This is sad. I really like Paul. We agree on so many things. He’s one of the few people who is getting a clue about the myth of structural unemployment.
But with Obamacare, he’s hopeless.
I think it has to do with his own social isolation. He lives in Princeton surrounded by some of the most successful individuals in the world. Of course, all around him is the detritus of 6 years of dismantling of the R&D industry. He only has to cross Route 1 to visit the now shuttered lab where I worked for 15 years. Some of the smartest people I know are having a really hard time figuring out what just happened to them. But it’s unlikely that Krugman knows many of them, or any of the less accomplished people I know.
Here’s the part of Paul’s latest Conscience of a Liberal post on Obamacare that I resent most:
The current state of public opinion on health reform is really peculiar. If you’ve been following the issue at all closely, you know that the Affordable Care Act is one of the great comeback stories of public policy: after a terrible start, it has dramatically exceeded expectations. But hardly anyone seems to know that.
It’s easy to understand how that happens for Fox-watchers and Rush-listeners, who are fed a steady diet of supposed Obamacare disaster stories.
Um, I HATE Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. I consider them to be on the same par as pneumonic plague. They spread misinformation quickly and the effect is always malignant. I don’t watch cable news of any kind and I don’t listen to Rush. So, where could I have possibly gotten the crazy idea that Obamacare is a disaster waiting to happen??
Maybe it’s from my own data and observations. Maybe it’s because the plans are not so great for the price. Maybe it’s because some of us could afford the lousy premiums if we could get a subsidy but our incomes are too low to qualify (could someone please explain how that even makes sense??). Maybe it’s the persistent feeling that Obamacare is leading to a less secure job market. Maybe it’s because for some of us, it’s a choice between cashing in some of our IRA and facing a steep tax penalty to pay for our premiums or being forced into Medicaid where the state may collect our estates from our heirs when we are dead. There are a million reasons why Obamacare might not be working so well for the rest of us, 40 million approximately. If Obamacare is only reaching 7 million new subscribers, doesn’t that leave most of the 47 million uninsured still uninsured?
Here’s my take on Obamacare: It’s full of poison pills. There’s just enough in it to help people with pre-existing conditions and some self-employed people to thrill the cockles of the liberal’s heart. For everyone else, cost controls are not in place, there are no mechanisms to force competing carriers in a local market to cooperate with each other leaving the unsuspecting facing steep out of network costs, the unemployed are still mostly not covered (and they can’t afford the premiums anyway without a subsidy) and to get any kind of public option, aka Medicaid, you have to give up nearly everything you own and have spent your whole life working for.
This is not a good plan, Paul. Most people do not live in Princeton or NYC. They live ordinary lives with ordinary wages and this plan seems to have bypassed many of them. Obamacare was cobbled together by a chief executive who seemed to want to wag his penis around instead of actually pushing for a well crafted piece of legislation. Then it was severely compromised by Congress, first by Republicans who are malignant narcissists and then by Democrats who repeatedly sold out their constituents in a desperate attempt to prop up a guy who was not ready to be president. Why the push to ram this extremely flawed piece of legislation through so quickly? Why was it more important to save Obama’s ass than to ask him to do a good job? Why aren’t enough liberals asking those questions?
Don’t insult us, Paul, especially those of us who are die-hard liberals who find the right wing utterly repugnant. It’s not going to make Obamacare better and won’t help the party. It reminds me of the days when anyone who saw through Obama in 2008 was called a racist. It’s not fair and it’s beneath you.