The show so far, a continuing series

In my view, the Republicans have had a very weak hand to play on health care (not enough good ideas!), but over the last week they have played it brilliantly (which is not the same thing as having good policies).  Those House members who need to say “I voted to repeal Obamacare” can now do so.  The Republicans also have an option on proceeding further with reform, with everyone knowing the Senate will write its own bill.  The defects of what they voted for are not so significant for this reason, and the cavalier attitude of many House Republicans toward the contents of the bill makes perfect sense.

At the same time, the Republicans have the option of letting the bill die in the Senate, where it is far easier to blame the Democrats for inaction — how many American swing voters understand the fine points of the Byrd rule and filibuster anyway?  If you are what I call a “fulminating Democrat,” you are actually playing into Republican hands on this one (it would have been better to have spent the week saying abortion should be legal but rare, and talking about white people).

The big victory celebration pleased Trump, but more importantly all Republicans involved learned there is a way forward on many other issues: let Congress lead the way and pull Trump out of the bully role.  That lesson won’t soon be forgotten.  And from Trump’s point of view, he hasn’t given up the option of later working with the Democrats to pass a more centrist version of health care reform.

I don’t see the broader American public as so impressed with the Democrats’ arguments against the bill, mostly because they are not paying attention.  It doesn’t feel like it has the urgency of when Obamacare was passed, and in fact it doesn’t.  No one succeeded in showing it did, because it didn’t.

I still see the Republican House majority as extremely fragile, but on this one I believe the Democrats got pwned.


What I think you will see is the marriage of the House healthcare bill with something like the must pass October budget, combined with tax cuts. October will be an interesting month.

Don't forget the gummint shutdown.

Yep. How much do you think the stock markets will decline, and how high do you think interest rates will go during the game of brinksmanship. Market is probably already overvalued.

They'll be up after the dust settles. Shutdown is needed to restore sanity to the budget process. It will be yuge.

Gee, maybe we should look to all the calamities that ensued during the 2013 shutdown.

There are far worse things than gridlock.

Brian, I remember sitting at a table with some academics in 2013 who were worried about the stock market that week during the budget impasse.

I looked up some articles about the impasse that week:

"The S&P 500 dropped six of the past seven sessions, including a 1.1 percent slide this week, amid the Congressional impasse over the budget that threatens to shut down the government. The index rose 0.3 percent yesterday, snapping its longest losing streak this year, after an unexpected drop in jobless-benefit claims." It went down from there. Source: Bloomberg

Of course, i advised them to buy as it fell.

S&P 500
10/4/2013 - 1690.50
11/1/2013 - 1761.64

2014 midterm elections - Republicans took control of the Senate and gained a few seats in the House

2016 - Republicans took White House

Rich, You took a long period. If you look at the period in which there was the uncertainty, it's a different picture. Nice try. my advice was low.

"the Democrats got pawned"

lol pwned

Dammit! You beat me to it.

Tyler valiantly tried to be the cool kid here.

Blame the spell checker, not the writer - part of the New Internet Gospels, right?

And the proof reader, who must not be Prof. Cowen, as he only occasionally reads the comments, performs a miracle.

Tyler probably does read the comments, just not your comments.

Oddly, I know that he reads my comments. I do try to play fair here, pointing out errors when they occur. Or things like when he quotes some twitter link talking about Samsung TV eavesdropping, then pointing out that this has been known for two years, linking to one of several Register articles. Followed by the item disappearing quite promptly. Of course, it is certainly possible that Prof. Cowen does not read my comments before action is taken, but past experience has shown that anyone that strays into such territory will only be read by a select few readers. It is certainly safer for a comment's life span to assume that either Prof. Tabarrok or Prof. Cowen are the only people involved in this web site.

"I do try to play fair here,"

You don't seem very fair. Maybe you should re-assess your approach. Perhaps listen to what other posters are so softly hinting at.

'You don’t seem very fair.'

Ah, I only meant when trying to correct various mistakes that creep in here - false links, for example.

'Maybe you should re-assess your approach.'

I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything, and not only because I stop taking money to do that when I left GMU.

'Perhaps listen to what other posters are so softly hinting at.'

Nobody here softly hints at anything, most certainly including Profs. Tabarrok and Cowen - further, many commenters seem proudly ignorant of the wider world that exists.

I've heard the claim that Congressional Democrats actually wanted this vote to happen. Knowing as Tyler says that it won't change much in practice, but the vote for ~20 million fewer people on health insurance is an albatross they can hang around the necks of their opponents next year.

As soon as the vote ended, Democrats sang "Na Na Hey Hey" [Goodbye], echoing when the Republicans did the same in 1993 following the vote on the Clinton tax bill. Republicans famously took the House and Senate the following year.

The Dems might be right. On the other hand, they were all convinced the original Obamacare passage would be an electoral boon. So, we'll see.

Democrats got owned?

Tyler got moded.

Picayune quibbles.

Not "owned", "player owned" = pwned. If you are the new "owner", you are a player. E.G. you didn't just rick-roll that sucker, you pwned him.

Not "moded", "modded". Don't ask me why the d doubles up, but it does. P.S. I could be wrong about this (after all, one "mods" (verb), or one is a "mod" (noun)), but "moded" just looks SO wrong. I can't let it stay.

It was definitely "moded" back in the 80s when it originated.

Guys, I think I've had a "break through" on what "pwned" means. I don't think its a typo. Its a reference to a character in The Nix by Nathan Hill. Tyler mentioned it "What I've Been Reading" on Sep 1. The character Sam Andresen-Andersen is a complacent college professor who is so disillusioned by his plagiarizing students that he plays 40 hours of Elfscape video games a week. His comrade orc-killer Pwnage is quoted saying "I just pwned your face n00b!!" in Chapter 2. Kremlinology right here on Marginal Revolution ...

I suspect this mistake will become more common as those using the word become further removed from the l33t speak it derives from and correct it to the familiar word (or spellcheckers do). Indeed, I have this wonderful image of bloggers in 2100 speculating that pawned (as it is then written) derives from chess where losing a piece (unforced) to a pawn is particularly embarrassing/humiliating.

Both sides have incentive to exaggerate the practical effects of the AHCA.

Making health insurance unaffordable by penalizing the universal preX more and thus make health care single payer and free, but rationed???

Just read a conservative twist that the CEO 24 million uninsured is the number not mandated to buy insurance, not the number actually uninsured.

Ie, the young and healthy have been taught by conservatives to never buy insurance for seven years, but buying insurance when older annd healthy must be much more expensive because of your advanced preX, every year you become older and your premium must go up because you cost too much compared to the young and healthy, even if you are old and healthy. So, it you don't buy when the price is low, why will you buy when the price is five times higher?

So, the argument by the conservative is that by eliminating the mandate, young people will rebel against the establishment that says "don't buy health insurance" and waste money buying unneeded health insurance instead of going on vacation, buying a car, shacking up with someone. But even if you buy insurance, the premiums go up because of the preX, every year you get a year older and thus must pay higher premiums for that preX.

The effect is that medical care is free, paid for by providers who spend the costs to others - single payer - or it will be rationed by the lack of providers, food those without government run insurance, Medicare, or whatever Medicaid survives, or VA. Unless 80%+ of the population has ERISA socialized medicine which prohibits and rating or denial of insurance coverage based on ANY preX. The 64 year old pays the same premium as the 18 year old coworker. These plus Medicare and VA and maybe Medicaid will keep providers in business so they will be able to weather the uninsured who get free single payer medical care.

And this is just describing what existed in 2008.

The public isn't paying attention? Are you serious?

Notice that Tyler is only mocking "swing voters," by which he means "people outside of urban centers who are by definition stupid."

That IS actually true to be honest given our Average-is-Over world and mating patters. The high IQ people DO in fact generally move to high productivity urban areas and those who don't are generally people who don't have sufficient IQ points to make it in those places so they need to live in places with cheap housing, etc. Of course there are exceptions but Average IS Over and i think this generalisation holds pretty well.

And you're the reason we have Trump. If you want more Trump, keep posting crap like this.

I see no problem with Trump, I think he's very much pro-success and his tax reform package will have lots of goodies for the high IQ set. I don't know why you think its wrong that the people who are supposed to make money (high IQ individuals who can compete successfully in places like NYC and SF) are making mint, you seem like a foaming at the mouth leftist.

The phenomenon of brain drain is not necessarily international. Exhibit A is J. D. Vance of Hillbilly Elegy.

Well the conservative movement is not paying attention but the liberal blogs are lit up like Christmas trees right now. I think Tyler is pulling a minor Bush "Mission Accomplished" moment here.

"Liberal blogs" does not equal "public".

True...But the difference between the liberal versus conservatives shows which side is developing the election energy. There is more material on Breibart's front page on guest worker increases than this vote.

My guess both Gist and Ossoff lose their special elections in heavy R districts but they made early statements versus their Republican counterparts not releasing statements.

Big problem is when someone says "repealed coverage for pre-existing conditions" and Trump can say "nope, those are all covered. If you pay your premiums, you cannot be charged more a pre-existing condition." And then "annual limits" becomes "state rights" and a talk about how silly it is to have an unlimited lifetime cap on mental illness treatment.

Compared to the first failure of the AHCA, this has received substantially less coverage in the leadup to the vote. Saw a tweet I can no longer locate which had the mentions of the AHCA pre-vote tracked for this vote and the first one, the first one received many more mentions in both TV and print. That passes the smell test for me as the CBO score is what really blew the first vote into a huge story.

The logical win for Republicans is just to "fail" to pass a bill, blaming it on the rules of the Senate. Let Obamacare continue it's slow death spiral and pick up the pieces a few years down the road.

Exactly. Any lack of action now will largely be forgotten in 2018. Most people dont send a huge amount of time following the ins and outs of politics, as long as the Rs have a plausible excuse for inaction, they can get a pass.

Nope. The pre-planned NYT/CNN storyline for that is "Trump broke his promise and is a terrible leader." You know that they already have these articles and TV scripts written.

The "win" here is to discard the dumpster fire that is Obamacare and then - as usual - pass a different bill with at least as many taxpayer-funded giveaways. If we get a simultaneous economic recovery, which we've been denied for over 10 years now, no one will much care.

Sorry. The economy has been performing like a Ferrari for the right-side-of-the-bell-curve set for many years now, sorry if it passed by the people who are running the intellectual equivalent of a Volkswagen Golf.

I second it. The people who are, since the 80's, supposed to make money keep makimg money all right. The rest of the population is just the rest.

>The economy has been performing like a Ferrari

Right. I guess that's why Hillary lost the Historic 2016 Election. Too much awesomeness in the economy.


She got 3 million more votes, in the places he's talking about. Iow, 65% of the GDP in this country voted for Clinton.

A. Also irrelevant, the Indians got more runs than the Cubs

B. Pew poll now has Trump beating Hillary in votes too, if the election were run today.

Lefties suddenly love the rich when they can pretend to be them. Sorry Moo cow, Hillary's 3 million votes came from the despondent minorities suffering intense 3rd world Gini and gang violence on Democrat plantations.

A: *shrug* it's just a fact - everybody (since 200 at least) know about the EC. Justhe pointing out she got more votes. And in places where "the economy is roaring like a Ferrari."

B: the election is not being held today. Everybody hates a loser. Nobody in Minnesota admited they voted for Mondale either.

Thomas - right you are. So many broke liberals on food stamps and welfare reading Marginal Revolution. You got me bro. Got a spare obamaphone? Hahahahaaaaaahaha.

Moo cow, that would be a nice argument if I was suggesting that Hillary's extra 3 million voters were MR readers. Of course, I didn't, so what are you talking about?

"Nope. The pre-planned NYT/CNN storyline for that is “Trump broke his promise and is a terrible leader.”"

thats been true for so long that it doesnt even matter any more. There is a limit to how many "trump is the worst thing evar!" stories you can push before the lose their effectiveness.

The problem is that people who read the NYT always vote Democratic anyway. The storyline doesn't really matter, although it's pretty much "the Republicans are Hitler" all the time no matter what.

The problem with that plan is voters tend to blame the party of the president in power at the time regardless of who actually caused the problem. See Great Recession. That means the Rs will get the blame when Obamacare goes south.

That's not always true. Obama was never considered at fault for the lingering effects of the Great Recession.

Because he had the good sense to get started when it was already collapsing, so the direction his entire time in office was improvement in the economy. Bill Clinton was lucky that way too (with a lesser recession at the start and a much stronger economy at the end, again mainly due to luck).

Obama got started pumping out tens of thousands of pages of expensive regulation, you mean? Planned economies run like Ferraris!

Exactly. The amazing thing is that Republicans have actually adopted the Democrat's standard for judging healthcare policy, which is providing health insurance coverage. That should never have been the goal or the metric of success for them. They needed to be more aggressive in calling out that coverage is just a dog whistle for shifting the goal posts for a single payer system, what counts is lowering costs and giving people more choices, and then hammer the democrats for wanting to drive up costs on everyone, to overregulate the market and deprive people of their right to make their own choices about their health. Instead they go along with the progressive premise that we need to cover everybody - a losing strategy for them because then they're forced to judge policies that are trying to something completely different on the Democrats terms.

+1. Republicans: useless.

If the Republican's don't do something to fix the most egregious failures of Obamacare, they will lose the house in 2018. And if the Democrats don't fix them, they will lose the house in 2020.

This is a strange situation for Washington. Legislation details will have an immediate effect on the lives of many people. There aren't interests to balance. Giving a favor to a lobby group won't win an election for you. The details of how the legislation works is beyond the comprehension of almost everyone, and no one understands the perverse incentives.

"• The number of uninsured people would rise by 24 million by 2021, an increase of 81 percent.
• 81 percent of those losing coverage would be in working families, around 66 percent would have a high school education
or less, 40 percent would be young adults, and about 50 percent would be non-Hispanic whites.
• There would be 14.5 million fewer people with Medicaid coverage in 2021.
• Approximately 9.4 million people who would have received tax credits for private health coverage would no longer
receive assistance.
• Statespendingwouldincreaseby$68.5billionbetween2017and2026asreductionsinMedicaidspendingwouldbemorethan
offset by increases in uncompensated care.
• ManystateshavereportednetbudgetsavingsasaresultofexpandingMedicaidandwouldexperiencebudgetshortfallsifthe
ACA were repealed.
• Signi cantly less health care would be provided to modest- and low- income families."

If you believe that Obamacare will fail, and that states will increase their contributions in the future with Trumpcare, then it would seem that states today should increase their contributions to exchanges, or give money to eligible recipients, as it would be cheaper than Obamacare repeal.

What a derpy stat. Give useless and unaffordable insurance and you beat this stat. Only a moron would consider it.

Ignore stats. Call them derpy, Where is the alternative universe. Do they were aluminum foil hats?

This line of analysis of the Trump administration bugs me. I sort of get the idea that Trump is truly not so bad because the actual effects of his actions (perhaps even intentionally) do not match the posturing and rhetoric, but it's a stretch for me to appreciate the vigor and skill of his lying.

Sometimes I think this type of strategic analysis of Trump's games is a way for certain people who dislike him to nonetheless try and pull something positive and satisfying from the proceedings -- "I dislike him, but when I frame this as a game, I can see him playing it well, and that analysis makes me feel better!".

Trump beat free lunch Republicans by promising to pay everyone to eat lunch.

Then he delivers a crap sandwich and a bill of $500 to everyone who is starving, but only $250 to those eating surf and turf and buying the Donald a burger topped with caviar and lobster meat to get some government handout.

"(not enough good ideas!)"

The lack of good ideas is a feature, not a bug, and for the very reasons mentioned in the post. Politically, the Republicans best option is just letting Obamacare self-destruct. They must be seen as trying to avoid the inevitable disaster but it is not in their interest to actually succeed until the disaster is obvious to all.

Trump did not get the votes of the Mid-Western working class and middle class former Obama voters by pretending to be a racist. He got them because of Obamacare. Every month, these former Democrats are reminded that they should never again vote for a member of the Democratic party. The Republicans are fundamentally ok with that.

>....until the disaster is obvious to all.

If it's not obvious to people now, it never will be. They are probably relying on NYT to tell them, who never will.

They would have to run into an actual human being who has been subjected to Obamacare and its skyrocketing premiums and constant churn of doctors + insurance companies. And these people don't get out much.

"If it’s not obvious to people now, it never will be. "

The inflection point will be when a significant metropolitan area has no insurers willing to provide Obamacare policies. That's the point it will be undeniable.

Yeah, from 2003 to 2009 I suffered from Obamacare 10% annual premium hikes and unaffordable $5000 deductibles... but thanks to Republican AHCA, my insurance premiums went down 10% in 2011! Even better, thanks to Republican AHCA, my insurance premiums fell from $9000 to the $3000 on AHCA free market Medicare!

How could there be good ideas on this front? The ACA is a massive entitlement. It is notoriously hard to roll back entitlements. The only play is to hope that it somehow explodes on its own.

The only real play was to go full nuclear option as soon as they were sworn into power and smashing each and every thing that the democrats hold dear. They would then have to hope that the left's subsequent overreaction and riots would allow them to play the law and order card and win larger in 2018.

Uhm, wait, why didn't they do that? That sounds awesome.

Yep, being forced to pay for something is an entitlement.

Free market is when you get everything you want or need for free because the "free" in free market means free stuff.

Or are you arguing that anyone who chose not to buy insurance will shoot themself in the head to preserve their organs for transplant when they need medical care, say for broken legs or a pregnancy they chose not to have cash to pay for? In free markets, a critical cost elimination method is creative destruction, killing off, and chopping up for sale, unproductive assets that can't pay their way.

Re: He got them because of Obamacare.

The vast majority of the people you mention have little to no connection with the ACA. They are insured by their employers, or else, if elderly, they are on Medicare.
The ACA was , overall, a minimal issue in last year's campaign. Trump's biggest selling point was The Wall, secondly, an end to Free Trade that is costing American jobs (per Trump), and, for the Christian right, some promises about judges. Oh, and for the 1% a spectacular tax cut that would make Reagan look like a high tax guy. To the extent Trump talked about healthcare it was a vague, contentless promise about "something great" -- and polling shows that the AHCA decidedly does not fit that description with people.
By the way, the ACA was passed in 2010. If it was going to be determinative of a presidential election the election of 2012 was the one where it should have mattered-- and yet Obama was handily reelected.

Yes, this. Trump managed to get blue-collar union Democrats to vote R. That's why Michigan and PA went Red. He did it because Free Trade and NAFTA was the worst deal ever. Because the unions killed off their industries by making them uncompetitive in global markets, so the only way they could survive is by closing the borders to foreign goods. This is the same union guys still fighting for old school labor-oriented economic policies circa 1980.
ACA only figure into it because of the "Cadillac Tax"

'not enough good ideas'

Romneycare was a fine Republican idea at the time, especially due to it being inspired by the RINOs as the Heritage Foundation -

'That lesson won’t soon be forgotten. '

Sure, that is exactly what Trump is likely to do with a Congress led investigation of Russian activity to influence American electoral results.

'mostly because they are not paying attention'

That's the advantage of doing things behind closed doors without public debate. Unlike that failure called Obamacare.

I haven't read the bill, but if it is passed, that will be the end of the single-payer dream for a long, long time (Charles Krauthammer notwithstanding).

Disagree. Obamacare is the end of the single-payer dream for a long, long time, occupying much of the attention and energy of those in favor of more government intervention in healthcare. If Obamacare is repealed, the pro-single-payer crowd gets a lot more momentum and a lot more people angry and interested in reform.

Both wrong. Single-payer is coming (alas) because we elect politicians who can't resist controlling health care providers, and all the half-measures they implement create debt and skew the market. Every crisis is an opportunity for the single-payer people, and there will be no backing out once it is in place. The only sensible understanding of the ACA is as a timebomb to precipitate a crisis.

Exactly the opposite. If this thing happens and results in 24 million people losing coverage and everyone else's coverage getting worse, it will only make it more likely the next Dem and Congress run and eventually implement Medicare for all. It's the most obvious thing in the world.

Even if repeal never happens, Trump still seems committed to proving an ACA failure. That too could lead to the kind of "Australian" plan he just praised.

He clarified: "everyone has better healthcare than the US"

I find this astonishingly wring headed, on almost every count. Now, surely it is a short term win politically for the Republicans - but as wins go, "party with a 30 plus edge in the house manages to pass an unpopular bill" is not much. As for your particular points:

(1) Even if this is a big win for the Republicans (see below, it isn't), saying the Dems got "pawned" (sic) implies they had another, better, strategy option. I don't see it. You make an odd argument about "spent the week saying abortion should be legal but rare, and talking about white people," Huh? Abortion wasn't really part of the debate, and talking about white people specifically would have been an odd choice to say the least. One of the things they DID talk about, a lot, was the effect on older Americans - you know, core Republican voters. That was a wrong call how? And they talked about the preexisting condition issue, which is one of the most, if not most, popular part of Obamacare. That was a mistake, why? As for "fulminating," it was an objectively horrible bill from any ideological perspective except for the "tax cuts on the rich should be the primary focus of the congress" perspective. So the Dems should have pretended the bill wasn't so bad? That would have helped how?

(2) As for the public not impressed with Democratic arguments / not paying attention, the polling data certainly suggests otherwise.

(3) The Republican options going forward are, I think, more problematic than you acknowledge.

(a) letting it die in the senate and blaming the Dems doesn't work. You have the dynamics backwards. If people understood the arcana of the Byrd rule, etc., they might blame the Dems, but you're right that they don't. The unsophisticated take is that the Republicans have a majority; if they can't pass it, it's their fault.

(b) As for "proceeding further with reform," there is a way forward here but not a likely one. There are two kinds of bills that could pass: something like the current bill; it would be very difficult to get 50 senate votes for this (could only happen on reconciliation, and would be tough then), If it did pass it would likely make 2018 a blood bath. Or they could pass something significantly more moderate, leaving Obamacare essentially in place but scaled back, which likely would be less of a political own goal. But how do you get that through the House on reconciliation? Or even past the 3 to 4 most conservative senators?

pwned, not pawned.

Yeah but they already got pwned back in November this is just the results of that pwnage. But the original poster is 100% correct the Republicans control congress what exactly could the Democrats have done to prevent this bill? Tyler's analysis makes ZERO sense it's actually ridiculous it took the Republicans THIS long to pass this bill to be honest they control everything and it still took them this long to pass something their party has been promising for ages.

3.5 months?

But since he said "wring headed," "pawned" becomes correct.

Adam may be right re "pwned" origins. But another reference is in Nathan Hill's book The Nix. Tyler mentioned this book in “What I’ve Been Reading” on Sep 1. The character Sam Andresen-Andersen is a complacent college professor who is so disillusioned by his plagiarizing students that he plays 40 hours of Elfscape video games a week. His comrade orc-killer Pwnage is quoted saying “I just pwned your face n00b!!” in Chapter 2. The Pwnage character may be a reference to the original Warcraft typo.

I don't even know what the Dem strat is right now. It seems to be "whip everyone up into a fervor and win 2018 House." It's a rather high-risk strategy for a Party doesn't perform well in off-years to begin with and has a hard time winning in the House.

I suppose they can bank on a recession, but a few more years of 2.5+% wage gains is going to result in large Republican majorities in both chambers and a second Trump term.

There is no overall Dem strategy. They're simply hoping/expecting the GOP to self-immolate between now and 2018.

Pelosi's got nothing. Schumer's made some long-term tactical-level moves in the Senate, i.e. having successfully goaded McConnell into nuking the filibuster for SCOTUS appointments thus setting a precedent, but that's it. Biden's apparently not running in 2020, and he's too old already, anyway. Warren's probably next in line, but I don't think she wants it, and she'll lose against Trump. Obama and Hillary are out of office and politically irrelevant. The DNC understands what needs to be done, but it doesn't have the throw weight to get the SJW, activist base under control much less on board. The SJWs, meanwhile, are focused more than ever on identity politics and public self-expression. They couldn't care less about serious policy or economic issues.

Sanders is the most notable figure on the left right now, but he's really just a socialist analog to Goldwater. He'll matter more a generation from now when a politically significant percentage of the Boomers have finally died off and the younger Millennials age into political leadership. They and older Millennials' offspring will have grown up in the early years of the post-labor economy and will have no experience of, memory of, or sentimental attachment to the post-WWII socioeconomic model. Long-term employment, job security, retirement savings, home ownership, and meritocratic advancement will just be mythical fairy tales they heard from their grandparents. The question is who will be the socialist Reagan to Sanders's Goldwater.

"Sanders is the most notable figure on the left right now, but he’s really just a socialist analog to Goldwater. "
In your heart, you know he's right.

That was a good one, Thiago.

Thanks, it was brought to you by AuH20's campaign. Stay around and watch the Goldwaters' show, that band knows their folk music.

"There is no overall Dem strategy. They’re simply hoping/expecting the GOP to self-immolate between now and 2018"

Isn't that the conservatives strategy in the 50s and 60s? In the 70s, Democrats had no strategy to convince voters TANSTAAFL and thus requiring continuing sacrifice. In 1960, JFK might have won by claiming a "missile gap" that required higher tax revenue to pay for more government spending to grow the economy building nuclear weapons event faster.

As someone who was rich, he knew that 90% tax rates made it profitable to invest in projects that would repay only 70% of the money put into the project. You put in every year $1 taxed at 90% to get a $1 tax deduction every year on something you sell after 5 years for $3 in capital gains taxed at 20% of 90% of $3, ie $5 of income before 90% taxes becomes $2.50 after taxes after five years. By cutting tax rates to 70%, more rich people will pay taxes immediately to spend the money immediately instead of waiting five years for some else to cut your taxes as long as Congress doesn't eliminate the tax dodge. JFK had a rational basic for increasing tax revenue to pay for more government spending.

But by 1970, Democrats had lost their ability to argue for higher tax revenue. Hiking taxes in 1968 really did boost gdp and employment and wages with no increase in inflation, but savings were below demand for loans, so interest rates were increased to the max. Republicans promised savers would get 6 to 10% interest of savings if banks were deregulated, and that slashing military spending would allow big cuts in tax revenue, and Democrats were no longer willing to call for higher taxes to pay to draft unwilking millions of young people into low wage jobs for a couple of years where they get to be patriots by being killed, just to get cheap loans and education to pay lots more in taxes on a house and higher income from supporting the military in a cold and hot war against commies we knew by 1970 were getting poorer and weaker every year.

Note inflation while GW was president was marginally higher than in the 60s, interest on savings was about 1% of the rate during the 60s, ie, 0.5% interest compared to the max Regulation Q 5% interest on savings. Yet in the 60s, conservatives were promising that eliminating Regulation Q would make interest rates far higher than inflation because 2-3% real interest on savings was too low. Today, real interest on savings is minus 1-2%. Yet credit is super easy today, but at 35% and up, not the promised easy credit below the 12% to 18% Regulation Q caps in the 60s.

Lets see, should Democrats promise to pay double what Trump promises to pay voters to eat lunch because Trump beat all the Republicans promising free lunches by promising to pay them to eat lunch.

Or should Democrats go back to TANSTAAFL political economics demanding sacrifice by voters for the greater good?

I gather you believe Democrats holding to Republican policies of the 50s and 60s is just a losing strategy.

Trump promised that he would cut government revenue in half while spending twice as much to deliver far more free stuff to the voters, thus creating so much growth that the lower revenue and higher spending will not merely balance the budget, but pay off the Federal debt.

And economists embrace free lunch economics.

The way to create more gdp growth is to hike profits and cut consumer income.

The way to put more people to work is by increasing demand for workers by lowering the offered price to workers below the cost of being able to work - places in Africa have super high employment rates because the offered wages are less than a dollar a day, right???

The way to put more money in worker pockets is by cutting taxes, by cutting wages so much EITC tax refunds put more money than wages in worker pockets.

The way to eliminate cancer is to never pay for cancer treatment to eliminate the high cost of cancer.

Growing up in the 50s and 60s when getting credit was hard because you needed to have worked and saved for five years to borrow any money, unless you sacrificed for your country by joining the military which paid the unskilled a low wage that came from high taxes on virtually every worker. Romney could have never said 47% don't pay taxes in the 50s and 60s. That happened only since Reagan made free lunch economics cool for conservatives, conservatives who were hyper TANSTAAFL in the 50s and 60s, demanding voters vote to hike taxes if they wanted something from government. And then being frustrated when voters voted to hike taxes.

Trump won, beating conservatives promising free lunches by, for example, promising lower premiums and lower out of pocket costs to see any doctor you want no matter how much he bills with no denial of any services and no taxes to subsidize it, and more doctors and hospitals competing to do more for a third the money.

Obamacare is bad because it's TANSTAAFL. The right hates it because it requires paying for it. The left hates it because it's not totally free.

They have the majority, it doesn't take brilliance to eventually pass something they can call "repeal Obamacare".

I know that this is probably naive of me, but there seems to be altogether too much talk about which party "wins" with this sort of thing, from all sides of the argument (and Tyler included). As if the thing that's most important here is political manoeuvring and games, and not the effect that policies have on people's lives.

Did the Republicans beat the Democrats? Sure, probably. But I find myself caring less and less. I know that everyone (particularly in the media) wants to be politically savvy, but it all feels a bit empty.

Are you new to the USA?

Here's a quiz for you: Around 2005, when the Turks began shelling innocent northern Iraqi villages because some PKK fighters had fled across the border, NPR described it as what?

(a) an international human rights violation

(b) a terrible tragedy for the Iraqi people

(c) a massive setback for the Bush Administration

The answer is..... C!!

Jesus you listen to NPR? What a cuck you are!

Yes, this is a continuing series, in which Republicans do something dumb, and then right partisans find a way to twist it in their minds and blame Democrats.

Remember the 2002 invasion of Iraq? Clearly Hillary's fault, in an earlier example of this continuing series.

"Remember the 2002 invasion of Iraq"

Actually, no.

Especially because it was in 2003

Democrats got pwned but it wasn't yesterday. That happened in November.

Yesterday all the GOP had to do was rally their members to to vote for the thing they've voted unanimously for dozens of times. But rather than flaunt their "Alpha" dominance, they impersonated a bunch of "cucks" hand-wringing for months about how to get access to their own bedroom.

Yeah, they totally pwned.

100% agree the Republican performance has been utterly pathetic since November, we should have tax reform by now, we should have had Obamacare eliminated already.

"Yesterday all the GOP had to do was rally their members to to vote for the thing they’ve voted unanimously for dozens of times".
As some Republicans made it clear, it was different back then because Obama was there to veto the whole thing, now the adult is gone and the voting has real consequences. Do not trust me on it, trust Red State.

Obamacare became law in March, 2010, 8 months before the election. Nothing else happened before November. So, it was THE issue.

This is 18 months. 18 months before 2016 election, Donald Trump was a joke, no chance candidate. 18 months before Brexit, it was just a pipe dream of some odd UKIP sorts.

18 months is a lifetime [maybe several lifetimes] in politics. We could be at war with Korea by then. Or something else.

stick to economics and food reviews.

Stick to shutting up.

These two comments make the whole post for me.

You know, the only way I can explain American policies is hypothesizing that Amwricans just like to be preyed on. The party at charge changes, but that never changes.

Nice to hear from Tyrone again.

This from Tom Preston with the TastyTrade organisation:

"To make healthcare more competitively priced, I’d stick 200 doctors and 20 data scientists in a room for 1 year to catalog every single medical treatment and attach a SKU to each one. Then have AMZN create a web site where all the hospitals, insurance companies, clinics, doctors, etc. can publish their prices, and we can click to buy the cheapest hip replacement (guaranteed operation in 2 days with Prime!) at the place with the highest number of stars. It’s transparent, competitive, simple. "

Right. Some of us would like to have an actual health care market, like the market for books, or shoes, or most other things.

Unfortunately, there are way too many government distortions and regulations right now for us to have that and most (not all) of the politicians we've elected don't want to change that.

Bottom line is the House Republican bill eliminates the mandate and tax penalty/fine. Whatever else it may or may not do, it repudiates authoritarianism and the fascistic neo-Bolshevism that Tyler peddles as "soft-libertarianism." A yuge win for working class Americans and worthy of praise and celebration.

Yep, the Republicans restored free single payer medical care that's rationed when too few people have socialized medicine like Medicare, VA, Medicaid, or global corporate ERISA benefits to pay providers enough the providers will not go bankrupt paying for medical care for the uninsured.

Does anyone think rural Americans are going to gain more access to care if this House bill becomes law?

With high numbers of working poor and no global employers providing health benefits, and Medicaid cuts to the elderly on Medicare that pays only 80% IF YOU PAY THE PART B $110 a month premium with Medicaid paying the rest, providers will vanish. (Medicaid by each State's law requires Part B and any supplemental insurance premium be paid and then the Medicare plus private supplemental pay the maximum benefit with Medicaid stepping in to pay any unpaid bills, often with haircuts.)

Which providers are going to open up in rural areas where no big government regulations exist to serve cash only patients where patients have little to no cash? They will clearly open up right next to the luxury car and fashion showroom in rural Americ!

" It doesn’t feel like it has the urgency of when Obamacare was passed, and in fact it doesn’t."

Orwell would be proud!

The Republicans passed a bill without reading it because the votes were cast before the ink was dry on the law after low pressure leisurely debate.

The Democrats innthe House debated ACA from Dec 24, 2009 to Mar 21th, 2010 in a frenzied rush of hyper urgency with years of arguments against it ginned up out of thin air.

Note, the actual law the Republicans are trying to repeal was passed by the full 60 votes in the Senate on Dec 24, 2009 and then passed by the House on Mar 21, 2010 after being published on the Internet for everyone to read for that entire time by more votes in the House, 219, than this Republican bill, 216.

Anyway, the Senate GOP is discarding the entire House bill and will replace it entirely in a Senate amendment. Just like ACA was a Senate amendment to the House "Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009".

Reviewing Twitter, a variation of this is "Republicans do dumb things" .. "Yeah, well Democrats can't get elected."

Talk about a weird rationalization, both for the voters leading to dumb things, and the legislators actually doing dumb things.

"Go team, we win, and it is someone else's fault what we do."

I think the win is in that the Republicans do less dumb things (and fewer too). Still not a great long term strategy.

Wired is reporting that the bill makes the results of genetic testing into "preexisting conditions."

That is dystopian, and not really "less dumb."

After years of intense debate on health care, all the well funded conservative think tanks, and policy wonks can't come up with any good ideas?

That is disappointing.

Do you have better ideas? It is easy to complain about other people.

I'm not a credentialed academic or a think tank policy wonk. I wish I was, but I choose a completely different career that is unrelated to health care policy. My ideas on health care are generally unwelcome.

These pop econ bloggers have very influential positions to produce health care policy ideas. And this is exactly the kind of thing that their careers and reputations are built upon.

I found Grumpy Economist John Cochrane most eloquent on the health care issue, and I'm disappointed that he wasn't written more on the issue as his ACA fell apart and the demand for alternatives was clearly there. To a lesser extent, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey expressed good ideas. Ideally, Trump would pick him as a staffer.

"My ideas on health care are generally unwelcome". So are former President Obama's and President Trump's (and everyone else's). Such is life. As we say in Brazil, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

Come on. We don't expect normal people to develop their own health care policy ideas.

We do expect the think tanks and policy wonks and and academics to come up with great idea policies.

The Grumpy Economist seems the explain health care the most eloquently and even entertainingly:

It seems that guy should be doing more to get his ideas heard or others should be better at pulling him into the health care policy issues.

"not enough good ideas!" <- How about this circle of popular economist blogs: Cowen, Tabarrok, Caplan, Grumpy Economist, Mankiew, and the giant set of connections? No good ideas? Isn't that your thing, good ideas on things like health policy?

The implicit acknowledgement is that Democrats must force good ideas, even as the GOP opposes them, and if those good ideas don't win, it is the left's fault.

An endgame without any right of center responsibility.

Repealing bad ideas is a good idea.

Sure, but if that were true for the ACA, straight repeal to status quo ante would be 1) popular and 2) a big win for the Republicans.

It ain't.

So, reverting to an even worse idea is a good idea?

EMTALA is much higher worse, isn't it?

When Republicans say "no one dies from lack of access to health care", they are doing so under the authority of EMTALA that mandates free medical treatment if life is at risk.

Not that free medical care is free, just that those required to bear the costs won't be paid by anyone. And if no one pays for the costs of something, the price is free.

I'm sorry that the Democrats are not right-wing enough for you. But there's already a party like that. Why not just be happy with one, especially because they are doing so well?

Disagree with TC here. This is a deeply unpopular bill, less popular than Obamacare. They took an unpopular initial proposal in the AHCA (with 17% approval ratings) and altered/removed one of its most popular provisions (the prohibition on denying people for pre-existing conditions), making it even less popular. Blaming Democrats for trying to prevent the GOP from passing a bill that almost everyone hates is not a very good electoral strategy.

Furthermore, now the disaster that is the American health care system can be blamed on Republicans, even though many of the problems stem from progressive health care policies that have driven up costs (extensive coverage requirements, heavy subsidies and taxes, and the tax exclusion for employer sponsored plans). Since the Republican plan keeps most of the regulatory structure of Obamacare intact and does very little to change the fundamental cost drivers, there will still be increases in the cost of healthcare and given the extensive subsidies and tax cuts in the bill, it will add to the deficit, except now this all gets chalked up to being the Republicans fault even though most of it is a holdover from Obamacare.

The GOP passed a bill that is extremely unpopular, at numbers which make the Iraq War c. 2006 look like a public relations success. It has been criticized across the political spectrum and condemned by coalitions of very strange bedfellows indeed (doctors+insurers+consumer advocates). Yes, the GOP can say It Did Something-- but when that something is deeply unpopular I fail to see how that is a good claim to make. The Democrats did not get "pwned"-- they had no part in this process in the House. Rather the GOP has loaded a gun and pointed it at their own heads. They had really better hope the Senate deep sixes this bill.

Well, you can't cut health care costs without screwing over doctors and corporations getting paid to provide health care.

No matter what conservative free lunch economics says, cutting costs does not create jobs or increase consumer spending or grow gdp.

Unless the cost cutting is countered with even bigger government deficits, and governments declaring loans that can never be repaid sound lending that is backed by government bailouts. Which is the reason Trump is president, as mastering the art of borrowing money that can never repaid and getting a government bailout by an unelected Federal technocrat created by the Constitution.

I have no idea what the point of this post is.

The Republicans passed an idiotic bill. Somehow this is a big win for them?

We are doomed, and Tyler bears a small part of the responsibility.

Please think about this issue from the POV of someone affected, and not from the POV of a tenured academic with an unduly abstract view of things.

What does 'doomed' mean in this context?

Cue the sad violins for the loss of cross subsidies.

The CBO has a hard time with health care projections.

It does seem strange that the Republicans keep focusing on dismantling Obama's signature achievement. Why can't they find some other area to focus on? Is there nothing they care about except health care? If you are in a game with an opponent and the issue they care most about is health care, even if you disagree on that issue, it makes more sense to focus on other issues

Well, how can Republicans take credit for a conservative health care plan if the name on it is Obamacare?

To not repeal Obamacare is flush hundreds of millions given to Heritage et al to give conservatives great access to health care by a conservative health reform down the toilet. Obamacare is a disaster because it does not violate the 14th Amendment and exclude liberals and moderates.

They (GOP) are emerging as masters of their emergent craft--not legislation--of using the process to be spoilers. Brilliant!

This is all so stupid. Re health: 1) everyone should be insured with a minimum of health coverage. Everyone, automatically. Broken bones mended, basic service given. If you want more services, pay for them on an open market (doesn't exist yet) or pay extra for better health insurance beforehand.

Only used the free basic health insurance because you were healthy, now suddenly want the best brain cancer treatment? Tough luck, you're sticking to extracted tree sap (actually a favorite glioblastoma treatment).

Inequality in society arising due to robot revolution, debt etc letting us middle class not access the
healthcare we deserve? Tax the rich back into the upper upper middle class (out of the stratosphere), fund much more scientific research, give grants to startups, toughly legislate that markets be open to startups.

Problem solved.

Oh and a national sugar tax would help as well. As would not feeding our children junk. My kids are lucky, they eat plenty of veggies and we have a big garden. I feel just sad whenever i see a fat 8yo who can hardly run, is afraid of bees, etc. My kids can run circles around them and still get great grades. We don't get sick. What happens during childhood patterns your whole life. Michelle obama has it right: we must treat our children well, including healthy school lunches, rigorous PE, etc. That's even more important than fixing health care.

I urge anyone who knows they have some pbad tendencies to break the cycle. It's ok if you suffer; just don't give it to your kids.

The smugness of Democrats and the assuredness of pundits that the House will be blue in 2018 is nauseating. What they should have stressed instead is the virtue of single payer or public option. Charles Krauthammer stated that America will have single payer in 7 years. No, lightning did not strike and the world did not end. Single payer does two things that are attractive. The first is to lower costs. Singapore and Australia spend less because of government intervention. The second perk is mobility. Single payer would allow us to move jobs or start small businesses without fear of losing health coverage. Democrats should really be all over this.

Conservatives, on the other hand, are playing it differently. Read National Review "We Are All Murders Now" or "Why Shouldn't Women Pay More For Insurance?". Time and time again they stress choice. Bob should have chosen to be healthy even if he was genetically predisposed to have heart problems. A woman should have chosen in the womb to be male because it would afford her cheaper insurance and respect. I grow tired of the paternal lecturing. I do wonder how they intend to document the small choices of every American that will reward/penalize them on insurance premiums. No privacy issues there.

Don't you know that women choose to be women.

You clearly chose to have the universal preX that conservatives argue requires charging you higher insurance premiums every year. (Compromised into bands of years for the big premium hikes.)

The only cure for the universal preX to avoid the big premium hikes is suicide.

No one has an alternative to being a year older and a bigger risk needing higher premiums every year you live. Other than prohibiting all rating for PreX like ERISA does. Those with advanced universal preX of age 64 pay the same premium as the early stage universal preX age 20.

"it would have been better to have spent the week saying abortion should be legal but rare"

Hillary's party seemed to have abandoned the rare part:
The election was very close she might have won had she said "rare" a little more.

Abortions are rare and rarer where abortion is legal and easily accessed because the places offering abortion spend all their product marketing on services to prevent anyone wanting or needing an abortion.

It would be like GM spending most of its efforts on selling booklets of public transit schedules, teaching people the health benefits of walking and bike riding, and subsidizing sidewalks, bikes, buses, trains, etc so no one needs a car.

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