28 Jun 2015

Chris Tomlin Mellows Out With Live “Indescribable”

Religious 3 Comments

This is a big hit for this guy, but this live version is more mellow than his standard one.

27 Jun 2015

Quick Comment on SSM and I’ll Move On

SSM 56 Comments

If you want to see my thoughts, see FB. I want to make one quick comment here, but first, watch Obama:

I am not shocked by libertarians saying, “On balance, I am glad this happened, though I totally understand people who are alarmed that consolidated federal power will end up destroying any prospects for liberty long-term in this country.”

But I DO have a problem with people–and yes I have specific people in mind, I’m not just throwing out strawmen–who would have, without irony, called Obama a war criminal on Thursday, on Friday gushing about how beautiful the White House rainbow light show was, and denouncing any opponents as cold-hearted bigots.

26 Jun 2015

An Even More Damning Gruber Clip on State Exchanges

Health Legislation 7 Comments

OK, this one is pretty clear. There is no ambiguity about a “federal backstop” and what that might mean. (Thanks to the honorable Keshav for passing this along, even though he disagrees with me.)

It is now pretty obvious to me that Gruber thought the bill would deny tax credits to people in states where exchanges were not set up. Now Gruber is just playing dumb, saying he must have been mistaken when speaking with such confidence. Well, he doesn’t sound like he’s ill-informed in this video. He sounds like he was part of the discussions (which we know he was, although everybody involved tried to deny it) and he is obviously very intelligent and a details kind of guy.

This bill was enormous. The fact that Matt Yglesias wasn’t talking about this particular aspect doesn’t really mean much to me. In my research (which you’ll see in my forthcoming book on U.S. health care, in the fall, co-authored with an ER doctor) I dug up all sorts of stuff that nobody has talked about.

UPDATE: Notice in the very beginning, Gruber says of this risk “the one folks aren’t talking about.” So for Gruber to now say, “Well geez, I must have been crazy back then, because nobody else was talking about this,” is kind of fishy. And gosh, I guess that’s the trouble Gruber when you admit to the world that you are willing to deceive people to push through your political agenda–now people have a hard time believing you.

26 Jun 2015

The Smoking Gruber Gun?

Health Legislation 9 Comments

I had seen people in print refer to this, but it helps to watch the actual video. Many of my libertarian brethren (and sistren) think this is obviously Gruber saying the feds intended for the subsidy carrots to induce the states to set up their exchanges for the ACA. However, the one thing that troubles me in that interpretation is his use of the term “backstop.” Watch the short clip and then consider my two interpretations of what Gruber is saying.

Option #1 (libertarian hope): Gruber is saying that if the state doesn’t set up an exchange, then the feds will, thereby allowing people to buy health insurance, but not to receive federal subsidies for it, ever.

Option #2 (progressive escape hatch): Gruber is saying that if the state doesn’t set up an exchange, then the feds will have to, and of course the people in that state are then eligible for subsidies too. When Gruber warned about the citizens losing out on tax credits, he was merely referring to the interim period when the bungling and slow-moving feds were trying to set up their own exchange.

I am leaning toward Option #1, and my strongest bit of evidence is the “billions of dollars” line. If Gruber had been merely referring to a one-shot missing out of subsidies, would the number have been that big? Well, it’s hard to say, since this is Gruber after all–maybe he had some crazy scenario in mind where the feds drag their feet for years, and he wants the states to do the policy he wants, so why not say whatever pops into his head?

I’m genuinely not sure how to interpret this video. You would think it would be decisive, and yet he doesn’t (in my mind) come down clearly enough in one camp or the other to be absolutely certain.

(Naturally, I am here referring to this one, short video. There is other evidence we could examine to determine whether the infamous four words in the legislation were a typo or not.)

25 Jun 2015

Potpourri

Potpourri 18 Comments

==> Corie Stephens argues that feds honestly had no idea the states wouldn’t just roll over and enact ObamaCare exchanges. I would love to see your links to the best articles making the other side’s case, i.e. claiming that it was a typo.

==> If the claims in this post are right, the alleged “97% consensus” paper is downright fraudulent.

==> This is why I don’t post at Reason…

==> Michael Malice’s luck runs out. Tom Woods is mercifully quick in his justice.

25 Jun 2015

Krugman on 2013, Compared to 1937

Economics, Krugman, Shameless Self-Promotion 19 Comments

This is a long post, but you need to get a cup of coffee and read it slowly. In particular, if we accept Krugman’s excuses for his botched 2013 calls, then he loses the Keynesian story about 1937.

25 Jun 2015

Correction on Weitzman’s Position on Geoengineering

All Posts 2 Comments

I realized after it posted that in my IER post on Nordhaus’ book review of Weitzman (and his co-author), I misunderstood one of Nordhaus’ passages. I thought Nordhaus was saying that Weitzman (and co-author) wondered whether humans should even be learning more about geoengineering because of its risks, but I learned elsewhere that Weitzman is definitely in favor of learning our options. If you go here, you can see the old and new versions of the paragraph I altered.

23 Jun 2015

Tom Woods and I Discuss Robert Reich

Economics, Minimum wage, Shameless Self-Promotion, Tom Woods 1 Comment

Here. We take apart his video calling for a $15/hour minimum wage.