brink Lindsay).

Twin,

I'm not making an argument against funding increases in health coverage through increases in the income tax. My point is specific to taxing people who want to pay more to get more, the so-called Cadillac plans. It doesn't always have to come down to ideologies, I'm making a simple observation about incentives and distortions that such a tax would have. It would be like taxing people who make an effort to have a good relationship with their parents, and the better the relationship the more your taxed.


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