Reading Links


More links for your reading pleasure:

How Federal Cash Harms State Governance (Real Clear Policy)
Since the federal government covers states' costs in the short- and medium-terms under the ACA, it seems sensible that they would expand their Medicaid coverage.  Largely lost in the debate has been the long-term costs to states of Medicaid expansion.  Undoubtedly, states will be hesitant to go back to pre-ACA levels of Medicaid coverage once the federal drip dries up.  This leaves a higher spending burden without a matching increase in revenues.  (This assumes that Congress would not decide to provide more funding to states.)  This is the ratchet effect that occurs with temporary flows of money from a higher level of government to a lower one- though a similar effect has been observed with government spending in general since World War II.  This should not be construed as an argument for the repeal of the ACA, it just happens to be a prominent example, but rather an argument for reconsidering the financial relationship between federal, state, and local governments.  Essentially, our current system is not as efficient as it could be.  We should be able to achieve the same goals (a wide social safety net, good infrastructure, etc.) with much less waste using a different framework.  Efficiency, however, has never been the strong suit of government.

Academic Drivel Report (The American Prospect)
Having spent some time recently in an academic environment, I can say that much of what is produced by academics really is drivel with no meaning outside of their silo.  On the other hand, a lot of academic production is great and humanity is richer for it.  The issue is that the drivel gives a bad name to academic work in general and turns society at large away from engaging with the good products of academia.  Not all ideas can expressed in the most simple of terms, but ideas should not depend on nonsensical obfuscation to appear valid.

Romer and Romer on Friedman (Conscience of a Liberal)
Krugman condenses the detailed criticism of Sanders' economic projections by Romer and Romer.  (The actual document is linked in Krugman's post.)  One of my biggest issues with Sanders and his supporters is that seem content to ignore or manipulate the full costs of his proposals.  On their face alone, the projected growth numbers seem to warrant scrutiny.  Now that scrutiny has been applied they simply don't hold up.  There would be economic losers under Sanders' policies beyond the 1%.  Perhaps that is acceptable, but we should not be led into fantasyland thinking.  The Sanders campaign has prided itself on Bernie's integrity and frankness, but this has been a consistently misleading point, though by this election cycle's standards this is a very minor transgression.

How Biden killed John Roberts's nomination in 1992 (Washington Post)
This goes back to what I wrote the other week.  Clearly obstructionism is a bipartisan practice.  Republicans can fairly point fingers to Biden for doing this 24 years ago, but that does not mean that they should follow that example.  It might be worth mentioning that as far as SCOTUS nominees were concerned, the obstruction was hypothetical.  


Bonus Video:

Is this the saddest debate moment of the debates?