Links: July 2009

Health care

Small thinking on health care by those who complain of small thinking on health care, by Dean Baker

Good medicine: why not for everyone?, by Dean Baker

Give up a benefit, gain jobs, by Len Burman

House health bill’s high-income surcharge: a reasonable approach, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Does the House bill deal with costs?, by Jonathan Cohn

Obama’s sop to health care ‘fraidy cats, by Jonathan Cohn

The deal with the House blue dogs, by Jonathan Cohn

Why health care reform will pass, by Jonathan Cohn

What is a reasonable compromise on health care reform?, by Peter Dreier

Reforming American health care, The Economist

What McKinsey could teach Obama, by William Galston

Is public opinion re health reform more favorable now than in 1994?, by Andrew Gelman

Paying for health care reform by taxing the rich, by Howard Gleckman

Health care for the blue dogs, by Jacob Hacker

What America will look like without the public option, by Jacob Hacker and Rahul Rajkumar

Hospital shows a way to save: doctors get salaries, not fees, by Gardiner Harris

A doctor by choice, a businessman by necessity, by Sandeep Jauhar

Administrative costs in health care: a primer, by Ezra Klein

All eyes on Reid, by Ezra Klein

A smart (sort of) critique of the public plan, by Ezra Klein

Cost control in France, by Ezra Klein

Health care wonkery live chat, by Ezra Klein

Is health care reform becoming a prisoner’s dilemma?, by Ezra Klein

The five most important pieces of health care reform that aren’t the public plan, by Ezra Klein

The most important part of health care reform: the exchange, by Ezra Klein

The political economy of cost controls, by Ezra Klein

What happened to the moral case for health care reform?, by Ezra Klein

Why worry about obesity?, by Ezra Klein

HELP is on the way, by Paul Krugman

The blue dogs’ incoherence, by Paul Krugman

Why markets can’t cure healthcare, by Paul Krugman

Challenge to health bill: selling reform, by David Leonhardt

Forget who pays; it’s who sets the cost, by David Leonhardt

Health care reform and the unpopular t-word, by David Leonhardt

In health reform, cancer offers an acid test, by David Leonhardt

The good, and the bad, of heart care, by David Leonhardt

Compensating physicians, by Maggie Mahar

Should generous health insurance benefits be taxed?, by Maggie Mahar

America’s healthcare should no longer be tied to jobs, by Matt Miller

Costs and benefits, New York Times

Defying slump, 13 states insure more children, New York Times

Health care reform and you, New York Times

Insured … and broke, by Andrea Orr

House Democrats end impasse on health bill, by Robert Pear and David Herszenhorn

Reach of subsidies is critical issue for health reform, by Robert Pear

Time for the blue dogs to show their true colors, by Steven Pearlstein

How much do doctors in other countries make?, by Catherine Rampell

Tax the wealthy to keep everyone healthy, by Robert Reich

The future of universal health care, as of now, by Robert Reich

A “common sense” American health reform plan, by Uwe Reinhardt

A German import that could benefit U.S. health care, by Uwe Reinhardt

What is a “just” physician’s income?, by Uwe Reinhardt

Why we must ration health care, by Peter Singer

Robust health care reform is the moment of truth for Obama and the Democrats, by Theda Skocpol

Perils of the public plan, by Paul Starr

Equity and efficiency in health care markets, by Mark Thoma

Health care in comparative perspective, by Harold Wilensky

The most important part of health care reform: new regulations on insurers, by Matthew Yglesias

Uninsurance at 300-400% of the poverty line, by Matthew Yglesias

U.S. economy

The timing of the stimulus’ impact, by Dean Baker

Fasten your seatbelts for the jobless recovery, by Brad DeLong

Four ways out, by Brad DeLong

Ten myths about subprime mortgages, by Yuliya Demyanyk (via Mark Thoma)

Can governments increase growth?, by Chris Dillow

Master your labor market statistics, so they don’t master you, by Jeffrey Frankel

That ’30s show, by Paul Krugman

The stimulus trap, by Paul Krugman

The lessons of 1979-82, by Paul Krugman

Obama administration’s economic forecasts were too optimistic, by David Leonhardt

Index of leading indicators is signaling the recession’s end, by Floyd Norris

Changing social ethos is the key, by John Roemer

Spring is here, but contain your excitement, by Joseph Stiglitz

Obama’s strategy to reverse manufacturing’s fall, by Louis Uchitelle

The cautious approach to fixing banks will not work, by Martin Wolf

Reform of regulation has to start by altering incentives, by Martin Wolf

The case for more fiscal stimulus, by Justin Wolfers

The case for ever-bigger government, by Matthew Yglesias

Living standards, poverty, inequality, well-being

Back to the good times on Wall Street, by Lucian Bebchuk and Alma Cohen

Combating poverty by building assets, by Ray Boshara

Social protection for the economic crisis, by Gary Burtless

Intergenerational social mobility, by Orsetta Causa and Asa Johansson

Flexicurity, by Joshua Cohen and Charles Sabel

Inequality and consistency, by Tyler Cohen

Education and equal opportunity, by Brad DeLong

Jobless checks for millions delayed as states struggle, by Jason DeParle

Safety net is fraying for the very poor, by Erik Eckholm

A homespun safety net, by Barbara Ehrenreich

Where unemployment is worse than expected, by Richard Florida

Low-wage schedules and the child care struggle, by

Learning from Canada’s response to winner-take-all inequality, by Jacob Hacker

Mobility without equality?, by Jonathan Hopkin

Obfuscating inequality, by James Kwak

Part-time workers mask unemployment woes, by David Leonhardt

The new joblessness, by Roger Lowenstein

Shorter hours for less pay instead of layoffs, by Richard Milne, Brian Groom, and Jonathan Birdsall

In the unemployment line, and stuck there, by Floyd Norris

The downside of America’s flexible labour market is being exposed, by Sarah O’Connor

Preparing today’s workers for tomorrow’s jobs, by Catherine Rampell

Who is affected by a higher minimum wage?, by Catherine Rampell

Balancing financial invention and consumer protection, by Robert Shiller

The road to gender parity in the workplace, by Pamela Stone

The credit crisis and working America, special report in The American Prospect

Three myths about the Consumer Financial Product Agency, by Elizabeth Warren

Thinking clearly about economic inequality, by Will Wilkinson


More taxes needed, Bruce Bartlett interview with Ezra Klein

Fattening the beast, by Fred Hiatt

Club Wagner, by David Leonhardt

Taxing the (very) rich, by David Leonhardt

The regressive tax that does the work, by Casey Mulligan


Just do it, by Thomas Friedman

Temperature trends, by Paul Krugman


Homeownership’s downsides, by Richard Florida


Testing testing, by Dana Goldstein


Democrats drop key part of bill to assist unions, by Steven Greenhouse

U.S. politics

The Obama method, by Jonathan Chait

“Independent” voters are generally not, by Tom Jacobs

The high cost of failure, by Ezra Klein

The filibuster and democracy, by Ezra Klein

This is not 1932, and Obama is not FDR, by Megan McArdle

Everything you knew about congressional earmarks is wrong, by Lee Sigelman

America’s progressive metros, by Ruy Teixeira

The coming end of the culture wars, by Ruy Teixeira

Class and Sarah Palin, by Matthew Yglesias

Overblown overreach, by Matthew Yglesias


Grading Obama’s Africa speech, by Chris Blattman

Let the usurpers writhe (Iran), by Roger Cohen

Why I love Sweden, by Tyler Cohen

Europe’s households build finances on firmer foundations, by Chris Giles

Not made in Japan, Financial Times

Turkey’s EU bid requires patience, by Benjamin Katcher

The Nordic model, by Richard Milne and Andrew Ward

Mercantilism reconsidered, by Dani Rodrik


Advice on writing research articles, by Andrew Gelman

The invisible hand, trumped by Darwin, by Robert H. Frank

Maker’s schedule, manager’s schedule, by Paul Graham (via Stephen Dubner)

Obama, Gates, and the American black man, by Glenn Loury

Same-sex marriage and constitutional law, by Martha Nussbaum

The Hobbesian world of Democrats, by Lee Sigelman

Why are southerners so fat?, Time (via Tyler Cohen)

1 thought on “Links: July 2009

  1. Prof. Kenworthy,

    I’m trying to understand the connection, if any, between these two facts. Can you help me? From Worthwhile Canadian Initiative:

    I’m having a really rough time understanding this problem. You suggest taxing the highest incomes, but here’s Lane Kenworthy:

    “As the following chart shows, inequality reduction is achieved not through taxation but with government transfers (and services)”

    He does like these taxes for the US:

    “Two other progressive tax reforms are worth pursuing, though they would affect some in the bottom 95%. One is to reduce or end the homeownership subsidy. More than 80% of the $160 billion in foregone revenues from the deduction for mortgage interest and property tax payments goes to households in the top income quintile. The other is to introduce a modest tax on financial transactions.”

    Here’s his final point, where he does talk about taxes again:

    “Moderate or high levels of tax revenue can’t come solely from higher rates or new taxes on the rich; the math simply doesn’t work. To significantly increase spending on transfers and/or services, President Obama and/or his successors will need to increase taxes on the middle class. One way to do this would be via a federal consumption tax, such as a value-added tax (VAT). We have state and local consumption (sales) taxes, but we raise less money from consumption taxes than any other rich country. Consumption taxes are regressive, and for that reason they’re often dismissed by the American left. But they can be tweaked to limit the degree of regressivity. And if the money is put to progressive use, the benefits may outweigh this drawback.”

    But then how do we explain this, from Donald Marron:

    “In a series of posts (most recent here), I’ve documented that Americans are getting an increasing portion of their income from the government.

    BEA released new data on incomes a couple weeks ago, including revisions back to 1995. These data reinforce the story I’ve described in my previous posts:

    * Transfers accounted for 17.3% of personal income in June. That’s the second highest in history, topped only by the 18.2% recorded in May, when transfers were boosted by one-time payments from this year’s stimulus act:”

    In other words, since 1960, govt transfers as a portion of personal income has gone up from 6% to 18%. And yet we have rising inequality!?

    Now, I’ve asked Krugman and De Long about this, and gotten no answer. Here’s a possibility from David Hilfiker:

    “And that leads to the second major straightforward cause of inequality in the country: the relatively low levels of government wealth transfer from the rich to the poor. By “wealth transfer” I mean both the effects of government taxation and the effects of government programs. There are obvious transfers of wealth like food stamps or welfare payments, but there are other more important sources of this wealth transfer. For instance, universal health care benefits everyone about equally, so, in essence, government-funded health care transfers wealth from the rich to the poor. Public education, social security, Medicaid, and Medicare are other examples.

    Examining the statistics, one finds that it is this differential in wealth transfer that actually accounts for most of the difference in inequality between the United States and European countries. If you use the same international method to calculate poverty rates for the United States, Canada and Western Europe and if you calculate those rates before any government transfer of wealth, it turns out that the US poverty rate is among the lowest. But if you calculate that poverty rate after government transfers, the US poverty rate is by far the highest at 18% (the United Kingdom is 13% but all other European countries are 8% or under). So, the primary reason that other developed societies are more equal than American society is that, in essence, they take money from the rich and give it to the poor.

    In other words, while some of the causes of American inequality are complex and would be fairly complicated to do anything about, two of the most important causes—taxes and government programs—are not complex at all and would theoretically be easy to correct.”

    And here’s what’s funny: I’m a Milton Friedman Democrat, and he loves Naomi Klein’s book, which, as you can guess, I don’t. But I agree with him! I agree with him about Inequality in general. He also likes the EITC. I prefer a Guaranteed Income. As Milton Friedman said, it has the benefit of focusing money on the poorest in our society. The only thing that I disagree with him about, and, here I disagree with you as well, is the effectiveness of tax increases on the top earners for Lane Kenworthy’s reasons:

    I wonder where you come down on this issue?

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