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Fri Dec 7, 2012, 07:15 PM

Krugman: I Hope This Isnít True

I Hope This Isnít True

Ezra Klein says that the shape of a fiscal cliff deal is clear: only a 37 percent rate on top incomes, and a rise in the Medicare eligibility age.

Iím going to cross my fingers and hope that this is just a case of creeping Broderism, that itís a VSP fantasy about how weíre going to resolve this in a bipartisan way. Because if Obama really does make this deal, there will be hell to pay.

First, raising the Medicare age is terrible policy. It would be terrible policy even if the Affordable Care Act were going to be there in full force for 65 and 66 year olds, because it would cost the public $2 for every dollar in federal funds saved. And in case you havenít noticed, Republican governors are still fighting the ACA tooth and nail; if they block the Medicaid expansion, as some will, lower-income seniors will just be pitched into the abyss.

Second, why on earth would Obama be selling Medicare away to raise top tax rates when he gets a big rate rise on January 1 just by doing nothing? And no, vague promises about closing loopholes wonít do it...So this looks crazy to me; it looks like a deal that makes no sense either substantively or in terms of the actual bargaining strength of the parties....If anyone in the White House is seriously thinking along these lines, please stop it right now.

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/07/i-hope-this-isnt-true/

I'll go with "VSP fantasy."

Klein:

<...>

Thatís not a policy I like much, but New York magazineís Jonathan Chait accurately conveys the White House thinking here: They see it as having ďweirdly disproportionate symbolic power,Ē as itís not a huge (or smart) cut to Medicare benefits, and most of the pain will be blunted by the Affordable Care Act. But Republicans and self-styled deficit hawks see it as a big win. And Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who staunchly opposes raising the retirement age, has stopped well short of ruling it out.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/07/the-fiscal-cliff-deal-comes-clearer-a-37-top-tax-rate-and-a-higher-medicare-eligibility-age/

Klein is basically selling Chait's idiotic idea:

<...>

Whatís more, raising the Medicare retirement age would help strengthen the fight to preserve the Affordable Care Act. Republicans may be coming to grips with their lack of leverage over the Bush tax cuts, but their jihad against universal health insurance lives on. Having narrowly lost their wildly tendentious legal argument for striking down health care, they are devising newer and even more implausible ones. Republican governors continue to turn down federal funding to cover their poorest uninsured citizens and refuse to set up private insurance exchanges.

The political basis for the rightís opposition to universal health insurance has always been that the uninsured are politically disorganized and weak. But a side effect of raising the Medicare retirement age would be that a large cohort of 65- and 66-year-olds would suddenly find themselves needing the Affordable Care Act to buy their health insurance. Which is to say, Republicans attacking the Affordable Care Act would no longer be attacking the usual band of very poor or desperate people they can afford to ignore but a significant chunk of middle-class voters who have grown accustomed to the assumption that they will be able to afford health care. Strengthening the political coalition for universal coverage seems like a helpful side benefit ó possibly even one conservatives come to regret, and liberals, to feel relief they accepted.

http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/12/go-ahead-raise-the-medicare-retirement-age.html

Fuck Republicans.

I mean, it's fairly idiotic to bargain based on what Republicans want. They have no fucking leverage.

The goal isn't to move Medicare recipients to the ACA, it's to strengthen health care reform to make it more in line with Medicare.

Krugman: Itís Health Care Costs, Stupid
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021922243

Greg Sargent has a better read on Boehner's position:

John Boehner nervously eyes the clock
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021941791

Boehner's has three choices:

1) Accept the President's proposal with "dividends to be taxed as ordinary income" and the "estate tax to be levied at 45 percent on inheritances over $3.5 million."

2) Pass the Senate bill, "which currently taxes inheritances over $5 million at 35 percent," but excludes Obama's dividend proposal.

3) Go over the cliff when "the estate tax is scheduled to rise to 55 percent beginning with inheritances exceeding $1 million."

In each case, the tax cuts for the rich end.

G.O.P. Balks at White House Plan on Fiscal Crisis
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/30/us/politics/fiscal-talks-in-congress-seem-to-reach-impasse.html

15 replies, 1691 views

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Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 15 replies Author Time Post
Reply Krugman: I Hope This Isnít True (Original post)
ProSense Dec 2012 OP
gkhouston Dec 2012 #1
ProSense Dec 2012 #3
gkhouston Dec 2012 #6
ProSense Dec 2012 #13
kentuck Dec 2012 #2
bluestateguy Dec 2012 #4
ProSense Dec 2012 #5
We are Devo Dec 2012 #15
JaneyVee Dec 2012 #7
ProSense Dec 2012 #8
JaneyVee Dec 2012 #9
ProSense Dec 2012 #10
JaneyVee Dec 2012 #11
wildbilln864 Dec 2012 #12
red dog 1 Dec 2012 #14

Response to ProSense (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 07:24 PM

1. A lot of people are flapping around trying to make it look "inevitable".

Oddly enough, the same Serious People are far less chatty about "inevitable" cuts to Defense spending. And cutting oil subsidies? Inconceivable!

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Response to gkhouston (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 07:34 PM

3. Exactly!

It's the new bullshit tactic: Make idiotic claims seem like trial balloon.

If you go to Chait's piece, it starts out like this:

Yesterday, Greg Sargent asked Nancy Pelosi about the prospect of raising the Medicare retirement age. Pelosi chooses her words very, very carefully, so read her answer very, very carefully:

ďI am very much against that, and I think most of my members are,Ē Pelosi said in an interview with me today. ďI donít see any reason why that should be in any agreement.Ē Ö

<...>

Chait goes on to present his thinking.

Enter Ezra Klein with this characterization of Chait's thinking:

Thatís not a policy I like much, but New York magazineís Jonathan Chait accurately conveys the White House thinking here...

Really? If you don't like it, why the hell are you pushing it. Better yet, why the hell are you claiming Chait's idea "accurately conveys the White House thinking" when no one in the WH is pushing this?

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Response to ProSense (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 07:55 PM

6. This is what happens when you policy-wonk for the sake of being wonky

and not for the sake of the people impacted by the policy.

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Response to gkhouston (Reply #6)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 09:20 PM

13. Yup. In fact, it's

more rationalizing than anything.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 07:31 PM

2. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory?

I hope not.

That's not horse shit - that's chocolate pudding!

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 07:44 PM

4. Ezra Pound is an inexperienced kid who has no business at a national newspaper

He pulls all that crap out of his ass with BS anonymous sources.

He ought to be doing the transportation beat for the Wichita Eagle, not musing Georgetown Cocktail Party rumors in the Washington Post.

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Response to bluestateguy (Reply #4)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 07:54 PM

5. Ezra Klein is a good policy wonk

but he has a tendency to push these right-leaning proposals using the argument that this is as good as it gets.

It's bullshit. This proposal is basically give Republicans, who have absolutely no leverage, what they want because, hell, we can if we want to.

Ridiculous.

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Response to bluestateguy (Reply #4)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 10:07 PM

15. Ezra Pound?

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 07:58 PM

7. IF that's the plan, it's complete BS. A 2% tax hike?? Why bother.

Some "shared sacrifice"! Millions & millions get medicare cut so only 0.7% of the country pays 2% higher taxes?!!

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #7)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 08:30 PM

8. It's completely bizarre.

It's disturbing that anyone would try to sell this as a rational proposal. I mean, WTF?

Chait's piece is very bizarre. He's positioning this ridiculous proposal as a counter to Republican attacks on ACA:

Whatís more, raising the Medicare retirement age would help strengthen the fight to preserve the Affordable Care Act. Republicans may be coming to grips with their lack of leverage over the Bush tax cuts, but their jihad against universal health insurance lives on. Having narrowly lost their wildly tendentious legal argument for striking down health care, they are devising newer and even more implausible ones. Republican governors continue to turn down federal funding to cover their poorest uninsured citizens and refuse to set up private insurance exchanges.

Um, what?

Idiocy: Raise Medicare to strengthen ACA because Republicans lost the legal argument and the election, but they're going to keep trying?

Republican Governors are going to do what?

Christie Vetoes Bill That Would Establish Obamacare Exchange
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021937786

Bring it on, assholes.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #8)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 08:42 PM

9. So this is just a rumor so far?

Please say YES.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #9)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 08:46 PM

10. No, it's not even a rumor

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Response to ProSense (Reply #10)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 08:54 PM

11. OK, thanks, I'm calming down a bit.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 08:57 PM

12. k & r! nt

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 09:22 PM

14. Krugman is right...."It's Health Care Costs, Stupid"

Too bad Krugman isn't part of the White House Fiscal Cliff Negotiations Team.

Meanwhile, Krugman also is right on the money (literally) as far as how much would be saved if the Medicare eligibility age is raised, as opposed to how much money would be raised by tax hikes.
"So I thought I'd look at the dollars and cents.-- and even I am somewhat shocked.
Those tax hikes would raise $1.6 trillion over the next decade, according to the CBO,
raising the Medicare age would save $113 billion in federal funds over the next decade."
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/01/what-defines-a-serious-debt-proposal/


Would raising the cutoff point to $500,000 draw enough House Republicans over to the Democratic side?

WARREN BUFFETT'S $250k DIFFERENCE OF OPINION WITH OBAMA
"Warren Buffett says he supports President Barack Obama's efforts to eliminate the Bush-era tax cuts for wealthy Americans, but he disagrees on where to draw the line.
In an op-ed piece in the New York Times...Buffet writes that the cutoff should be
maybe $500,000 or so."
http://www.nbcnews.com/business/warren-buffetts-250k-difference-opinion-obama-1C7206891/


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