Linked and Loaded Morning

Links to what I’ve been reading.

THE POLITICAL SCENE: BARNEY’S FRANK OPINIONS

Ryan Lizza and George Packer:

LIZZA: What effect is Occupy Wall Street having in Washington, if any?

FRANK: Unfortunately not nearly as much as I wish it would have and it’s becoming somewhat negative. I don’t understand why people think that simply being in a physical place does much. I have a rule that I have tried to propagate among my friends on the Left. If you care deeply about a cause and you are then engaged on behalf of that cause in an activity that makes you feel very good and very brave and you’re really in solidarity with all your friends, and you’re enjoying it, you’re probably not advancing the cause very much, because you’re spending all your time with people you agree with cheering each other on and not engaging. I’ve seen a lot of things about Occupy Wall Street, I haven’t noticed any voter registration tables. I haven’t seen people saying, “Send your Representatives and Senators an e-mail saying, ‘Confirm a director, or don’t deregulate, or pass the millionaires tax.’”

The Healthcare Market is Broken and Needs to Be Fixed

E.D. Kain

My concern with moving toward any sort of universal healthcare is that we focus entirely on insurance and not at all on pricing and creating an actual, functioning market for healthcare services. Without market reforms, including more transparent pricing for consumers but also for doctors and hospitals themselves (medical equipment, drugs, hospital beds, etc. are all badly sheltered from competition, for instance) universal insurance could become far too expensive and lead to supply shortages.

*My Note: Let’s not lose sight that the primary aim of something like the ACA is to address coverage, not necessarily cost. On the other hand, unlike a similar effort in Massachusetts, the ACA does have a few ideas that will be tested to address provider-side issues. Clearly it won’t be enough, but it is a step in the right direction.

The few, the proud, the very rich

Sylvia Allegretto:

Upon closer inspection, the Forbes list reveals that six Waltons—all children (one daughter-in-law) of Sam or James “Bud” Walton the founders of Wal-Mart—were on the list. The combined worth of the Walton six was $69.7 billion in 2007—which equated to the total wealth of the entire bottom thirty percent!

Europe’s growth crisis

Ezra Klein:

I tried for a while to get the term “Euromess” to catch on. Fail. The world seems to have settled on “the European debt crisis” as the accepted term for the run on sovereign bonds that’s bedeviling the euro area. So I gave in and started calling it “the European debt crisis,” too. Now I’m regretting it.

This isn’t a debt crisis. This is a crisis first of growth, then of institutions, and only then of debt.

It’s easy enough to prove. Let’s start with a puzzle.

Growth Is Not an Easy Solution for Europe’s Woes

Megan McArdle

I’ve seen a bunch of commentators today saying that “the fundamental problem Europe needs to solve is growth, not budget deficits.”  In some sense this is true–enough growth would solve many of the problems in the periphery.  (Usual caveat: Greece is a special case.)

But while it’s true, I’m not sure it’s useful. […]
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