Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

A Government Takeover Of Health Care? If Only!
September 26, 2008

"I want families making decisions about health care, not the federal government." This, of course, is John McCain's--and every conservative's--favorite line about proposals for universal health care. So in case anybody is visiting this site for the first time, and perhaps hasn't followed this debate, here are the essential points. 1. Obama has not proposed to have the federal government take over health insurance. He would set standards for what private insurance must provide--and how private insurance carriers must sell their policies.

Obama Tells It Like It Is On Economics
September 26, 2008

Obama just gave a terrific, honest explanation of his economic agenda. He didn't deny that he proposes some increased spending, but he explained what that spending will go for: clean energy, education, and (mostly) a universal health insurance system. "I think those are pretty important priorities and I pay for them." And then he pointed out that his tax reform, unlike McCain's, will both raise revenue (at least present to current policy) and shower most of its benefits on the poor and middle-class.

So Which Negotiation Was John Mccain Watching?
September 26, 2008

Quick debate thought: Listening to John McCain praise the bipartisan negotiations over a Wall Street bailout just now, you'd never know this is the same guy who abruptly inserted himself into the middle of those negotiations--and, by nearly all accounts, disrupted them. --Jonathan Cohn

House Dems Not So Enthusiastic, Either
September 26, 2008

With all the talk about rank-and-file House Republicans opposing a Wall Street bailout, it's worth noting a point emphasized to me by some Capitol Hill sources today: Rank-and-file House Democrats aren't so enthusastic, either. Some Dems aren't sure a bailout--or, at least, this kind of bailout--is even necessary, a view liberal economist James K. Galbraith expressed yesterday in the Washington Post. And many are concerned, as Bob Reich is, that the supposed concessions on protection for homeowners, taxpayer equity, and CEO pay don't concede enough.

Mccain Didn't Bother To Read The Bailout Plan?
September 25, 2008

Here's John McCain talking about the proposed financial bailout, during an interview with a local television station from Cleveland. The Obama campaign is sending the video around, and I can see why. Pay particular attention to the final few seconds, when McCain says he hasn't had a chance to read the actual proposal. I assume he's referring here to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's proposed bailout. But it's possible he's referring to the alternative package Senator Christopher Dodd crafted. The context isn't entirely clear. It doesn't really mater, though.

More Radical Than Bush
September 24, 2008

John Goodman is a conservative economist who thinks all the fuss over people without health insurance is just hooey. As Goodman explained to a reporter from The Dallas Morning News last week, everybody can get medical care from an emergency room, so why not just stop tallying the uninsured altogether? "Voila," Goodman quipped. "Problem solved." Like many far-right policy experts, Goodman had said such things before. But, unlike many far-right policy experts, Goodman isn't just some random wonk. As the Morning News noted, Goodman had helped craft McCain's health care plan.

More Radical Than Bush
September 24, 2008

John Goodman is a conservative economist who thinks all the fuss over people without health insurance is just hooey. As Goodman explained to a reporter from The Dallas Morning News last week, everybody can get medical care from an emergency room, so why not just stop tallying the uninsured altogether? "Voil à," Goodman quipped. "Problem solved." Like many far-right policy experts, Goodman had said such things before. But, unlike many far-right policy experts, Goodman isn't just some random wonk. As the Morning News noted, Goodman had helped craft McCain's health care plan.

Mccain Suspending Campaign. This Is "country First"?
September 24, 2008

As you may have heard, John McCain just announced he's suspending his campaign--and asking to postpone Friday's debate--so that he can return to Washington and help negotiate a solution to the nation's financial crisis. He also says he's asked Barack Obama to join him.  While I am willing believe that McCain's interest in bipartisan reform is sincere, it's hard not to see at least some gamesmanship at work here. The McCain campaign has been reeling for the last few days and it's fast becoming apparent voters simply don't trust him on the economy as much as they trust Obama.

We've Secretly Replaced Your Spineless Tv Anchors With...
September 24, 2008

Yesterday on CNN, anchor Campbell Brown went into a self-described rant against the McCain campaign. The occasion was yesterday's now-infamous attempt to bar producers and reporters from accompanying news cameras as Palin met with some world leaders at the United Nations. The attempt, as my colleague Michelle Cottle notes below, was largely successful. But it also inspired a backlash, ranging from snarky wire story leads to Brown's on-air condemnation.

So Is It $700 Billion--or Is It More?
September 23, 2008

Earlier today, an economist I know pointed out this passage in Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's proposal: The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time. Note those words in bold. A fair reading of that passage, the economist suggested, is that the magical $700 billion figure we keep hearing is a limit not on total federal outlays, but only on the outlays at one time.

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