Suzy Khimm

Teddy's Bear
April 01, 2009

Orrin Hatch, health care reform's stealth champion?

South Africa Is Holding A Peace Conference. Yippee!
March 24, 2009

And it won't allow that Dalai Lama to speak...or even let him into the country. So the question is: will Sudanese President al-Bashir be there? And will the police of the republic hand him over to the International Criminal Court?

Lift Your Pitchforks To The Sky
March 20, 2009

Marching in a circle outside AIG's Washington office, their pitchforks--er, protest signs--raised to the sky, a dozen left-wing activists chanted their demands. "Jail them, don't bail them!" they shouted outside the insurance giant's building on K Street. "Stop the bonuses, stop the crime, AIG crooks must do time!" Organized by the Party for Socialism and Liberation, with assistance from the anti-war ANSWER Coalition, today's midday protest was intended to send the message that slashing the bonuses wouldn't be enough to quell the popular fury against the banks.

Best Of The Blogs: Aig Bonus Edition
March 19, 2009

The Economist: The infamous bonuses were offered because "people were weighing offers from other firms, and AIG executives feared that too many departures could lead to disaster...The much-vilified Rush Limbaugh has been pointing this out for days. Panicky Republicans and Democrats have not explained that AIG was bailed out in the first place because it was collapsing, and bringing down countless investors and homeowners in the process. If the bonuses kept AIG working, then they had a purpose. But few people with political power are really saying this.

They Were Against It Before They Were For It
March 18, 2009

This week, Republican leaders have leapt to join the populist outcry against the bonuses that ailing insurance giant AIG has awarded its executives. But such rants against executive earnings mark a remarkable about-face for the right flank of the party, which condemned President Obama's decision to set limits on executive pay just last month. "I really don't want the government to take over these businesses and start telling them everything about what they can do." Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told ABC News in February, when asked about Obama's proposed limits on executive compensation.

The Business Lobby Still Wants To Play Nice
March 01, 2009

As Jonathan pointed out last week, it may be strategically wise for Obama to remain vague on his plan for health care in the budget--thus keeping "potentially hostile lobbies from going ballistic" and buying the Democrats more time to keep everyone on board. This strategy at least seems to have succeeded with the Business Roundtable, the powerful lobbying group that came out strongly against Clinton's 1993 health care plan. You'd imagine that a lobby representing major corporations would be livid about the proposed tax hikes for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.

The Young And Not-so-invincible
February 19, 2009

Conservatives often dwell on "the young invincibles"--young adults who opt out of buying health insurance not because they can't afford to do so, but because they don't think they need to be covered. On Fox News's "Hannity & Colmes," for example, Dick Morris claimed last year that most of the uninsured "are for the most part young, single people who don't want health insurance and haven't bought it because they don't want it." And if people are voluntarily choosing to be uninsured, the thinking goes, we don't really need to enact sweeping reforms that would make coverage more available.

Can Hillary Help Liberate Burma?
February 18, 2009

Hillary Clinton has indicated that the United States is considering a major shift in its policy toward Burma, most notably by lifting the economic sanctions that have restricted trade and investment in one of the world's most brutalizing regimes.

Why Paying Smokers To Quit Could Save Us Money
February 16, 2009

Should we pay people to quit smoking? A new study has shown that significantly more smokers will quit if they're paid by someone else to do so. Researchers tracked over 870 employees from General Electric for a year and a half, giving out payments of up to $750 to smokers who quit. Participants who were paid to quit were nearly three times as likely to quit as those who didn't receive the cash, according to findings published last week in The New England Journal of Medicine. Encouraged by the success of the trial, G.E.

Wyden's Political Balancing Act
February 12, 2009

It's easy to forget now, but the Democrat who re-introduced "universal health insurance" to the political lexicon a few years ago wasn't Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or even Ted Kennedy. It was Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, who shortly after the 2006 midterm elections proposed a comprehensive reorganization of health care that would give everybody coverage. The plan, which Wyden dubbed the "Healthy Americans Act," got a great deal of publicity and attracted some impressively bipartisan support.