Happy Hour Roundup

October 30, 2013

* President Obama traveled to Boston today to highlight the tangible successes of Romneycare, er, Obamacare, noting that the law had also had growing pains but ended up functional and broadly popular. He also pointed out that liberals like Ted Kennedy were enthusiastic about helping make Romneycare work in Massachusetts (unlike Republicans with Obamacare today, obviously), which helped the law move past its initial problems.

* Relatedly: Kentucky proves that even a very conservative state can make a great Obamacare exchange, if only they put their mind to it.

* Great piece from Jonathan Cohn detailing the stark hypocrisy of Republicans moaning about people who have lost their individual market insurance. It wasn’t so long ago they were baldly proposing to kick tens of millions of people off Medicaid, and their oft-stated desire to get rid of the employee health insurance tax credit (which might even be a good idea) would also force tens of millions more into the individual market.

* The chart of the day comes courtesy of Steve Benen, who shows the sharply declining trajectory of the budget deficit. Despite constant Republican carping that the deficit is exploding, the drop is in fact a massive economic problem, meaning higher unemployment and slower economic growth for no reason.

* Very telling behavior from House Republicans, who demanded a closed-door briefing on Obamacare and then didn’t bother to show up.

* Here’s some potentially serious action from the US Chamber of Commerce, which is backing an establishment candidate over a Tea Party challenger in an Alabama. It doesn’t mean much yet, but if this signals a major change from the business community, which has thus far not seriously challenged the Tea Party, the intra-Republican civil war could really heat up.

* Great question from Duncan Black: what do Republicans want on health care? They’ve made their displeasure with Obamacare more than evident, but what’s their solution?

* Matt Miller does a history nerd’s version of Crossfire, 1936. Featured participants are “Freddy” Hayek, Upton Sinclair, Frances Perkins, and Daniel Reed. At issue: will this troubled new “Social Security” program ever work properly, or is it the first step on the road to serfdom?

* David Atkins makes a good point: the Dow is breaking yet another record, the top one percent is doing better than ever, profits are high, but job growth is still weak. It’s a road test of the right’s economic cure-all elixir, tax cuts for the rich, and the results aren’t good. If we give rich people even more money, what would change?

* Nancy Pelosi says new revenue is non-negotiable for any agreement to axe the sequester. I get that this is about laying down a marker for negotiations, but I would encourage Dems to think outside the centrist box.

* Ta-Nehisi Coates has a column in today’s Times. You’re welcome.

* Nice listicle of 65 NSA facts. Now we just need someone at the New Yorker to write a 10k word piece carefully explaining this stuff in context.

* And this Pope, man. I can’t get enough.

What else?

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Greg Sargent | October 30, 2013