By Paul Krugman (my hero!), on his blog, The Conscience of a Liberal:

"OK, I finally got around to reading Douglas Holtz-Eakin’s op-ed on health care reform. It’s much worse than I thought; time to scratch Holtz-Eakin off my shrinking list of reasonable, reasonably honest conservatives.

"How bad is it? Holtz-Eakin declares that:

Gimmick No. 1 is the way the bill front-loads revenues and backloads spending. That is, the taxes and fees it calls for are set to begin immediately, but its new subsidies would be deferred so that the first 10 years of revenue would be used to pay for only 6 years of spending.
"I think that’s what is technically known as a 'lie." Holtz-Eakin, of all people, knows how to read a CBO report. So he’s perfectly capable of looking at the actual report (pdf) and seeing that the revenues, like the costs, are minimal for the first four years. Here’s the chart:

"His implication that there’s funny business going on is totally false, and he knows it.

"Wait, it gets worse: Holtz-Eakin implies that there are hidden, delayed costs:

Consider, too, the fate of the $70 billion in premiums expected to be raised in the first 10 years for the legislation’s new long-term health care insurance program. This money is counted as deficit reduction, but the benefits it is intended to finance are assumed not to materialize in the first 10 years, so they appear nowhere in the cost of the legislation.
"Claims that the plan is window-dressed to look good in its first decade only to go sour later might sound plausible – except for the fact that the CBO projects bigger deficit-reduction in the second decade of the reform than in the first decade, something that wouldn’t happen if lots of costs were being hidden by being pushed off into the future.

"That said, we do learn something important from Holtz-Eakin’s article. If this is the best critique a conservative budget wonk can come up with – if deliberately misrepresenting how the legislation works is the only way to make it seem irresponsible – then the bill must be pretty sound in fiscal terms."


"If we have no charity and no tolerance,
we shall never settle our differences."

~~Mahatma Gandhi



From On the Ground, by Nicholas Kristof:

"Hillary Clinton has been pushing hard to reframe women’s rights from 'soft issue' to 'security issue.' Obviously that’s partly because soft issues are shunted aside, while the security issues are discussed in the Situation Room and get billions of dollars thrown at them. In an interview with Andrea Mitchell released today, Clinton put it this way:

" 'I think that if you look at this century and you look at the instability, the conflicts that we have in so many places in the world, there’s a direct relationship between the subjugation and oppression of women and extremism. It is therefore in our interest to stand up for the rights of women. Because by doing so, we enhance our own security.'
"I think she’s dead right on that, of course. It’s a point that Sheryl and I made in Half the Sky, citing a fair amount of research. Indeed, I think a pretty good argument can be made that the reason the Islamic world is disproportionately turbulent and has 'bloody fringes,' as Samuel Huntington put it, doesn’t have to do with the Koran or religion in any direct way. Rather, it has to do with the fact that women are more likely to be marginalized in such countries. And when women are repressed, you have high birth rates — and hence a destabilizing youth bulge — and the country takes on the atmosphere of a boy’s locker room or an armed camp. Some American sociologists have argued that the American West was so violent in the 19th century precisely because there were so many young men and so few women.

"In the last few days, Hillary Clinton has been making these arguments right and left (although she has also made them in past years; this isn’t new for her). This is her most coherent speech on the topic; it’s very good and powerful, delivered to the U.N. I just wish that Bob Gates and David Petraeus were giving the same speech. When the Pentagon lists women’s rights as a security issue, that’s the historic milestone we need!"



From Paul Krugman's Blog: Conscience of a Liberal:

"By this time next week we’ll have seen huge headlines about health care. These headlines will either read 'Democrats do it!', followed by various Republicans and their apologists complaining that what the Dems did wasn’t nice, or 'Democrats — losers again', followed by Republicans going bwahahaha.

"And it’s up to a handful of Democrats to decide which headlines we get. They’re out of their minds if they don’t choose door #1."


Thanks to tywkiwdbi  for spotting this from The New Yorker:


"May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow, and may troubles avoid you wherever you go."

~~An Irish Blessing



By Paul Krugman, on his blog, The Concience of a Liberal:

"Well, it seems that Republicans are going all in on the idea that a big reason we have high unemployment is that unemployment benefits reduce the incentive to seek work. Aside from the sheer cruelty, it’s really bad economics, but whatever.

"And I found myself remembering a passage near the beginning of 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre':

" 'Anyone who is willing to work and is serious about it will certainly find a job. Only you must not go to the man who tells you this, for he has no job to offer and doesn’t know anyone who knows of a vacancy. This is exactly the reason why he gives you such generous advice, out of brotherly love, and to demonstrate how little he knows the world.' "