Thursday, August 13, 2009

FDR 2.0

This panel's got it going on. Chris Hayes a started off with a great analogy to road building and mountains. You can go around the mountain, or build switchbacks up the mountain. Or you can use dynamite to go through the mountain, which ends up producing a much more efficient route from point A to point B. Today, we solve legislative problems by "going around": letting private benefit managers administrate Medicare Part D, subsidizing banks and so forth. We have lost the institutional knowledge to dynamite our way through the mountain. It'd be nice to get it back, but it's going to take a long time to get there.

Hayes in explaining the state of the health care bill: "The entirety of the health care bill is designed to avoid affecting people who already have health insurance. On day one, you have Blue Cross Blue Shield through your employer, on day two ... the death panel is knocking at your door. In their government-issue reapers suits." The whole spiel involved lots of frenetic arm motions, highly amusing stuff.

A great question comes on economic alternatives to the current strategy which looks too much like we're trying to relive the 1990s. Rockeymoore talks up investment in public infrastructure and human capital, which, given the tremendous inequity in educational outcomes, is probably a good buy. Chris Hayes talks up inflation, which is almost certainly true; price stability uber alles doesn't seem to be serving us very well.

This has been a really good panel with pretty useful questions.

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