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Writing for National Review Has Rotted Avik Roy's Brain - Grasping Reality with Both Hands

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Grasping Reality with Both Hands The Semi-Daily Journal of Economist J. Bradford DeLong: Fair, Balanced, RealityBased, and Even-Handed Department of Economics, U.C. Berkeley #3880, Berkeley, CA 94720-3880; 925 708 0467; delong@econ.berkeley.edu.

Economics 210a Weblog Archives DeLong Hot on Google DeLong Hot on Google Blogsearch September 23, 2010

Writing for National Review Has Rotted Avik Roy's Brain Does he have no true friends? I think an intervention is called for. If we can get him out of the toxic intellectual environment of that culture of ignorance, perhaps he can still be saved... Avik Roy: The Pledge to America on Health Care: [T]he Pledge says almost nothing about the biggest and most difficult questions in health policy: Medicare and Medicaid reform. It criticizes PPACA’s “massive Medicare cuts” without offering an alternative solution... promises that Republicans “will make the decisions that are necessary to protect our entitlement programs for today’s seniors and future generations. That means requiring a full accounting of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, setting benchmarks for these programs and reviewing them regularly, and preventing the expansion of unfunded liabilities.” About as bracing as a glass of milk. But perhaps it would have been unrealistic to expect more. Democrats have engaged in their fair share of entitlement demagoguery, which is likely to intensify as we get closer to the election. Up to this point, the President has not shown a serious interest in entitlement reform... Let us look at Figure A-3 from the Congressional Budget Office's Long Term Budget Outlook--the CBO's projections of what the budget balance will look like for the next seventy years if the economic forecast is fulfilled and if congress sticks to PAYGO:

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Writing for National Review Has Rotted Avik Roy's Brain - Grasping Reality with Both Hands

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Back in 2009 the CBO projected the emergence after 2025 of a large structural gap between primary spending and revenues as the health programs grew to take over the world, and projected a federal debt held by the public that hit 200% of GDP before 2070--even if congress did nothing to violate PAYGO. Today the CBO projects that the public debt will stay below a year's GDP until all of us now full-grown are dead. Why? Because of two "entitlement reforms" by Obama: the IPAB that puts a brake on the growth of Medicare costs, and the excise tax on high-cost health plans that raise revenue. Rather than saying "the President has not shown a serious interest in entitlement reform," it would be closer to the truth for Avik Roy to say: "Obama did entitlement reform through the PPACA, and I did not notice." Indeed, the fact that Avik Roy--and lots of other people--did not notice what current law plus PAYGO implies is what leads Doug Elmendorf at the CBO to fear that the http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2010/09/writing-for-national-review-has-rotted-avik-roys-brain.html

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policies enacted in the PPACA will not stand, and leads him to present an Alternative Fiscal Scenario in which the cost-containing and revenue-raising portions of the bill are repealed in fairly short order. It is a fair criticism of Obama to say that his entitlement reforms may not last. It is not a fair criticism to claim that they were not done--or that he has "not shown a serious interest." Why oh why can't we have a better press corps? Brad DeLong on September 23, 2010 at 12:15 PM in Economics, Economics: Fiscal Policy, Economics: Health, Information: Better Press Corps/Journamalism, Obama Administration, Politics | Permalink Favorite

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Comments Robert Waldmann said... Yes Obama and the Democrats reformed entitlements, Roy didn't notice, and elected Republicans screamed bloodless murder (by death panel). However, the baseline forecast is totally bogus. Obama and the Democrats also want to extend Bush tax cuts on incomes under $250,000. That's not current law and not in the baseline and it's obviously going to happen. It looks like the tax cuts on income over $250,000 will be extended too (even after all these years I am shocked and appalled by the Democrats fecklessness and the Republicans ruthless dedication to tax cuts for the rich). The change due to entitlement reform was huge, but you should have mentioned the fact that the baseline forecasts are useful for measuring that change but not useful for forecasting. Reply September 23, 2010 at 12:37 PM John Howard Brown said... I love the Democratic Party very much, elected Democratic officials, not so much. Witness the news today that neither House nor Senate will take up tax cuts prior to the election. Maybe we actually need two new parties, a replacement for both Ds and Rs. Reply September 23, 2010 at 01:39 PM DrDick said... I think it is more accurate to say that your brain has to be decomposing before you are

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allowed to write at the Natinal Review. Reply September 23, 2010 at 03:04 PM Lewismd13 said... I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed that. I called him out on twitter for it, but I'm nobody, so I doubt he listened. I'm also annoyed that the very smart people over at The Agenda constantly talk about the need to end the employer insurance tax break, but don't give Obama credit for the excise tax, which is a first step towards that. Reply September 23, 2010 at 03:28 PM jony mark said... new website look great http://www.7ria.com/ http://abraj.7ria.com/ thnx u Reply September 23, 2010 at 03:44 PM marcel said... Why oh why can't we have a better press corps? Upton Sinclair provided 1 plausible explanation: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" Reply September 23, 2010 at 04:04 PM mickster99 said... Let's go for a sort of Reagan/Greenspan 80's solution to Social Security solvency issues: raise the income levels on which Federal Tax withholding tax is withheld and then make it a progressive tax instead of regressive. Full disclosure: I got my SS card in 1963 and paid the withholding taxes for 45 years. Reply September 23, 2010 at 04:43 PM mickster99 said... Dr. De Long. One your biggest failings is your unrelenting reliance on facts and specific charts that support your point of view. This is entirely ineffective on a certain demographic that has an effective literacy rate well below that of the most struggling of third world economies. Have you considered something more effective like a chalk board and maybe some big color pictures of George Washington and Tommy Jefferson? Reply September 23, 2010 at 04:48 PM Bob said... Avik is a typical intelligent Indian in America. Excessively arrogant, completely unable to grasp that he is a beneficiary of anti-white discrimination, desperate to conform with fantastic and imaginary British aristocratic mannerisms, all combined with the sense of entitlement and decadence that comes with those who rode the top of the multicultural meritocratic dictatorship. Worse, his entire "career" was simply riding the post dot com bubble as yet another agent of usury. You should have seen the cretin in the year leading up to the crash - the worst kind of sociopathic neocon you can imagine. Reply September 23, 2010 at 07:27 PM save_the_rustbelt said... Does all of this PPACA (Obamacare) will actually work? The odds of that Rube Goldberg monstrosity actually working are pretty slim.

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Reply September 23, 2010 at 08:43 PM Manik said in reply to Bob... I am usually a passive follower of this blog, but I had to sign-in to respond to the Indophobic racialist lies and drivel posted by 'Bob'. I'd like to point out that Americans of Indian descent are NOT eligible for AA of any kind - nor do they need it. I'd also be far more careful in associating usury with ethnicity, considering that most banks and similar institutions are controlled by people of the melanin-deficient variety. Perhaps people like 'Bob' and his ilk need to examine what feeds THEIR deep sense of entitlement, their craving for dominance and control, their resentment and hostility toward successful dark-skinned people. I suspect it is because the 'Bobs' of this world are discovering (to their anguish, evidently) that white-skin is no longer the free-lunch ticket it was in the past. Reply September 23, 2010 at 10:45 PM RW said in reply to save_the_rustbelt... You say this sort of thing a lot Rusty but never mention supporting facts nor contrary scenarios; e.g., if PPACA doesn't work then 40 million fellow citizens remain uninsured with more falling into the crack daily and the national debt increases dramatically over the long haul (CBO estimates). So why should anyone be (rather passively) concerned that PPACA "might not work" rather than actively engaged as a citizen in an effort to make it work? Reply September 24, 2010 at 08:29 AM Alex said... Do you think it might have something to do with the fact that the extended-baseline scenario assumes that the Medicare physician payment cuts will be implemented under current law? Reply September 24, 2010 at 08:38 AM ostap said... "after 2025" After 2025?!? At least 9 years after he leaves office? You believe that's "serious"? Why? Oh, why? Reply September 24, 2010 at 09:44 AM rv said in reply to mickster99... Meritocratic dictatorship? The mind reels at such a concept. Reply September 26, 2010 at 08:23 PM Comment below or sign in with TypePad

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