Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Cost Sharing Reductions and the Constitution

Republican Representatives who sued the Obama administration, Judge Rosemarry Collyer who decided they were right, Donald Trump and lawyers representing the Trump administration argue that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) can not compensate insurance companies for the expence of cost sharing reductions (CSRs) for people with income under 250% of the poverty line who purchase silver plans on ACA exchanges. The argument is that compensation for CSRs might be good policy, but the Constitution makes it clear that only Congress can choose such good policy.

I’m not an lawyer but I do not understand how anyone can make such an argument. Following Mark Joseph Stern, I quote from the ACA

(3) Methods for reducing cost-sharing
(A) In general
An issuer of a qualified health plan making reductions under this subsection shall notify the Secretary of such reductions and the Secretary shall make periodic and timely payments to the issuer equal to the value of the reductions.

(3) Payment
The Secretary shall pay to the issuer of a qualified health plan the amount necessary to reflect the increase in actuarial value of the plan required by reason of this subsection.

Tnat seems very clear to me. The whole case seems to rest on the fact that the ACA never says funds are appropriated for this purpose. My (non lawyer’s) understanding of precedent is that the Constitutional requirement that funds be disbursed only as appropriated by law by Congress has not been interpreted as requiring the approriate use of the appropriate “appropriated”.

Just to cut and paste a bit from Stern

When Congress passed the ACA, after all, it instructed HHS to make these payments. And in doing so, it effectively appropriated the necessary funds. As Georgetown University law professor David Super explained to my colleague Jordan Weissmann in 2015: “The Supreme Court has been very clear that you do not have to have a law that says ‘appropriations’ across the top. You just need a law directing that the money be spent.”

I don’t see an arguable case against paying the money.

Certainly, I don’t see how anyone can argue that the payments are not allowed and required without addressing the bits of the law which I cut and pasted.

It seems to me that to pretend they don’t exist is to lie by omission, and that lying to a judge is contempt of court, even if one isn’t under oath.

Lawyers help me. I sure wouldn’t want Trump administration lawyers to be disbarred.

Comments (3) | |

States Can, In Effect, Make The Treasury Pay For Cost Sharing Reductions

Many have noted that Trump has the strange idea that he can destroy the US health care financing system & people will blame Obama. I actually think he is wrong about this — many polls show that a solid majority of US adults say they will Republicans responsible (yes I know it’s unfair to think they have the responsibility just because they have all the power).

But before that comes the question of whether Republicans can destroy the ACA without repealing the bill. I think there is a weak point in their strategy (and there is no doubt this is the the Trump administration’s strategy). The Federal Government does not regulate the premiums insurance companies may charge if the participate in the exchanges. Even if only very sick people buy insurance on the exchanges, state regulators can allow insurance companies to make a profit by charging gigantic premiums. If only very sick people with income less than 4 times the poverty line buy insurance on the exchanges, then the Federal Government will pay the huge increase in premiums due to adverse selection. I don’t see any way the Trump administration can stop this without changing the law (or how they can change the law having repeatedly failed).

Already states including Oregon, California and Alaska have allowed insurance companies to raise premiums to compensate for Trump’s decision to welch on CSR payments (who would have thought Trump would refuse to fork over money that is owed ???). In particular, they are allowing increases of the premium on silver plans — the premium which determines the subsidies.

I should cite @xpostfactoid https://twitter.com/xpostfactoid who has been making this argument on Twitter.

I don’t see a limit on what state insurance commissioners could do if they decided to play hard ball. In particular, they can allow gigantic premiums without hurting people with income over 4 times the poverty line if the market segregates and some insurance companies sell only on the exchanges (to people getting subsidies) and some only directly (setting market insurance rates).

What if a regulator approved a premium of $ 1,000,000 a month ? This would create no problem for people with income under four times the poverty line — they would pay the same function of their income as now and the Treasury would pay the rest. No one who didn’t get a subsidy would come close to the exchange (or that company which is required to charge the same if it sells directly to prevent blatant fraud). Now the insurance company wouldn’t be able to keep the money — the minimum medical loss ratio of 80% means they get only 25% what health care providers get. However, unless I am confused, the excess is sent to policy holders not the Treasury.

I may be confused, but I think the only things which has been preventing this raid on the Federal Treasury are norms of fairness and a desire to not inconvenience unsubsidized upper middle class consumers by forcing them off the exchange. I’d guess the second factor is more important.

But if the alternative is a collapse of the individual market *and* Trump is, as usual, ignoring norms by not paying what is owed, then I think neither barrier will hold.

I am sure they won’t go to the blatant million dollar raid on the Treasury. But I am also sure that state regulators can (and some will) make the Federal Government bear more than 100% of the cost of Trump’s stunt.

Comments (5) | |

Which Senator Has Done the Most for World Peace ?

Many US Senators have contributed to preserving the peace. I am not a historian, but I understand that many admire William Fullbright. I personally think very highly of Ernest Gruening who tried to save the US from the Tonkin Gulf resolution and our involvement in the war in Vietnam.

However, I think it is now clear that the honor belongs to Senator Robert Corker (R-Tenn). Sen Corker is a respected and experienced statesman not prone to impulsive action. But more importantly, he controls no nuclear weapons.

Any day Trump spends insulting Senator Corker is a day he doesn’t get around to insulting Kim Jong Un who is a depraved and spoiled dictator with nuclear weapons.

I ask concerned citizens to help Senator Corker keep President Trump busy. “adult day care center” was enough for us to survive Sunday, but we can’t expect Senator Corker to bear the whole burden While Trump has a skin as thin as a DNA molecule (that’s thin) he also has the attention span of a meth addled gnat. It is our duty to work together to keep Trump pissed in our time.

Comments (5) | |

Republicans’ Refusal to Understand Insurance Still Matters

When attempting to repeal and not really replace Obamacare, various Republicans demonstrated opposition to the idea of insurance. They objected that healthy people shouldn’t subsidize the health care of sick people — that is their honest view of health insurance is that they are against it.

I didn’t keep track of recent examples, googled, and have old examples

Paul Ryan (paraphrased — listen to him if you must — I can’t force myself to listen)

“The conceit of Obamacare,” he said at his press conference on Trumpcare, is that “young and healthy people are going to go into the market and pay for the older, sicker people.” That’s why Obamacare is in a “death spiral,” he noted.

Mo Brooks (very blatantly)

Their immediate problem is to explain why they don’t think health insurance should be eliminated entirely. Their much more serious problem (which I hope will be fatal to their ideology) is that they have to explain why it is reasonable to want there to be health insurance, want there to be community rating and coverage of treatment of pre-existing conditions, and oppose equalitarian redistribution in general.

They ususally understand that they must carefully avoid trying to explain how they are for insurance but against community rating (or for community rating but against welfare) because people might decide to support community rating (and universal basic income and who knows what else) if they understood why Republicans oppose them.

Republican logic is that due to the will of the market or God (to the extent that they distinguish Them at all) people get what they deserve, so the poor deserve to be poor and so do the sick. Most grownups (hell most 4 year olds) have noticed that the world doesn’t work that way.

AFter the jump, I will try ot make an honest to God the market effort to make sense of Ryan et al. I hope this shows how dangerous the discussion is to them.

Comments (4) | |

NAWRU constructive (?) proposals

I have vigorously criticized the European Community DG EcFin approach to estimating the non accelerating wage inflation rate of unemployment (NAWRU). This is a step in their estimation of output gaps, which, in turn, are used to set allowed deficits for member countries under the Stability and Growth Pact. The calculations are critically important.
Marco Fioramanti and I think the DG EcFin approach (technically agreed with member governments) is not defensible.

I have two thoughts about how NAWRU should be estimated. One is a proposed modification of the current state space model. The other is more radical: it is to calculate NAWRU as a function of data without allowing unexplained variation at all.

1) a modest proposal

a) The problems with the currently agreed procudure based on a Kalman filter.
The current estimates of NAWRU depend critically on arbitrary restrictions on parameters. The restrictions are imposed ad hoc. Relaxing them leads to NAWRU estimates which are very different than the official estimates. The importance of the unmotivated restrictions is demonstrated by the fact that extremely similar estimates of trend unemployment are usually (for n of 28 countries ) obtained without any use of data on wage inflation simply as a trend-cycle decomposition of the univariate unemployment series given the restrictions on parameters. The arbitrary restrictions are different for different EU countries and are changed from year to year (without any motivation or explanation of the change). This means that estimated output gaps depend critically on arbitrary decisions made by people who should act as technicians.

The assertion that unemployment can be decomposed into a stationary and non-stationary components is not a testable hypothesis. Theory does not guide the specification of the non stationary component at all. There is no reason to expect that it is unaffected by fiscal policy and no justification for taking it as exogenous and given when setting fiscal policy.

It would be much better if there were simpler uniform limits on the time series models which can be clearly explained and motivated and which are not changed at will.
I think the key problem is that, for some reason, NAWRU is modelled as a second order random walk, so the drift term is itself a random walk. There is no motivation for this approach. It has no relationship with any existing model of unemployment — the original natural rate of unemployment hypothesis had no place for unexplained variations in the natural rate — only variations due to changes in labour market institutions were allowed. The second order random walk model is not taken seriously. It is used to decompose unemployment into NAWRU and cyclically adjusted unemployment, but it is not used to forecast future unemployment. A key principal of standard time series economics is that time series models are evaluated based on their ability to forecast accurately out of sample. Contradictory assumptions about the same time series for different purposes are not usually allowed.

Importantly the choice to model NAWRU as a second order random walk is not based on empirical evidence. For most (n of 28) countries, the estimated variance of the disturbance to the drift (the so called “slope variance” is zero if restrictions are not imposed on parameters. For (n of 28) countries a binding lower bound on this parameter estimate is imposed — in effect the parameter is set by hand arbitrarily. For another (m of 28) the parameter estimate is positive only because binding upper bounds are imposed on other variances.

It seems to me clear that this parameter should be set to zero, so NAWRU should be modelled as a first order random walk (as it currently is for Slovenia). There is no theoretical motivation for assuming stochastic drift. The data, if allowed, usually yield 0 as an estimate. The implications of varying drift are absurd . The model with varying drift is not used for out of sample forecasting. All arguments I have read which defend the current approach are vague and essentially appeal to the judgment of appointed experts.

I conclude that, if NAWRU is modelled as an indirectly observed state, it should be modelled as a first order random walk. I can’t think of any defence of the second order random walk model.

b) Problems with freely estimate parameters

I don’t know or care why the second order random walk specification was originally chosen. However, it is easy to see why first order random walk estimates are unappealing (so estimates where a slope disturbance is allowed but freely estimated and estimated to be zero are unappealing). Given the general increase in unemployment in most EU countries, a large positive drift is estimated. For many countries, freely estimated NAWRU is a deterministic trend (or nearly a deterministic trend). Given the theoretical model of NAWRU as function of labour market institutions this is implausible. I personally find it implausible. The natural reaction to this prior belief that dramatic positive drift is implausible is to restrict the drift parameter to zero. That is to model NAWRU as a first order random walk without drift. To do this is to say that we have no sense we can forecast of the sign of the change in NAWRU from AD 3000 to 3010.

Setting the drift to zero is very different from relaxing arbitrary restrictions on estimated variances. It is a restriction no relaxation of a restriction. It implies a lower likelihood not a higher likelihood. It is based on theory, but the theory consists of simplifying assumptions made about trends by economists who want to focus on cycles. I think the drift in NAWRU should be set to zero, but I can see why others might be sincerely unconvinced.

The Phillips curve with NAWRU assumed to be a first order random walk without drift remains poorly identified. The problem is that data on wages (or real unit labour costs) provide no information about the variance of the disturbance to cyclical unemployment. If cyclical unemployment is multipled by 10 and the phillips curve parameters are divided by 10, then the forecasts of wage inflation aren’t changed at all. Wihtout restictions on parameters, the Phillips curve gives no information on the magnitude of the distubances to cyclical unemployment and the NAWRU. This explains the attraction of arbitrary restrictions on estimated variances. I personally think it is reasonable to impose (sometimes binding) lower bounds on the variance of the disturbance to cyclical unemployment and the NAWRU. I think it is very important, as a matter of fairness, to impose the same arbitrary limts on parameters estimated for different countries. I certainly think that the restictions should be chosen a priori and not changed ad hoc. To be specific I propose 0.1 %2 as a lower bound on both estimated variances.

c) preliminary conclusion

I think that the proposed model in which NAWRU is assumed to be a random walk without drift with variance the greater of the free estimate and 0.1 %2 and cylical unemployment a stationary AR(2) with a distubrance with variance the greater of the free estimate and would be a huge improvement on the existing approach. The model could be used for non absurd out of sample forecasts. The time series behavior of NAWRU in the model corresponds to the time series behavior of the natural rate of unemployment in the theoretical literature. The arbitrary restictions are simple, constant and the same for all EU countries. They can (and must) be clearly and prominently stated.

A more radical proposal after the jump

Comments (0) | |

Democrats in Array

The hardy perennial “Democrat’s circular firing squad is in disarray” story line is looking a bit withered. During the whole dramatic absurd Trumpcare drama (so far Trumpcare is a zombie which can’t be killed) ALL 48 Democratic senators remained united. In 2016 the new Clinton adopted a neo-neo-liberal platform which was actually liberal.

However, some people refuse to let it go. I am one of those people.

update Charlie Pierce is another one, and he can write. Click this link for the post I wish I had written
end update

I want to whine about this informative and well written article by Ryan Cooper
“Why leftists don’t trust Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Deval Patrick”. Cooper wrote in the third person discussing leftists without presenting himself as one. He left me tempted to title this post “”Leftist Democratism” as an infantile disorder”. His key point is that leftists value style over substance “Second, and perhaps more importantly, they need to make a symbolic rhetorical break with the despised donor class. ” Cooper’s point is that the (un-named and unquoted leftists who clearly include someone named Cooper) care more about style than policy proposals.

I find this frustrating, but admit that it makes political sense. The 2016 election was, among other things, a triumph of style over substance. Trump won some votes of people who wanted to move left from Obama. His proposal to slash the taxes on the rich was less important to them than his fake populist tone. I find myself on the left wing of the Democratic party and agree that anti-banker rhetoric is a key part of Democrats’ best strategy.

On the other hand, factional purism and focusing on small differences within the party is not. Cooper explains suspicion of Harris because she did not prosecute OneWest (treasury secretary Mnuchin’s firm with a business plan based on maximizing foreclosures and subsidies from the FDIC). Here the point is that one should only prosecute if one has a reasonable chance of winning and being a jerk is not a crime. Corry Booker is suspected for having said (years ago) that Obama’s criticism of Wall Street was too harsh (yes outrageously extreme moderation — but just a youthful discretion).

I suspect that a lot of “the left” is suspicious of anyone who is not named Bernard Sanders. I also think that they are focused on uniting against the common enemy the Judean People’s Front the party establishment.

There is, certainly, a good bit of mutual pointless hostility. I hope there is not much to the effort to keep the circular firing squad tradition alive.

Comments (14) | |

What is Socialism (contagion from Twitter)

So @atrios tweeted asking for a definition of socialism in 140 characters or less. Being a fool, I tweeted “Means of production controlled by people elected with one person one vote”

Many people objected that all states which say they are socialist are also not democratic. I need more than 140 characters to explain my definition & impose on your patience.

First a definition must be true of all examples of the set defined & not true of any exceptions. Whatever socialism might be, it is a fairly new concept (I cite the infallible Pope and the encyclicl “Rerum Novum” literally “new things” & all about socialism). Any absolute monarch owns everything including all of the means of production. Ramses II was not a socialist. I think any reasonable definition of socialism implies that “democratic socialism” is redundant.

Some commenters asserted that democratic socialism is impossible, so, by my definition, socialism is impossible. I concede for the sake of argument that they are correct. So what ? I could also define “perpetual motion machine” or “pegasus”. Defining a word does not imply the assertion that it names something which has actually existed or could exist.

Others assumed that, by defining socialism as democratic, I must be advocating it. in fact, I think that socialism is a bad approach to managing the means of production.

From that concession a very polite and intelligent tweeter concluded I was a libertarian. I said I prefer a mixed system which is not socialist but is closer to socialism than, say, the current USA (an aside why am I talking about a country 3000 miles away — well I am looking at a petrochemical plant built which isn’t actually producing anything, built with public subsidies to a crooked businessman who paid the second largest bribe in Italian history and damnit I’m on vacation and I will. not. think. about the Italian economy or how a mixed economy can get all mixed up.)

So to conclude. It makes no sense to define socialism as state control of the means of production. That would imply that all absolute monarchs are socialists. One can define something as democratic without praising it (electing Ronald Reagan was clearly democratic). One can define something without asserting it is stable or can last for a long time in the real world. I think socialism is utopian and I don’t agree with Paul Ryan.

I am addicted to twitter but have profound doubts about a medium in which the concepts explained above are too complicated to express.

Comments (2) | |

US Public Support for Medicaid

Prominent among the things that the out of touch elite knows about regular Americans in, say Kansas where something is the matter, is that those people oppose means tested programs almost as much as they support Social Security old age and survivor benefits and Medicare.

(Another used to be that the didn’t support higher taxes on high income people. One of my angrybear obsessions was noting the solid to overwhelming majorities in all polls dating back to 1992 who have told Gallup that “upper income people” pay less than their fair share of taxes (search for Gallup here). For roughly a decade, I have been a voice crying out in a crowded room as the fact has become too obvious to deny.)

Now Kate Zernike & Abby Goodnough at the New York Times have noted the overwhelming support for means tested Medicaid (both the ACA expansion and legacy Medicaid).
update: I should write that I think the article is excellent. I object to one clause in the article.
End update:

But even when reporting the fact, they repeat the old falsehood asserting “The shift in mood also reflects a strong increase in support for Medicaid, ”

Now the mood certainly includes overwhelming support for Medicaid. The claim that this is an increase from previous lower levels is not supported by evidence presented in the article. There is the problem that, in plain English, high and increased are used as synonyms (that is people are generally innumerate about levels and changes). But, I think, it is also true that a plain fact clearly demonstrated in poll after poll has been denied by members of the out of touch elite. Here I think highly educated urban liberals assume most of our countrymen are savage reactionaries. Also political reporters talk to Republican operatives a lot and Republican operatives both live in the conservabubble and lie shamelessly.

In any case, US public support for Medicaid has been overwhelming for many years (always click and search for Medicaid)

In 2012 the fraction who found Medicaid cuts acceptable was a Kung Fu Monkey + 1 28%

“In order to strike a budget deal that avoids the so-called fiscal cliff, would you accept cutting spending on Medicaid, which is the government health insurance program for the poor, or is this something you would find unacceptable?” 12/13-16/12

Accept 28%
Unacceptable 68 %
Unsure 3%

On the stronger position “favor” not just “accept” Bloomberg found that cuts to Medicaid crushed the Kung Fu Monkey Crazification limit

“Cut Medicaid, which is government help for medical care for low-income people”

12/7-10/12

Favor 22 %
Oppose 74 %
unsure 4 %

McClatchy Marist found an almost Kung Fu Monkey crazy 26% in favor

“Cut spending for Medicaid”

12/4-6/12

Favor 26
Oppose 70
Unsure 4

With middle choice cut some but not a lot United Technologies got 35% support.

All these polls address the fiscal cliff. They were taken roughly four and one half years ago. They show support for cutting Medicaid very similar to support for the AHCA and BCRA in recent polls.

Back when the ACA passed, support for Medicaid expansion wasn’t as overwhelming as opposition to Medicaid cuts (it was a polarized debate and it is true that it is easier to refrain from giving than to take back once given). Still there was always at least plurality support for Medicaid expansion (even in the context of Medicare cuts).

23% support for Medicaid cuts (34% for increases when discussed in the context of the budget).

In particular, the pattern makes it very cleat that hatred of “welfare” isn’t hatred of welfare as defined by economists. I don’t know of much polling, but I certainly don’t know of much public opposition to disability pensions.

There has been overwhelming opposition to Medicaid cuts for many years. Public support for Medicaid is slighly lower than public support for Medicare, but basically feelings about the two programs are similar. This fact doesn’t fit the narrative, so the fact was surpressed.

The hatred of “welfare” is based on racism and not on any particular program or belief about incentives or anything else. In context “welfare” means “Money for black people”. The pattern in public opinion polling makes this almost undeniable.

I’m going to try to avoid discussing the implications for the argument that social insurance is politically feasible while redistribution isn’t. I can’t help noting that I consider this hypothesis to have been rejected by the data.

Comments (15) | |

Some Thoughts on ACA and BCRA

I’m not sure if this is worth posting here, but I have some thoughts on health care reform reform.

The Republican arguments have become absurd in interesting ways.

HHS secretary Price said something which makes no sense: “the Senate health care bill strengthens and secures Medicaid for the neediest in our society,” putting the program, which serves more than 70 million low-income people, on “a path to long-term sustainability.”

Republicans regularly describe cuts to Social Security pensions or Medicare benefits as needed to “strengthen and secure” those programs. In those cases, the argument isn’t absurd, because OASDI and Medicare plan A have trust funds which might run out. It makes no sense in the case of Medicaid which is financed by general revenues. I think the dedicated financial streams and trust funds make Social Security and Medicare vulnerable. It is possible to convince people that the trust funds reaching zero will cause something like the bankruptcy of a firm (and also people tend to assume that claims on bankrupt firms are worthless when historical recovery ratios average around 70 cents on the dollar).

The argument for dedicated taxes and trust funds, which I have read here among other places, is that otherwise the programs are like welfare and would be unpopular. The massives support for Medicaid demonstrated now that Republicans are trying to cut it undermines this argument.

Also in the same article Sen Cornyn flat out lies “Mr. Cornyn acknowledged that “there’s uncertainty about what the final outcome will be.” Asked what would happen if the bill did not pass, he said: “I assume we’ll keep trying. But at some point, at some point, if Democrats won’t participate in the process, then we’re going to have to come up with a different plan.” Of course Democrats have begged to participate in the process and have been excluded by Republicans. Robert Pear quoted the lie without noting that it is false. I think this is bad journalism. Also Cornyn is hinting that they might have to (shudder) try bipartisan negotiation. His statement would only make any sense if it were rephrased “If Democrats will participate in the process”. “Keep trying” means keep trying to pass a bill while completely excluding all Democrats. Cornyn is admitting that it was a mistake to be 100% partisan. He wants to blame the Democrats. The result is not just a lie, it is garbled nonsense based on a lie.

Finally Rand Paul is insane. He actually said “it keeps the fundamental flaw of Obamacare. It keeps the insurance mandates that cause the prices to rise, which chase young, healthy people out of the marketplace and leads to what people call adverse selection, where you have a sicker and sicker insurance pool and the premiums keep rising through the roof.” This is so crazy that I can’t think of a reply. All the claims are false — the BCRA would lead to adverse selection, because they eliminate the mandates. The idea that mandates cause selection is plainly insane. It is hard to understand how the statement could be generated by a human brain. And the ACA might survive because of that nutcase. Insane extremism causes sane policy in Bizarro World.

Comments (16) | |

Bizarro World

At least 40 Republican Senators and possibly the critical 50 have decided to stand up to the lobbyists, the interest groups and big business. They are willing to vote for the Cruz amended BCRA which would not just repeal Obamacare, but also destroy US individual market health insurance. If they do so, they stand up to many of the most powerful lobbies including the AMA and the AARP (but not the NRA or AIPAC). Most importantly, they reject the very firm claims and fierce arguments of the relevant health insurance industry lobby AHIP

AHIP (and BCBS) wrote an extraodinarily passionate and detailed letter to the Senate which included “this provision will lead to far fewer, if any, coverage options for consumers who purchase their plan in the individual market. As a result, millions of more individuals will become uninsured.” Notice the future indicative (which I will never ever use). The claim is definite and made with absolute confidence. They express 100% confidence that enacting the reform (with the Cruz amendment) will cause a disaster.

The amazing thing is that AHIP is demanding that its members be regulated. They are asserting that they will damage the country if allowed ““As healthy people move to the less-regulated plans, those with significant medical needs will have no choice but to stay in the comprehensive plans, and premiums will skyrocket for people with preexisting conditions”. This correctly asserts that AHIP members will cherry pick if they are allowed to. AHIP correctly assumes that AHIP members will destroy the health insurance system for short term gain if allowed. It’s like a serial killer cherry picker writing “stop me before I medically underwrite again”.

It is bizarre for an industry to demand regulation to protect consumers from them. The suspicion must be that the concern for the general public is an excuse for support for regulation which helps incumbents or limits competition. The second Bizarre thing is that I personally don’t doubt the sincerity of the lobbyists advocating regulation in the public interest of the members of the lobby. For one thing, their claims are obviously correct and at least an overwhelming majority of independent experts agree. In fact, I haven’t read a defence of the Cruz amendment by ultra hack Avik Roy (I think there is one by uber hack Stephen Moore). I don’t think that an honest case can be made that an industry lobby isn’t sincerely acting (this time) in what it’s officers consider to be the public interest.

But strangeness beyond strangeness, it seems possible that 50 GOP Senators will ignore all serious independent analysis and all of the relevant interest groups. I don’t recall the last time so many Republicans seriously considered standing up to big business. I don’t think it is really surprising that Republicans finally say no to an interest group when that interest group says the public must be protected from the socially damaging profit seeking which shareholders will fore on them.

Everything is updide down in Bizarro World.

Comments (32) | |