Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

Obama On Health Care: "this Year ... This Administration"
December 11, 2008

At the Chicago press conference, Obama just gave the clearest signal yet that he intends to make health care reform a top priority. After running through the litany of familiar problems--rising costs, faltering coverage, poor quality--he vowed to tackle the problem "this year and in this administration." Afterwards, he confronted head-on the argument that the rough economy makes this a poor time to try health care reform. He noted that economic insecurity and our health care crisis our inextricably linked.

Obama Pushes Harder On Auto Bailout
December 11, 2008

Barack Obama just began his press conference by noting the new unemployment figures and pushing Congress to pass a rescue for Detroit. (Much as Michelle predicted.) "I understand people's anger and frustration" at the auto industry, noting that he had pushed Detroit to build more fuel efficient cars early in his campaign. But, Obama continued, "at this moment of great challenge, we cannot simply stand by and watch this industry collapse. ... doing so would lead to a devastating ripple effect through the economy." He reiterated his pledge for "short-term assistance ...

Public Warming To Detroit, If Not Its Cars
December 11, 2008

Following up on Michelle's post below, take a look at the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which asked respondents whether they favored a bailout for Detroit. The results were 46 percent yes, 42 percent no. That's not exactly a ringing endorsement; as the Journal headline puts it, support is "tepid." But it does seem to represent a shift from as recently as a week ago, when polls showed voters opposing a bailout.

Daschle To Be Named Hhs Secretary (officially)
December 10, 2008

Barack Obama will be holding a press conference in Chicago on Thursday. And it's safe bet that most of the political world will be watching to hear Obama give his first extended remarks about the Rod Blagojevich scandal. But Obama will be making news of another sort, too: He will, according to transition sources, make official the appointment of former Senator Tom Daschle as the Secretary of Health and Human Services. And while that's not exactly news--sources had fingered Daschle as the likely nominee some time ago--Obama's broader statements about health care will be.

Somewhere A Liberal Is Angry...or Maybe Not
December 09, 2008

Apparently liberals are angry at Barack Obama. Well, some liberals. And, come to think of it, they may not actually be angry. They're just a little concerned about some of his cabinet appointments. Or, at least, they were merely concerned until former Obama deputy campaign manager Steve Hildebrand decided on Sunday to post an item on the Huffington Post. It was a message to Obama's progressive critics--something I know, with certainty, because the item's headline was "A Message to Obama's Progressive Critics." In the item--or message, if you prefer--Hildebrand told liberals to calm down.

Money For Detroit--and A Czar To Hand It Out
December 08, 2008

By late Monday night, a rescue for the nation's ailing automakers was looking a lot more likely. Democratic House leaders released the draft of a new plan and White House officials, though raising some objections, indicated that agreement on a package was close. Senate Democrats remained nervous that they might not yet have the votes in their chamber, where it would take 60 votes to break a Republican filibuster.

Some Good News For Working America
December 08, 2008

Today most economists to the left of center will tell you that inequality has been rising for about thirty years, thanks to broader changes in the economy and government's failure to compensate adequately for them. But in the late 1990s, when the economy was humming along, not too many people were making a fuss about this.  Among the few exceptions were Jared Bernstein and his colleagues at the Economic Policy Institute--who repeatedly warned that lower- and middle-income people were not getting their share.

Coming To An Er Near You: The "pre-uninsured."
December 08, 2008

A few weeks ago, a friend who works at a major hospital mentioned that a different kind of patient was increasingly showing up at the emergency room. In addition to the uninsured and underinsured, who'd always been coming, he was seeing more patients who might be best described as "pre-uninsured"--that is, people who were about to lose their jobs and, as a result, their insurance coverage.

Rx For The Economy: A Strong Dose Of Health Reform
December 04, 2008

By now, you've probably heard plenty of pundits explain--some sorrowfully, some not so sorrowfully--that plans for universal health care will have to wait because of the economy. In one popular version of this argument, we can't pursue universal coverage right away because we have to spend what money we have on measures that stimulate growth. And health care reform, this argument contends, wouldn't do that. But why wouldn't it?

Panic in Detroit
December 03, 2008

General Motors has come to Washington, begging for a $25 billion bailout to keep it and its ailing Detroit counterparts going next year. But nobody seems too thrilled about the prospect. Liberals dwell on the companies' gas-guzzling sportutility vehicles. Conservatives obsess over all the well-paid union members with gold-plated benefits. And people of all ideological backgrounds remember how they used to buy domestic cars, years ago, but stopped because the cars were so damn lousy.

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