Home / General / Well, Somebody’s Unprincipled Here

Well, Somebody’s Unprincipled Here


Shorter Lambert: That Paul Krugman is such an unprincipled hack. Everyone knows that Hillary Clinton’s health care reform plan is acceptable only when it’s proposed by Hillary Clinton. And he’s so ill-informed about American politics he doesn’t understand that Joe Lieberman, Evan Bayh, Mary Landrieu, and the many other staunch liberals in the Senate were desperate to support single payer, and Obama DIDN’T. EVEN. TRY!

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  • OT, but regarding the ACA, I’ve got a single data point! Everyone in my eight-person firm has now completed sign-up through the “New York State of Health”* website. We all got coverage slightly better than our previous (cancelled by HIP) pretty-good plan, the same dependents are covered as before, and our monthly bill dropped $1300.

    In other words, even in a state that had good regulation of the worst tendencies of the insurance companies, the ACA can help. I’d still prefer single-payer, but I’ll take what I can get.

    *Also, too, whoever came up with that name needs to die a miserable death.

    • Anna in PDX

      Ha ha, that is a pretty funny name! Do they use the song as a theme in their ads? Cover Oregon has the cheesiest ads though.

      • If they’ve advertised, I haven’t seen it. I’d be more forgiving of that humor if they hadn’t designed a website that works best with Chrome and second-best with IE.

        • Vance Maverick

          In the late ’80s, when I lived in radio distance of the Mets, I heard a lot of the state lottery jingle: “Lot-to (Lot-to) — New York’s in a winning state of mind!” Evidently the same poet’s still at work in Albany.

        • rbcoover

          I see NY State of Health ads on the teevee constantly. Mercifully, they do not use the song.

          Although you can get coverage if working too hard gives you a HEART ATTACK-ACK-ACK-ACK-ACK!

          • My avoidance of non-DVD TV seems to be working in my favor.

    • howard

      similar story, in that i too live in a state with good insurance regulation.

      in brief, thanks to the wonderfulness of the american health-care system, my wife and i are on different policies (and our son is on my wife’s policy), and we are both in the individual market.

      since i earn too much to qualify for a subsidy, i wasn’t in any particular hurry to check out the exchange, but about a week ago, i finally did. the brief field report goes like this:

      a.) an utterly fantastic experience. i’m not a complete idiot, but even so, i have never really been able to comparison shop health insurance and now it was very easy to. as i told my parents, i totally didn’t expect such a transformative experience.

      b.) the net effect is that my cost is going up a little but my wife and son’s costs are going down to the point where it nets out in our favor by about $200/month, and in both cases, we are getting better coverage. i totally did not expect that.

      as stories like n_b’s and mine get better known….

      manwhile, fwiw, as long as i’m up, anyone expecting to discuss health insurance with open-minded people who are interested in facts should, of course, familiarize themselves with the most current kaiser foundation employer-provided health insurance survey. here’s the summary:

      Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $16,351 this year, up 4 percent from last year, with workers on average paying $4,565 toward the cost of their coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) 2013 Employer Health Benefits Survey released today. During the same period, workers’ wages and general inflation were up 1.8 percent and 1.1 percent respectively.

      This year’s rise in premiums remains moderate by historical standards. Since 2003, premiums have increased 80 percent, nearly three times as fast as wages (31 percent) and inflation (27 percent).

      p.s. amusingly enough, the total cost of our insurance will be somewhere right around $16k a year, which means, in a nutshell, that at long last, as an individual, i have at least the same insurance purchasing power as a major corporation….

      • howard

        btw, i should be clear that that was my state’s exchange, not healthcare.gov.

        • To your point about comparison shopping I think this is a truly revolutionary aspect of the program–most people on employer sponsored health care never even get shown a set of choices and the universe of possible options is obscure, for them. Meanwhile people who are outside the employer system and eligible for private insurance, or previously those who were not eligible becuase of pre-existing conditions, used to be in the same position as someone shopping for a new car. You were totally at the mercy of the car salesman and he had an infinite mnumber of ways of obscuring your true costs and the true value of the car. Now, (actually, this has also happened in the carmarket) the internet shifts the information to the consumer and takes it out of the hands of the middle men. Even the “banding” seems refreshingly clear, to me. You finally get a sense of what your real options are.

          • DrS

            Hilariously, the ACA allows for comparison shopping, allowing people to better shop for their plans.

            AKA, the shit the right’s always on about.

            • andy

              Well, not precisely- they would prefer an *unregulated* market if they had to choose (which they don’t want to)- which means more grift for their major contributors.

              You ought to know that yes, while the ACA is broadly similar to the plan floated by the Heritage Foundation, that plan was only slapped together as a response to the threat of Hillarycare. Don’t think for a minute they actually considered attempting to turn it into legislation. It’s one and only purpose was to deflect the accurate criticism that the GOP couldn’t care less about rising health care costs or what it was doing to people’s lives.

    • Mr. Madame Psychosis

      I’m pretty sure New York State of Health was a Billy Joel first draft.

    • joe from Lowell

      I live in Massachsuetts. There were some ads about current enrollees needing to re-enroll. That’s about it here in our tapeworm hell hole.

  • Every time you call him Lambert I wonder why Adam Lambert is commenting on politics.

    • rea

      I always think of Jack Lambert, myself

    • njorl

      I initially suspect that it’s a Christopher Lambert, but there can be only one.

      • Warren Terra

        Christopher Lambert had one heck of a health plan. I don’t think the ACA fixes his plan’s coverage gap for beheadings, though.

    • Vance Maverick

      I believe the nym is Lambert Strether, and a more irrelevant literary reference it would be difficult to contrive.

      • The prophet Nostradumbass

        It’s from a Henry James novel? Uh, okay.

        • Vance Maverick

          Greatest embodiment of that Jamesian virtue, renunciation. Not notably political.

    • Bufflars

      Laaaaambert the sheepish lion?

      • LittlePig

        More like Alfred the Air-sick Eagle.

    • calling all toasters

      I’m pretty sure Lambert Simnel is the guy (but also not):

      Lambert Simnel and Parkin Warbeck

      English History has always been subject to Waves of Pretenders. These have usually come in small waves of about two – an Old Pretender and a Young Pretender, their object being to sow dissension in the realm, and if possible to confuse the Royal issue by pretending to be heirs to the throne.

      Two Pretenders who now arose were Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck, and they succeeded in confusing the issue absolutely by being so similar that some historians suggest they were really the same person (i.e. the Earl of Warbeck).

      Lambert Simnel (the Young Pretender) was really (probably) himself, but cleverly pretended to be the Earl of Warbeck. Henry VII therefore ordered him to be led through the streets of London to prove that he really was.

      Perkin Warbeck (the Older and more confusing Pretender) insisted that he was himself, thus causing complete dissension till Henry VII had him led through the streets of London to prove that he was really Lambert Simnel.

      The punishment of these memorable Pretenders was justly similar, since Perkin Warmnel was compelled to become a blot on the King’s skitchen, while Perbeck was made an escullion. Wimneck, however, subsequently began pretending again. This time he pretended that he had been smothered in early youth and buried under a stair-rod while pretending to be one of the Little Princes in the Tower. In order to prove that he had not been murdered before, Henry was reluctantly compelled to have him really executed.

      Even after his execution many people believed that he was only pretending to have been beheaded, while others declared that it was not Warmneck at all but Lamkin, and that Permnel had been dead all the time really, like Queen Anne.

      • herr doktor bimler

        Why was I not informed that there was 1066-ing in progress here?

  • Give him credit, he pre-refuted your criticisms by pre-ignoring them:

    “At this point, Obots tend to mutter about living “in the real world.” (Next stop: “The best is the enemy of the good.” Next stop: “Purist!” Next stop: “Racist!”) No. Look at the chart. The real world is the rest of the world, including Canada’s single payer system. In this country, we live in a bizarre neo-liberal fantasy world — a world that Obama, and his enablers and apologists (like America’s favorite quasi-Nobelist) have done nothing to combat, and much to reinforce because free markets. For shame!”

    Last stop: Ponies!

    • Anonymous

      And in this version of the real world, countries just swap health care systems like Romy & Michelle swap outfits!

    • Code Name Cain

      One of my favorite parts about these healthcare pony aficionados is that the fail to apply there same arguments to other areas of policy. The US is terrible among developed nations in several areas yet rarely do you hear “Obama could have gotten Hollande’s tax policies if he wanted.” or “Obama could have implemented nationalized taxation for public schools.”

      But maybe I’m not giving them enough discredit because I can’t stand to read The People’s Equestrian.

      • Maybe its like the Religious carve out for prayer–they never ask you to pray to have your amputated limb grow back. There are certain areas that the religious left tries to leave out of its calculations because it calls the divine into question.

  • RIGHT. ObamaCare is like a tapeworm (Taenia solium), turning or not; notice the crown of hooks and the suckers through which the worm attaches itself to the intestine of its unhappy host.

    Lambchop ought to know about intestinal parasites.

    There’s little point analyzing Krugman’s column in detail

    Translation: I didn’t analyze his column in detail and you certainly shouldn’t go over there and read it and discover how full of proglottids I am.

    • CaptBackslap

      Don’t conflate this silly cat with the excellent band Lambchop :(

      • Nor the excellent puppet Lambchop.

      • There’s a band? I was thinking of the puppet.

        My lawn. Get off it.

      • Mr. Madame Psychosis

        I wanted to insert a well-crafted lambchop joke but, I got mutton.

        • LeftWingFox

          Ewe are a baaad boy.

  • Manny Kant

    What is the deal with Lambert Strether? Was he always insane, and we just didn’t notice, or did he become insane?

    • Anna in PDX

      I was just thinking this exact same thing. I guess he went nuts during the PUMA thing in 2008 and has never become sane again?

      It is really weird because I used to really like Corrente, back in the day, and I thought he was a very good writer at the time. But now he just seems obsessive and unhinged.

      • joe from Lowell

        It is really weird because I used to really like Corrente, back in the day, and I thought he was a very good writer at the time. But now he just seems obsessive and unhinged.

        You can say this about a lot of people. The Bush administration was a good era for people with blunt minds.

        • CP Norris

          I knew Lambert was crazy way back in 2003 when he would guest-blog for Atrios.

          • rea

            I was actually suppsoed to be his co-blogger, but I was simply not computer literate enough to figure out how to post anything.

    • Barry Freed

      I thought he was alright back in the early 00’s as best as I can recall. I think it was after 2008 that he really became unhinged though I think I stopped reading a couple of years before that.

      • Anna in PDX


  • postmodulator

    I think about the reaction on the right if the filibuster had been abolished in January 2009. (That’s assuming there were fifty votes plus Biden to do so in January 2009, which I think is far from proven, given that Patrick Leahy — not our worst senator — didn’t want to do it in January 2013.)

    And it actually kind of fills me with regret. Their heads would have all exploded. Sure, the Dems would have lost the House in 2010, but they did anyway. What more right-wing rage would we have encountered that we haven’t already?

    • Hogan

      No, see, if Obama had HAD Reid do it, there would have been 50 votes. But he didn’t. Even. Try.

      • njorl

        Surely treating Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as his own personal lackey/hatchet-man one week after serving under him as a rookie senator would have been a great way to start his presidency.

        • Scott Lemieux

          If I know anything about the United States Senate, it’s that its typical member is a selfless devotee to a large political movement unconcerned with his or her individual prerogatives, and the president attempting to dictate major procedural changes with no leverage would have been especially likely to work well.

          • Mr. Madame Psychosis

            In his spare time I hear the President is practicing his cat-herding through telekinesis too.

          • joe from Lowell

            Sure, sure, you Obots start with “If I know anything about the United States Senate, it’s that its typical member is a selfless devotee to a large political movement unconcerned with his or her individual prerogatives, and the president attempting to dictate major procedural changes with no leverage would have been especially likely to work well,” and then it’s “the real world.” Next stop: “The best is the enemy of the good.” Next stop: “Purist!” Next stop: “Racist!”

            OT: when did it become a thing for people on the left to consider the preemptive complaint about liberals saying “racist” a favored rhetorical practice?

            • Vance Maverick

              Circular firing squads, that’s our specialty. When we can’t muster up baseless accusations of racism, we try baseless accusations of crying racism.

    • Royko

      I think removing the filibuster in 2009 would have hurt us among moderates and helped de-legitimize the ACA, as it would have been seen as a naked power grab. I certainly could be wrong — maybe Democrats could have swayed the public on the filibuster or weathered the storm long enough for the ACA to become entrenched, or maybe the ensuing right-wing ragefest would have actually hurt them in 2010 as that tends to put them at their craziest. But even with the benefit of hindsight it seems like a risky play.

      • Crunchy Frog

        Well, removing the filibuster for bills isn’t even an option in 2013 because there still isn’t enough Democratic support for it – so it’s pointless to think it might have been an option in 2009.

        Moreover, in January, 2009, when the Senate rules for that session were passed the mood was very different. Conservatives were reeling from the lost election and simultaneously scared shitless as the stock market kept plummeting. It’s probably hard to recall now, but there was a very short honeymoon period when the standard conservative line was to praise Obama for his actions pre-inaugural (while many of us on the left gulped after his choice of chief of staff many on the right were relieved).

        So, at that time the operating assumption was that Obama would be able to pick off enough GOP votes in the Senate to get to 60. (Remember we had 58 + Franken pending – this was before Specter reversed his earlier defection.) They were able to do this for the stimulus, just barely, with Specter and the Maine contingent. The broad expectation at that time was that they could get similar support for ACA.

        Remember this was before Fox began the 24×7 Tea Party campaign started fair and balanced coverage of the Tea Party movement, before the Tea Party challenges to GOP incumbents, before Specter realized he couldn’t win a GOP primary any more. I do think a lot of us who live amongst wingnuts knew even back then how crazy they were and would become, but very few of us predicted that no GOP senator would support ACA out of fear of the base.

        • Manny Kant

          I’d say that the main reason they’re not doing it at this point is because it’s currently irrelevant – nothing is going to be signed into law unless the House passes it, so you need Republican support to pass anything anyway.

      • postmodulator

        The people opposed to the ACA on the right see it as a naked power grab. You don’t gain anything there. (“Sh

        Are we still pretending there are high-information moderates in this country?

        Low-information voters don’t give two shits how a law is passed.

        • postmodulator

          The quote and ellipsis above which were not closed were meant to be a reference to the “Shoved down our throats” meme.

        • UserGoogol

          Abolishing the filibuster in order to pass some of the most significant liberal legislation in decades might trickle down to the marginal voter. It does seem like a pretty big deal. But even then I doubt they’d really mind all that much. In particular, whatever negative effect it might have would likely be significantly offset by the electoral benefits of a stronger stimulus package.

          Still, I don’t think optics of the filibuster was really the limiting factor. The filibuster gives all individual Senators more leverage, and they weren’t going to give it up until the Republicans had been given enough to demonstrate how much they refused to use that power responsibly.

        • Royko

          They don’t give two shits about how a law is passed, but this is a thing that was in a movie once. And even if they never saw the movie and can’t even name the title, it’s still enough to get them to buy that it’s a big deal.

          Republicans might get away with that kind of stunt. They’d just insist that up has always been down. Democrats, on the other hand, would have to deal with a slew of leftish pundits and ex-politicians running to the Sunday talk shows to denounce the reckless actions of their own party. And while LIVs don’t watch that stuff, they will get the message that Democrats committed a foul. That in turn makes it easier for Republicans to look less unreasonable during debt limit and shutdown shenanigans.

      • ron

        I doubt if removing the filibuster at any point would have much affect on how people vote and certainly not on who is elected (unless of course you have one of those Al Franken races). And then who knows how it would cause the 39 people who care to vote.

  • Krugman’s latest — “The Obamacare Worm Turns” — is homer-esque even by the tribal Democrat standards of “Conscience of a Liberal.”

    Is packing in every hep cliche into a sentence supposed to be biting? Or is it the forgetting of the article before “Conscience” that supposed to sting?

    If you’re going to fulminate at least *aspire* to quality invective. Or speakable invective, at least.

    Someone in a comment thread posted an excellent link analysing the premium our health system pays in terms of sources of excess and shows why changing it is seriously non trivial. Putting aside the political and technocratic issues of junking a complex system, it’s not clear that you can just “cut the rentier fat” in any straightforward way.

    • Aha! Found it.

      Thanks to sibusisodan for the link.

    • Wasn’t that the idea of Medicare buy-in? We would gradually move towards single payer without having the moment of complete disruption caused by junking the current system and replacing it.

      • catclub

        I have thought that reducing the medicare eligibility age one year every year, would be gradual. But even then, there
        will come a time when the private networks collapse from lack of clout relative to Medicare. ON the other hand, 15 years to get ready for that collapse might be enough.

        • How does that work with the fact that we’re expanding an old/sick pool? Isn’t that a bigger give away to the insurance companies?

          Insurance companies aren’t the only source of cost. Bending the curve touches a lot of different things. The ACA has already done a lot in those directions.

          • Brien Jackson

            Yeah, I was just thinking, that sounds exactly backwards, as gradually reducing the number of old(er) customers insurance companies have to cover would reduce the cost of paying out claims and make them more profitable.

          • By making it incrementally younger and less sick?

            • But are the increments sufficient to balance? 64 is a lot closer to 65 healthwise than to 20, obviously.

              • joe from Lowell

                But 65-year-olds are not the big cost drivers.

                • Could you point me to some literature?

                • My first hit:

                  The distribution of health care costs is strongly age dependent, a phenomenon that takes on increasing relevance as the baby boom generation ages. After the first year of life, health care costs are lowest for children, rise slowly throughout adult life, and increase exponentially after age 50 (Meerding et al. 1998). Bradford and Max (1996) determined that annual costs for the elderly are approximately four to five times those of people in their early teens. Personal health expenditure also rises sharply with age within the Medicare population. The oldest group (85+) consumes three times as much health care per person as those 65–74, and twice as much as those 75–84 (Fuchs 1998). Nursing home and short-stay hospital use also increases with age, especially for older adults (Liang et al. 1996).

                  So, yes, they aren’t cost drivers, but it suggests that we won’t see big gains until closer to 50?

                • Ok! This seems helpful (for 2004, per capital heath expenditure in dollars)
                  0-18 2,650
                  19-44 3,370
                  45-54 5,210
                  55-64 7,787
                  65-74 10,778
                  75-84 16,389
                  85+ 25,691

                  0-18 2,650
                  19-64 4,511
                  65+ 14,797

                  Of course, there aren’t equal numbers in each age bin.

                  So I conclude that I have no idea!

                • Hogan

                  So I conclude that I have no idea!

                  Stop plagiarizing my dissertation.

          • catclub

            i was thinking that insurance companies have clout with providers when they can promise them many customers, and then can demand lower billing rates.
            This clout is much of what provides their profitability.

            You are suggesting that they will be more profitable because they will have healthier people insured.

            These two trends would collide somewhere. I do not claim to know exactly where.

            • My impression is that they get more juice from recissions and having a healthy pool and don’t succeed all that well with negotiation costs (unlikely Medicare).

        • There will always be a percentage of people who choose private insurance as in Germany and Britain.

  • gman

    I love that almost every post on this site can turn into a debate on..”How much the Dems suck v. did the Dems get the most that was politcally practical in the current environment”

    Yesterday was the filibuster..today is the healthcare version.

    Worthy topic…Chicken or Egg.

    Scott has been on both sides in two days.

    • gman

      Farley can do the post on Iran next..

      “Most Repulican want full invasion w/ occupation along with Schumer and some others, but we only do limited air strikes.”

      Farley then asks..

      “Did Obama get the best he could out of the current political environment or do Dem just stink.?”

      • Malaclypse

        When was our last air strike on Iran? Or are you just being obviously dishonest?

        • Lee Rudolph

          Didn’t Iran capture a drone at one point? Or claim to have done? If so, would that count as an “air strike”, or just an “air strike-out”?

          • ajay

            Didn’t Iran capture a drone at one point? Or claim to have done?

            Yes, the highly advanced and embarrassingly easy to mislead RQ-170.

            If so, would that count as an “air strike”

            Not at all – no more than Gary Powers did.

        • gman

          Next you will tell me we are not currently occupying Iran..

          • mark f

            That was supposed to be a Q, right?

        • gman

          or silly in a hypothetical way..

          • joe from Lowell

            Or hypothetical in a silly way.

            This week, of all weeks, you want to disparage Obama as an Iran hawk just barely to the left of the Republicans?

            This week? Over Iran?

      • What post will Loomis do? It will be about unions and the Dems, right?

        • Lee Rudolph

          “Which is worse: ketchup on the chicken, or ketchup on the egg? And what is Obama’s role in all this?”

        • gman

          “We are at record low levels of unionization in the private sector how much are Dems to blame and how much could it get if Repubs had even more power?”


          • gman

            Sure,Obamacare is a corporate giveaway but it better than we had, should we be bitter or thankful?

            • On thanksgiving Im’ thankful, on festivus I’m bitter.

              • It depends on how much and what I’ve been drinking.

                • Philip

                  Vodka and ketchup martinis, of course.

                • Lee Rudolph

                  With a dash of bitters?

              • Mr. Madame Psychosis

                Personally I find the Airing of the Grievances always helps with the latter.

      • IM

        what? The alw<ys promised invasion of Iran is as as illusory as the laways promised iranian bomb.

        And how you can write something like that after the deal with Iran is beyond me.

        • joe from Lowell

          Iran is always two years from building a nuke, and we’re always six months from bombing them.

  • Malaclypse

    I’m so old I remember when Naked Capitalism was one of the best econ blogs on the web, second only to Calculated Risk, and even then, only Tanta’s stuff. Sad.

    • Jean-Michel

      It’s kinda fascinating watching its gradual descent into a full-on collapse/survivalist outlet, which I figure should be completed within a year or so. A lot of the commenters are already there and the site’s recent fundraiser actually employed the premise that you should donate everything you have because otherwise it’s just going to be stolen by “them.”

      • gman

        Zero Hedge is a successful model.

        Most bloggers and media outlets would rather make money rather than be a good source of information.

        • DrS

          Zero Hedge? Please

          • Malaclypse

            Makes money peddling bullshit. That’s his model, and he’s apparently good at it.

      • Richard Hershberger

        At this point I mostly use Naked Capitalism as something to point to when someone complains about the leftist media. Few Americans under the age of forty have ever been exposed to real leftism. This is why they can be convinced that policies espoused by Reagan are Marxist plots. So I point to Naked Capitalism, and point out how much it differs from anything found in any plausibly mainstream media outlet. Keith Olbermann serves for the broadcast equivalent of this discussion.

        • Paula

          Haven’t been there in many years, but … Please. Bull-shit conspiracy theorizing and armchair mind reading of politicians does not equal Marxism.

          • Anna in PDX

            Exactly. At this point it is more like the Alexander Cockburn example than anything else. A very smart person who has a couple of weird obsessions that have taken over his life and has ceased to provide meaningful and useful information, but continues to use his once-great platform to promote said obsession.

            • As Ray Pierrehumbert said about Dick Lindzen

              It’s OK to be wrong, and Dick is a smart person, but most people don’t really understand that one way of using your intelligence is to spin ever more clever ways of deceiving yourself, ever more clever ways of being wrong, and that’s OK because if you are wrong in an interesting way that advances the science, I think it’s great to be wrong and he has made a career of being wrong in interesting ways about climate science.

              It would be interesting if Lambert was wrong in interesting ways.

            • Malaclypse

              Although Yves is not a he.

              • Anna in PDX

                They are two diff people, aren’t they? Yes and Lambert?

        • Malaclypse

          If you want the Leftist media, well, Amy Goodman has the virtue of being sane.

          • Richard Hershberger

            Ah, Pacifica Radio! I have never lived within broadcast range of it, but I fondly recall a trip where I found myself with Pacifica on the dial. It was a roundtable discussion, during the administration of Bush the Elder, on the question of whether or not he should be impeached. I listened for quite some time waiting for a discussion–or even a hint–of what exact high crime or misdemeanor they though might merit such attention. The topic never came up.

            I have no knowledge of Amy Goodman or her state of mental health, but my impression of Pacifica Radio, at least back in the day, is that it was indeed the lefty version of what Fox News is today, except that Pacifica never had any significant influence.

            • Barry Freed

              I have been a member of Pacifica in years gone by and I love the idea of it but recently the NYC member station WBAI has descended into outright kookery,conspiracism and woo. There’s still a few gems on it and it’s always been a bit hit or miss depending upon which program is on at the time but I’m afraid its days are numbered.

              Oh, and back in the day it wasn’t the Fox News of the day. It had a lot of arts progrmam, John Lithgow and John Goodman did radio drama back before anyone knew who they were and there was a lot of other good stuff too. It was pure magic when it worked. I recommend the documentary Radio Unnameable movie which was on PBS’s P.O.V. not long ago to get an idea of what it was like when it was at its best. And its best was pure radio gold.

            • NewishLawyer

              WBAI (Pacifica’s NYC station) was very hip and relevant during the heyday of the counter-culture and the 1960s.

              Now they are on death’s door.


              The station is run by two aging leftie factions of old hippies. Both factions hate each other and blame all of WBAI’s woes on their rivals/opponents. They don’t know how to get young people to listen or many old people. The stations donations are declining seriously.

              Barry Freed is right about the outright kookery of most of the programming.

      • This is a great quote from the link:

        As a policymaker in DC, I see first-hand the malevolence and self-delusion of our financial elites. And in case it’s not 100% clear, they are coming to steal everything you have. You won’t see this on MSNBC or Fox News.
        Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/10/give-until-it-hurts-or-well-take-it-anyway.html#xtLwuvrU19jQgeUs.99

        The best part is that the “they” could of course be anyone. If its blacks and gays you certainly will see this news on MSNBC and Fox. Same hysteria, different targets.

        • Is it that people drift into extremism because they lack the capacity for original thought or does extremism strangle the capacity for original thought?

        • Jean-Michel

          But he’s a Washington insider! And he swears that Naked Capitalism genuinely terrifies the sinister powers who think they own the universe! Now you, yes, you, can terrify them too! Send your donations to the following Paypal account…

    • yenwoda

      Yep. A lot of sites out there that chronicled the collapse well but couldn’t handle the cognitive dissonance of things starting to get better without the country rallying behind their preferred policies.

      • joe from Lowell

        We’ve all the type: Double Dippers.

        People who go into spittle-flecked fury over the word “recovery.”

    • Mr. Woo Woo

      Yeah, I was disappointed when I had to remove Naked Capitalism from my Bookmarks because I just couldn’t take their pointless, almost pro forma Obama Bashing. That site was required reading once.

      • Davis X. Machina

        I did a big weed-out one day. Naked Capitalism, Shakespeare’s Sister, Avedon Carol, Brilliant at Breakfast, and a number of other heretofore must-reads all got their bookmarks archived at some point.

        • pseudalicious

          Shakesville went crazy in an entirely different way than Naked Capitalism. It’s like there’s an almost gendered version of how this happens. Shakesville went nuts in a way very similar to how feminist blogs, the fangirl-meets-politics faction of Livejournal, and Tumblr did (well, Tumblr started that way) — all female-dominated spaces — and Naked Capitalism, even though it’s run by Yyves, went nuts in a way that the more male-dominated firebagger blogs went. It’s weird. /late-ass comment

    • I’m glad you guys posted this because my father still reads Naked Capitalism and every time he tells me something he saw over there I feel puzzled. It doesn’t sound right and it doesn’t sound like the site I occasionally dropped into years ago. Now I see why. I remember Lambert and I remember when he went totally nuts. didn’t know he was writing over there. I’ll warn my father that he might get brain rot if he keeps this up.

    • David W.

      I don’t remember Naked Capitalism in the early days of its existence, but Tanta was quite possibly the best blogger on the web back then, and boy do I miss her.

      • Malaclypse

        “Quite possibly” is a needless qualifier. Her steel-toed bunny slippers will never be filled.

  • toberdog

    Let me get this straight. This guy Lambert is saying that Krugman’s column is wrong because we should have had single-payor long ago? Is he that stupid?

    • Davis X. Machina

      Yes. You underestimate the extent of his gift.

  • Brandon

    From the comments:

    I don’t think it’s worth much, since Krugman’s view that Medicare for All couldn’t be passed is just rationalization for Obama’s actions in 2009. It was Obama who took it off the table. Had he gotten Reid to remove the legislative filibuster then and insisted on passing Medicare for All in February of 2009 as part of a second New Deal along with a stimulus package in the neighborhood of $1.6 – $2 Trillion, and a rise in the minimum wage to an average of $16.00 per hour, all justified by the need to end the Great Recession and to restore full employment, he could have gotten it through. He wasted the crisis, at least from the point of view of fulfilling the needs of the 99%. Of course, as many frequently point out, he did just fine for the 1%

    Obama could have single-handidly willed Reid to get enough votes to abolish the filibuster entirely within the Senate and then still have 50 votes to 1) pass single-payer, 2) have a stimulus 2-3 times as large and 3) raise the minimum wage to $16/hr.

    Because every Democrat in the 2009 Senate was basically Liz Warren or to her left, or something.

    • Jestak

      +1 to this. I was going to quote the exact same passage from that comment. LOL

    • Rob in CT

      That comment is just… wow. Untethered to reality.

      Now it’s true that the problem was that many Democrats were too moderate/conservative, and that’s something that one can be reasonably upset with the Dems about.

      “He wasted the crisis” no. “They (our government, generally, including the entire GOP) wasted the crisis” well, yeah. Sorta.

      • Brandon

        Right. There was a big anti-GOP backlash in 2008. There wasn’t a biggest socialist wave, even if I really wish there had been. Conservative and moderate Democrats picked up a bunch of seats in Conservative and moderate states/districts. We didn’t have a bunch of leftist taking conservative seats.

        Do I think they should have pushed for a bigger stimulus and single-payer? Absolutely. Obama’s great at running a campaign, but he appears to be pretty horrible at playing politics and negotiating once in office. I think they definitely could have gotten a bigger stimulus (though definitely not $2T, even if that was the right amount) and they could have gotten a marginally better ACA but played the politics much more effectively. Absolutely deserves criticism for that IMO.

        But the idea that Obama had unrestrained power in 2009 is just fucking crazy.

        • Do I think they should have pushed for a bigger stimulus and single-payer? Absolutely. Obama’s great at running a campaign, but he appears to be pretty horrible at playing politics and negotiating once in office.

          This just doesn’t remotely seem true.

          I think they definitely could have gotten a bigger stimulus (though definitely not $2T, even if that was the right amount) and they could have gotten a marginally better ACA but played the politics much more effectively. Absolutely deserves criticism for that IMO.

          This really doesn’t seem true. If you game out the scenarios, what are the votes?

          Frankly, that they kept Lieberman on board at all, much less to cast a vote, is evidence both of their savvy and the unlikelihood of much better.

          Plus, the ground changed. They got some republican votes (few!) for the stimulus, but they hardened after that.

    • Surely this is parody…

      Right? It basically reads what my response is to someone who thinks we could have passed these things. You read them altogether and it’s seems crazy…

    • Malaclypse

      Also 4) he could have gotten them to bring back Firefly. Damn you, Obambi!

      • Jestak

        And brought Wash back to life!

        • Malaclypse

          Wash was always a redshirt.

          • Hogan

            Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!

  • Miranda Lambert.

    Was there ever a time when Corrente tried to be objective, or have they always been purist haters?

  • Pingback: The Mahablog » As the Worm Turns()

  • joe from Lowell

    Holy crap that’s stupid. Does he think his beloved Single Payer Fairyland Program would have no worries about “actuarial soundness” if young working people weren’t paying into it, and had to be treated at hospitals when they got sick?

    Shorter Streether: math is hard!

    • Brandon

      I don’t think it’d be optional under a single-payer program. It’d be like SS or Medicaid.

      • joe from Lowell

        And that’s exactly the point: he supports a system in which those people who be forced, with no option, to pay into the system, but for Sebelius to say she wants them to pay into the system so it will be sound is “sociopathic.”

        • David W.

          I recall once when Lambert complained about the ACA forcing him to pay for insurance, and he seemed rather oblivious about how taxes are also forcibly collected to support single-payer systems.

  • YankeeFrank

    The idea that Obama could’ve pushed for single payer and maybe gotten us halfway there has never apparently occurred to any of you. The idea that he could’ve started a dialog that helps move us in that direction (incrementally!) and at least achieved a public “option” that didn’t include a massive rentier’s tax hasn’t occurred to you either.

    The fact that he threw the US population under the bus in order to save the parasitical health “insurance” industry also hasn’t occurred to you. What would it take, I wonder, for you to realize what a neoliberal slut Obama truly is? Will the top 1% have to receive 100% of the income gains of the past 5 years rather than just 93%? Will the bankers have to blow up the world economy again and receive another $20 trillion and get away scot-free again? Will Obama have to thrust several more Trans-Pacific Partnerships down the throats of the beleaguered American people? Will he have to place spy-cams in every home in the nation, or rain drone death down on our cities too?

    I understand the motivation to pretend we live in the best, or close to it, possible worlds, or that Obama is the best possible president we could get: it means things aren’t quite as bad as they might be, or that things are pretty good so we can spend our days trolling the latest blatherings from NRO or mocking fellow liberal/lefties who don’t see Obama and the current state of the nation exactly the way we do.

    But when I see someone trumpeting how great Obamacare is because he’s only paying $1,300 a month in health insurance costs (and that’s before his deductibles and out of (now narrower) network costs are applied, I have to think they’ve drunk the kool-aid one too many times. I understand you were paying $1,500 before. But do you understand that the $200/month you are “saving” is likely to come back and haunt you? Do you really think the health insurance companies are going to expand your coverage while you pay less? If you do I’m not sure what planet you have been living on. Sure I’d like to hope that Obamacare will help me. Given his track record on oh, everything else he’s “accomplished” while in office, what makes you think this is the one place where the exception to screwing you will apply? Really, I want to know. So really, who are the realists in this equation and who are the ones wishing on ponies?

    • Brandon

      No, I think this has all occurred to everyone here, and that you’re arguing against positions that no one here actually takes. Good job!

    • Malaclypse

      Do you really think the health insurance companies are going to expand your coverage while you pay less?

      I, also, have never heard the phrases “minimum credible coverage” and “medical loss ratios.”

    • joe from Lowell

      Piss off, right-wing troll.

      Take your “slut” and your “rammed down the throat” and go back to whatever wingnut sewer you crawled out of.

      • Hogan

        And can we finally retire “thrown under the bus” for fucks sake? This time of year there are plenty of sleighs for people to be thrown off the back of.

        • It’s also the right time of year for “tossed into the wood chipper.”

          • Also: troikas.

            • I was just listening to the Lieutenant Kije Suite last week.

    • Anonymous

      The fact that he threw the US population under the bus in order to save the parasitical health “insurance” industry also hasn’t occurred to you.

      The health insurance industry was collapsing? What?

    • MAJeff

      I think I see a lantern. Yes, it might even be green.

      • Jay Gatsby

        I believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning——

        So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

    • I’m Nobody — what’s it to you?

      One part of the realists are damned glad pre-existing conditions are covered. I think you badly underestimate the urgency of that and of life-time caps on insurance, and of recissions. Sure, I’d always rather have more than we got – but what we got will save my sister’s life. That’s not nothing, not to me. It should and I hope will become more.

      But for me, part of my knee-jerk response to We Should Have Held Out for What We Could Not Possibly Have Gotten is, fuck you, why do you want to murder my sister?

      And I think you misjudge the political climate when you forget that these issues are urgent and personal, that some of what the ACA did actually get us is urgent and personal.

      • YankeeFrank

        I’m not saying Obamacare doesn’t give us anything, though you might be surprised about that pre-existing condition thing — there is still language in the ACA that allows insurers to drop you for “fraud”, which can be interpreted as not giving complete historical health details. Meaning they can still drop your sister if they want. And they do want.

        And I didn’t claim the desire that we throw this law out. What I said was that there is a lot of denial on this site on how good this law is and there is a lot of complacency surround what we could’ve gotten had Obama actually, you know, fought for something more progressive. So please, save your fuck yous for someone who deserves it. You don’t know the medical situation of my family either. I’m not responding to the other replies to my comment because they amount to “fuck you troll” or the typical arrogant and condescending defensiveness I see too often on this site. Your comment actually engaged mine and I at least appreciate that fact. That said, putting words in my mouth such as “We Should Have Held Out for What We Could Not Possibly Have Gotten” is disingenuous at best, and sets you up for your angry and bitter response to something I never wrote. What I find so incredible is how certain people on this site are so absolutely positive that what we got was the best we could’ve gotten. I also find the denial that Obama is a neoliberal parasite and plutocrat curious. Obama didn’t fight for a progressive law, he capitulated to the insurance industry before the opening salvo. He also made a fetish of obtaining republican support to the point that he weakened the final law significantly, especially with regard to women’s health (something you seem very keen on). This law has a few good points in a sea of awful. Its not the best we could’ve gotten. Not by a long shot. If we had a president that actually cared about the people (rather than his own future financial prospects) he would’ve fought for us. We don’t and he didn’t. That said, I don’t think, and I don’t think many who feel the way I do think, that we should throw out this law. I do hope the ACA is expanded and improved, but I don’t really have much hope for that. In the meantime, beware of the promises coming from the health insurance industry. The piece being attacked in this post makes some keen observations about how the insurance industry is gaming the ACA using narrower provider networks. I haven’t seen one comment point out this relevant point. Instead all I see are people on the same side of an issue bashing each other. Its pathetic frankly.

        • sibusisodan

          What I find so incredible is how certain people on this site are so absolutely positive that what we got was the best we could’ve gotten.

          Well, if you’re going to ignore the many, many, many times this site has explored just that question, don’t be surprised at the lack of response you get.

          • YankeeFrank

            And yet when I post a comment taking a critical view, or another site questions that very issue we are mocked and condescended to. Gotcha.

        • slightly_peeved

          Fraud is redefined in the ACA to mean actual fraud. because preexisting conditions are no longer material to your cover, not disclosing them doesn’t count. this loophole is closed, though it may take some insurers a little while to catch on.

          • YankeeFrank

            I hope you are correct.

  • Just say “no” to pancakes.

    I think the descent of Naked Capitalism into wingnut land shows an interesting thing about the different dynamics of right and left in opposition.

    Back in the old days of Bush 2 I (and I consider myself to be a moderate-liberal in the social democratic mold) was able to make common cause with people who represented a much more “left” position on the axis because Bush was a complete asshole. Since 2008 the people who are more critical of any use of markets and (perhaps) of the possibility of substantive reform have stayed in opposition and I think to a limited degree have fused with some of the more anarchic (small-a) portions of the right.

    But what interests me is that there seems to be much less fusion on the right, the tea party wing has reached the “eating the children” phase of their revolution and there’s no end to this in sight.

    I’m having difficulty squaring this with what Bill Clinton said about how Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line.

    • Brandon

      I dunno, I talk with some people who are out-and-out socialists or communists elsewhere, and they don’t delve into the wingnuttery that NC embraces. They might not like the ACA, might even think it’s ultimately a bad thing, but they aren’t so naive as to believe that there was an actual leftist wave in 2008 and that Blue Dogs aren’t a real thing and Obama could force Congress to do his bidding.

      • BubbaDave

        Yeah, I have no quarrel with the folks who say “more leftist policies would be objectively better.” I’m one of them! But, under this Constitution, with this electorate and this Democratic Party and this GOP, we can’t get more leftist policies! So we work on changing the electorate (GOTV!) and we work on changing the Democratic Party (more primary challenges from the left!) but in the meantime we play the cards we’re dealt, and in Domestic policy I think Obama’s done as well as any President could have. (FDR and LBJ did better, but they had a less-dysfunctional Congress and a less polarized electorate to work with.)

        • Davis X. Machina

          FDR and LBJ had congresses that were, for their first two terms and first term, ridiculously tilted Democratic, by historic majorities. ‘Less-dysfunctional’ doesn’t begin to describe it.

        • YankeeFrank

          “with this electorate and this Democratic Party and this GOP, we can’t get more leftist policies!”

          But that’s the point isn’t it? The fact “this” democratic party is utter garbage, including Obama. The knee jerk certainty expressed on this site that there is no way we could’ve gotten a more liberal law passed smacks of defensiveness and denial. If Obama was not a plutocrat-loving neoliberal swine we could’ve gotten a better law. Period. He knows how to turn the screws on democrats that don’t get in line (well he did when he wasn’t a lame duck), evidenced by forcing the socialist dems in the Senate to vote for the ACA. If he’d have used that same determination against the blue dogs and fought for a public option we’d have one right now. My certainty is no less realistic than yours. But we’ll never know because Obama didn’t fight for it. So what the attitude here really feels like to me is that we should all feel grateful for the crumbs being thrown to us. Excuse me if I don’t train my brain to feel grateful while picking up my crumbs.

          • Jean-Michel

            the socialist dems in the Senate

            You know absolutely nothing about the Senate. Full stop.

            • joe from Lowell

              He knows, or thinks he knows, which leftist-sounding buttons to push to try to irritate liberals.

              Not the first time he’s done this one this site.

              • YankeeFrank

                You think that because I am critical of much what passes for left thinking on this site that I am some kind of right wing troll. I’ll give you this — its an effective way to seal yourself off from any criticism whatsoever.

            • YankeeFrank

              Yes, because Obama strong-arming Pat Leahy into supporting the ACA couldn’t have been done to garner support for a public option. Oh, but that breaks the comfortable narrative that Obama fought for you and achieved the best reform possible. Guess what, Obama doesn’t care about you, and he doesn’t care if you can afford the ACA or not. Hell, he doesn’t even care if the damned website works. He threw you an incredibly weak sop to help cover for the fact that everything he’s done while in office has been to serve the plutocracy, and you all buy it hook, line and sinker. The reflexive defensiveness I get on this site is really kind of sad.

              • Scott Lemieux

                because Obama strong-arming Pat Leahy into supporting the ACA

                Yes, it can’t be that Pat Leahy concluded that the ACA was preferable to the status quo ante, since it obviously (from a progressive standpoint) it obviously was. No, Obama must have “strong-armed” him using unspecified techniques. Which must means that Obama could have coerced Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson into supporting single payer using even more unspecified techniques. And a pony!

  • I consider myself a leftist critic of Obama. At the same time I don’t understand how people can flatly ignore the horribly crooked context (Washington) he has to operate from and minimize the insanity of his right-wing opposition.

    MLK was a huge critic of the Vietnam War and capitalism in general, regardless of this I don’t recall him ever proposing that a Goldwater victory would have been a “less effective” evil as some leftists have suggested a Romney victory would have been.

    Purists tell us “there’s more to social reform than the ballot box” and that’s definitely true. That’s why it’s ironic when these same purists suggest that those who voted for Obama, even as a lesser-evil, are personally complicit with his drone strikes and other atrocities. Far from embracing movement-building and agitation for political change, they embrace voting for third parties and boycotting elections as a kind of panacea. They regard worthwhile progressives as shills for their pragmatic electoral support of Obama and dismiss them as worthy allies. In doing so, they themselves reduce the entirety of political activism to voting and the two party system. They’re just too consumed with themselves to see it.

    • NewishLawyer

      It all depends on whether you believe in Heightening the Contradictions or not. I do not.

    • YankeeFrank

      So either we want to elect Romney or we must get lockstep behind Obama. Nice choices. So I assume that means you wholeheartedly embrace the Trans-Pacific Partnership. After all, Obama is pushing very hard to get it passed so it must be good for the American people.

      • That’s not at all what I said.

        Obama is a neo-liberal shill in many ways. But voting for him as the lesser-evil isn’t really anything to be ashamed about.

  • Manju

    Naked Capitalism? That’s doubly hot.

    • Manju

      Also too, “Lawyer’s Guns & Money” sounds mighty RWingly too. Well 2 outa 3 ain’t bad. But even #3 could refer to Dewey & LeBoeuf or something.

      Naked Guns & Money would be perfect.

      • Ronan

        naked lawyers and money and youre into an entirely different ballpark

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