Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Krugman on Obama

Is anyone else as fed up as I am at Krugman's continual sniping at Obama? Is he looking for a job with Hilary? As hard-hitting as he has been on the War, doesn't it count with him at all thatClinton voted for, while Obama voted against, the thinly-disguised authorization of the use of force against Iran last year?


sockrateaser said...

My feeling exactly. I think a number of people are pretty bored with the routine, and are wondering why he doesn't criticize Hillary.

PGL said...

Paul has said he does not wish to return to the policy arena. He does seem to be critiquing what Obama has been saying on a lot of issues, but isn't that what we economist bloggers tend to do naturally? Now when Paul may be off, we have the Dean Bakers of the world to challenge him. And there does seem to be an interesting exchange between Paul and Dean on this health care issue. Sure beats the neocon and free lunch supply-side nonsense that permeates the GOP debates.

Jack said...

Krugman's focus does seem to be a bit too much on the inadequacies of Obama's heaqlth care plank and not sufficiently critical of Clinton's plank. Given the exigencies of legislative compromise, there seems to be little difference between the two.
I don't see either as being sufficiently pro universal coverage. Both seem to refuse to come foursquare behind a single payer system which seems to be the likeliest way to achieve universal and affordable health care. Edwards had the better position, as noted here:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/25/us/politics/25edwards.html?fta=y. But voters, being as they are, seem to like hearing the platitudes and ideologies of the two front runners
versus specific details and committment to thoughs details.

wellbasically said...

Arguing on the facts and figures is of course silly, who knows what's going to happen in Congress?

In the spirit of the thing, Hillary is probably more coercive and intrusive, and I'd argue that's why Krugman likes her plan better, because he wants more government control of the market and the behavior of those wacky young people.

dale said...

the workings of the market can be even more coercive and intrusive than the workings of a democratic government.

dale said...

And to Kevin's question- No. I'm not fed up with PG's sniping at BO.
As long as he keeps doing Harry and Louise adds and talks about the "crisis" in Social Security he needs PK's help and criticism.

wellbasically said...

--market can be even more coercive

::: buying government influence to make laws which force people to buy your product.

Jack said...

Or buying legislative influence (It's never governmental influence. It's influence over the jack-asses we send to the Congress to enact legislation for the "good" of the people.)in the Congress in order to assure that corporate/business interests out weight all other considerations. Oh my, I almost forgot. That's what we have right now, resulting in a health care system that favors the interests of the insurance and drug industries. The medical providers are lucky to maintain their own financial health.

I meet a great many physicians in my line of work, (no, they're not broke) but they all say that they would rather bill Medicare than the private 3rd party payers. As good, or better, fee structure and less gate-keeper confrontation.

Bruce Webb said...

"Given the exigencies of legislative compromise, there seems to be little difference between the two. "

Then why is Obama on the attack? I am not fed up with Krugman's continual sniping, after Obama's throughly loathsome Harry and Louse ad attacking Clinton's mandates he deserves every bit on scorn on this issue that he gets.

In the words of the old westerns Obama opened the ball. He attacked Hillary for having no plan for Social Security when in fact no plan is actually the right plan given what we know, and he is going full out attacking her for calling for health care mandates which after all are a feature of single payer. He decided to pick a fight from a stance to the right of Hillary on both these issues and he is getting some push back. Good.

People are projecting progressive ideas onto Obama that he shows no practical sense of sharing. His economic team is a freaking train wreck waiting to happen and every bit of campaign rhetoric that comes out of his mouth indicates that oddly enough he is taking specific advice from specific chosen advisors. That is not a good thing.

Krugman just has unusually attentive hearing when it comes to economics. He doesn't like what he is hearing from Obama's dog whistle and after investigation into the background neither do I. Ignore PK at your peril.

Jack said...

Granted that it's only my opinion, but the problems represented by both front running Democrats is that they are both less than great choices. H.C. is a graduate, with an advanced degree, from DLC University with all the duplicity to the middle-class that that implys. Obama hasn't said any thing that I can interpret as concrete and specific. Lots of ideological, feel good rhetoric. Even with those issues that he seems clearer on, pulling out of Iraq for example, there seems to be enough generality in the plan to drive an armored vehicle through.

The only saving grace is that both are far better prospects than the clowns being offered up by the GOP.
McCain is trying hard to sound like Bush the 3rd. Lord knows why.
Romney's biggest issue seems to be forging ahead with globalization and the retention of upper bracket tax relief. A true-blue corporatist is just what the vast unthinking majority will appreciate for another several years. We're not yet all in the poor house, so there's more work to be done.

kevin quinn said...

Bruce, don't mince words! (-;

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Regarding health care, I have not seen Obama's nasty ad, but I would say that Edwards' plan better than Hillary's plan better than Obama's plan. Of course, single payer is probably better than all three, but the unpleasant reality is that it probably cannot be sold to the Congress given the heavy duty special interests that would come out blazing against it.

Regarding social security, I have criticized in this venue Obama's questioning of Hillary of what she would do, given that I agree with John Kerry from 2004 that nothing should be done. However, I do not trust Hillary much on this issue, even if she was on the receiving end of inappropriate questioning in my view. After all, she supports following the recommendations of a bipartisan commission, and we know that such a beast will come up with all kinds of nasty Republican crud.

At least Obama's proposal is simply to lift the income cap on FICA taxation. The problem with that is not so much with it itself, but just as with Hillary's "plan," there is no way to get just that through the Senate. The Republicans would denounce it as a tax increase and demand their usual set of nasty crud in order to go along with that, future benefit cuts, privatization, and so on.

In any case, Bruce is right. The right answer on Social Security is to do nothing, to preserve it and defend it as it is.


Ken Houghton said...

What Bruce Fucking-A Webb Said.

I'll be tired of the "attacks" when they cease to be true.

wellbasically can bl*w me; "arguing on facts and figures" is what no one did enough of going into 2000, and going into a negotiation without anything left to compromise except how much money you want to piss away into Hank Greenberg's hands is a sh*tty way to play poker.

In 1980, at least John Anderson stood up and said, "You do it with mirrors." And Lloyd Bentsen in the much-maligned Dukakis campaign noted "let me write $200MM in hot checks."

Now, Kevin Quinn is whining because Krugman is calling out the substance of Obama's attacks. I'm sorry if you're going to vote solely based on Obama not having been a Senator in 2002, Mr. Quinn, but we can't stop you doing that. And maybe you'll get enough young-uns to vote for the ObamaNation that he'll beat the challenger.

But when you have major deficits and those SocSec payments that PGL and I have been making since 1983 get diverted to "save" SS/Med/Med because your man can't get his sh*t together but still calls it "affordable health care" (following in the grand tradition of Clear Skies and NCLB), we'll know who was whining about how unfair it is to call out someone who is economically incorrect, not just someone who pretends to blog as one.

Jack said...

Ken, Your post lacks conviction and, as a result, is unconvincing. It's not clear who you're trying to criticize. Kevin is "whinning" because he's dissatisfied with Krugman's critique of Obama, but "Bruce F'..A Webb" said something you agree with?? I hope you'll not find too much to agree with amongst the words I put up on this site. While I don't necessarily agree with wellbasicly, that is one weird anonym, I'm not sure he's cute enough to suggest such an activity.
Unless, of course, you're hard up and not too choosy.

The point is Ken, your point has gotten completely obscured by your vehemence. Basic rule of thumb in any debate, don't blow your cool. That gives your adversary a target to shoot at that is of the mark of the issue, which is just what the opponent wants. Stay cool. Go to the next Obama rally in your neighborhood. Be very up beat. Hoot and holler at all the right times and words. If you can't get laid in that atmosphere you're plumb out of chances.

sporadic said...

"People are projecting progressive ideas onto Obama that he shows no practical sense of sharing"

Well put, Bruce. Obama has seldom been scrutinized for what he says and thinks. Instead, he has been admired for the moment he represents.

If I'm reading PK right, this is precisely why he is sniping-somebody should and few actually are.

As an aside-and I know that most political slogans are fairly lightweight-does it really get any more vapid than "Change we can believe in"?

BruceMcF said...

The point on the health care debate is straightforward. Less than 1 in 20 of people represent more than 50% of cost ... if we have a system where people can wait until they wreck the car before buying the car insurance, that presents an obvious moral hazard problem.

However, Obama thought it was politically expedient to have no mandate, and is now trying to patch over the fact that a pay or play system with a choice between public and private coverage, community rating, and no exclusions for pre-existing conditions does not really work without a mandate.

If Obama is going to continue claiming to have a Universal Health Care system, and do so on the basis of a proposal that is not workable, he's going to attract criticism of that policy. If Krugman was to refrain from making that critique simply because it was Obama, that's when I would suspect him of angling for a job.

And, yes, single payer would be better, but as long as a majority of Americans express satisfaction with their coverage, even as a majority express dissatisfaction with our health care system, then single-payer can always be hit over the head with the political club of, "they are going to take away your health care plan and replace it with {mumble}"

One reason that I liked the way that Edwards plan had public and private plans competing head to head in a Health Care Market is that it made for a far more direct opportunity for people to vote for the public plan with their feet ... and once most people are in a public plan, switching to single payer is much more politically straightforward.

Bruce Webb said...

What bothers me about Obama's current line is the tone and tactic. Having a message that "Hillary is going to force you to have health care, even if you don't want too' with the implication that government coercion is inherently bad, while fronting a Cutler/Goolsbee approach that asserts that market solutions are always both more fair and more efficient is just to use the story line the economic right has developed over the last thirty years.

Well sorry all taxation has an element of coercion. It doesn't matter if you don't like public roads, or public courts, or public schools, or paying 8.25% sales tax on your jeans. Sometimes social goods require social solutions paid out of resources involuntarily collected by the government from your pocket in order to 'promote the general welfare'.

A large number of progressives have decided on grounds of social and economic justice that a system of tax supported health care delivery is going to be both more efficient and more fair than the current insurance based plan. Under single payer you will be forced to pay for coverage, that is not the 'Road to Serfdom', that is part of the cost of living in a democratic society.

""forcing those who cannot afford health insurance to buy it through mandates … punishing those who don't fall in line with fines."
'forcing' 'punishing' that kind of language is just to fall into the libertarian-lite tax is theft trap. Yeah you have to pay taxes and there are penalties for failing to do so, that is the nature of taxation. Obama is using language suggesting that the Clinton Mandate man will show up at your door with a black hood and an axe. Well this isn't Hagar the Horrible.

Even with added efficiencies Single Payer at least initially will require some extra financial sacrifice from at at least some people. Well delivery of social goods does not in fact come free, in the phrase of our loony friends TANSTAAFL. True enough, but not reason enough to leave people starving in the streets. Morally Single Payer is the right thing to do, done right the additonal costs will be fully compensated by the pragmatic greatest good for greatest number outcomes, and I don't care if that hurts Goolsbee's tender preferences for market solutions in everything.

Randall said...

I'm supporting Obama over Clinton, but I'm not happy about the choice. Krugman's attacks on Obama are actually relatively mild. He hasn't pointed out that Obama, in spite of his vote against giving Bush the right to invade Iran, has said that he would do whatever was necessary to stop Iran's effort to get a nuclear weapon (without mentioning that such an effort is alleged without a scintilla of proof by the Bush administration).

He hasn't pointed out that Obama said he would attack Pakistan. He hasn't pointed out that Obama has said nothing about sustained poverty or even about race.

Is Obama better than Clinton? Sure. But is Obama the right guy for the job. Not even close. He's just the only guy that has a chance that is even tolerable.

Want to attack Krugman? Attack him for his failure to have supported John Edwards until he delivered a blog eulogy for Edwards' campaign after that campaign ended.