Links to what I’ve been reading. The Iowa caucus is over, so this is an Iowa free Linked and Loaded.
I understand the impulse to defend the Affordable Care Act when it is under unrelenting attack. But a mistake is a mistake, and supporters of the law—particularly Democratic candidates facing tough races in 2012—need to think through alternatives to the mandate in view of both the upcoming Supreme Court ruling and this fall’s election.
Jonathan Chait on predicting American fascism arriving in a sweater vest:
One of the odder political transformations of the campaign is Rick Santorum’s emergence, after years of nasty ultra-partisan culture-warmongering, as a cuddly working-class tribune. My explanation for this is the sweater-vest.
Suzy Khimm lists three reasons why bankers might be needing to reach for the Tums in 2012:
Despite the ongoing economic slump and warnings of burdensome new regulations, the U.S. financial system remained surprisingly robust and resilient through the end of 2011 — in no small part because of the havoc that the Euro crisis wreaked upon other countries. In 2012, the big fights over regulation at home and the Euromess abroad will continue to be front and center, and U.S. financial institutions will largely remain on the defensive. Here are three key issues that will be at stake in the early months of this year […]
Sarah Kliff rounds up the most important dates for health care reform this year:
Health reform had a big year in 2010, when it passed Congress and a slew of consumer-friendly provisions came online. And it’ll have another big year in 2014. That’s when the individual mandate kicks in, pre-existing conditions end and Medicaid expands to cover 16 million more Americans. But 2012 won’t be all quiet on the health-care front: The Obama administration is laying a policy foundation for 2014, while health reform opponents try to stop the law altogether. Here are five key dates to mark on your health reform calendar (you do have one of those, don’t you?)
Don Taylor breaks down the policy focus for 2012:
The main public policy need for the U.S. in 2012 is to enact policies that encourage economic growth now, while moving toward a sustainable budget over the long run. This main policy need is unchanged from 2011, and we didn’t manage to do either very well.