Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mickey's First Orszagism

From the Karchive, here's Peter Orszag arguing that we need to cut the benefits of the elderly to pay for important things for the rest of us:

The only problem with this system is we can't afford it ... We should be sticking it to today's recipients ... The alternative to raising taxes is cutting benefits more. As long as we're going to be accused of making large cuts, we might as well actually make large cuts and radically reduce the amount of national income eaten up ...

Oh wait, that was Mickey, arguing for drastic cuts in Social Security, while noted grandmother-killing heartless bastard Peter Orszag was trying to save Social Security.

Huh. It's enough to make you think that Peter Orszag is actually acting in good faith when he's trying to bring the cost of health care down, while Mickey is hyperactively bounding from ill-conceived position to ill-conceived position using any weapon he can ("Social Security is preventing us from having universal health care! Obama's universal health care plan has death panels!") to justify his latest patently tendentious analysis ...

Nah ...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hear Me Out, People

Mickey Kaus, political genius, discussing whether we should cut Social Security in 2005:

Maybe we can add those ballooning health care costs on top of the 12.4 percent we're currently taking for Social Security pensions. But will we be able to afford national health care if we let Social Security gobble up even more?

Mickey Kaus, political genius, discussing whether we should cut Social Security in 2006:

Better to let the [current Social Security] system bubble along and make truly radical, means-testing cuts later, when Democrats will be in a position to achieve something big, like national health insurance, in return (and when the addition of a big program like national health insurance will make it clear to everyone that radical cuts are necessary).

Mickey Kaus, political genius, back in June, at the start of this neverending health care saga:

Wouldn't it be more prudent to pay for health care expansion the old fashioned way--through tax increases and sure-thing program cuts, like ... means-testing of Social Security?

a) I'm starting to get the feeling that Mickey wants to means-test Social Security ...

b) I love that Mickey values his little ideas so highly that even when they're patently stupid, he'll keep repeating and repeating and repeating them ...

I mean, has the potential addition of a national health program made it clear to *you*, dear reader, that cuts in Social Security are necessary? Has it made it clear to anyone? Is there any kind of logical connection there?

Does anything at all seem less necessary right now than enacting The New Republic's pet policy prescription of means-testing Social Security -- step aside, FDR! Marty Peretz will take it from here! -- the classic blinkered centrist solution in search of a problem? (Social Security going broke? Means-test! Need money to pay for health care? Means-test! Life got you down? Means-test!)

So, the guy who has literally spent the last three months [Three months? -- ed. Jesus ...] accusing the Democrats of being tone-deaf to public perceptions of their health care bill and deliberately trying to scare the elderly would, in reality, like nothing more than to pay for health care by slashing Social Security benefits?

What say you, cave trolls at a town hall meeting?

My thoughts exactly.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Konstitutional Law

Did Mickey take a button of peyote and start thumbing through back issues of the Yale Law Journal? Because that might explain this:

Jon Alter's latest column--calling for health care to be treated as a "civil right"--brings up an underdiscussed question: In a single payer plan, would health care be treated as a constitutional entitlement that couldn't be taken away without "due process" under the Warren Court's so-called "New Property" doctrine? My Con Law knowledge is a few decades out of date--but the doctrine covered welfare benefits, guaranteeing a hearing to individuals before they could be denied. Why not health benefits? ...

Good lord! I'm a drunken mess, and even I know that:

1) "The New Property" was a moderately influential article by Charles Reich, not a Supreme Court doctrine.

2) The hearing-before-denial-of-benefits case was Goldberg v. Kelly (1970), which would have been ... the Burger Court. [Are you sure it wasn't the Warren Court? That's the evil one, right? -- ed. Warren Burger, Earl Warren, Earl Weaver, Dream Weaver, Earl of Sandwich ... it's all the same ...]

3) What are the odds that a mid-60s left-liberal academic theory would be treated as settled law today by the Roberts Court? [Hey, he said his con law knowledge was "out of date" -- ed. Is it so out of date that he thinks that William Brennan is still on the court?]

4) Hasn't Mickey been arguing over and over again that anything that even remotely comes close to a kinda-sorta-not-really denial of benefits is a horrifying crime against man and God? So why does he argue later in the post that:

[A] "public option" might help avoid having every "we won't pay for this treatment" decision become a constitutional issue in a way a universal, single-payer entitlement couldn't ...

Shouldn't he want constitutional protections for his health care? When you're trying to stop the Ezra Kleins of the world from pulling the plug on you, shouldn't you want any weapon to hand?

Wait, I think I've figured out that last one. Ladies and gentlemen, the one thing Mickey fears more than death itself:

Any kind of victory for public interest lawyers.

Perish the thought!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Oh, Gre(g)(g) Easterbrook, is it already football-and-embarrassing-error season again?

The greenhouse gas bill before Congress became so ridiculously long, reaching 1,400 pages, that Democrats hired a speed reader to keep track of what the legislation said.

That link goes to an article, which says that:

"A request to have the entire bill read aloud is a prerogative Republicans have a right to invoke which could be used to frustrate Committee Chairman Henry Waxman's deadline of Memorial Day to get the committee's work on the bill done."


So the Democrats hired a speed reader to deal with an antiquated procedural roadblock that they anticipated Republicans using, and not to, say, "keep track of what the legislation said"?

So Gregg's preferred understanding of Congressional activity ("Those clowns in Congress have done it again! What a bunch of clowns.") is completely inaccurate?

So the correct reading (Democrats employ speed reader to frustrate Republicans' desperate attempts to stop any measure whatsoever aimed at the climate change problem that greGGGGG has only recently and grudgingly admitted is real) is not present at all in this column?

Looks like the answer to all of those is "yes" ...

One last question: do the fact-checkers at show up to work with a cape and a montera, or have they just given up on Gregg entirely?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

One Day, Mickey Kaus Is Going To Die

Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich -- national punchlines to 71% of the country and heroes to 29% -- are standing united against Obama's health care plan and have apparently started using Mickey's favorite hobbyhorse: the clear and simple fact that Obama is plotting to kill you.

But you can just tell that those two don't really feel it ... and not only because each of them has previously addressed the same end-of-life issues either in the exact same manner or by going even further than Obama. No, it's because they're clearly using "death panels" as a means of scaring old people and using "government takeovers" as a means of riling up the black helicopter crowd ... pretty much the standard right-wing "The Paranoid Style In American Politics"-as-a-playbook maneuvers.

Not Mickey, though. Sure, Mickey is doing the same kind of arguing in bad faith, making the same completely loony logical leaps, and is still presuming that the great and good American public is right behind him ... but there's something more to Mickey's lamentations. The volume of posting, the passionate intensity of his raging lies, the way he's constantly taking on his younger, more accomplished, full-head-of-hair-having blogging rival ... it's as though Mickey is channeling all of his issues with his impending mortality into his blog, with Peter Orszag playing the role of the Grim Reaper. It'd be sad, if it didn't have so many links to Tom Maguire.

So, please allow me to scare the pants off of Mickey [Not the pants! -- ed.]:

“[Health care reforms] don’t address the underlying problem, which is the cost of the last few months of life. We’re often not prolonging the quality of life, we’re just prolonging life. You’re accused of demagogy if you even approach the subject; but if it’s unlikely that you’ll enjoy a decent quality of life, doctors should send patients home and allow them to die what used to be called the ‘old man’s death,’ usually from pneumonia, the way most people used to die in this country.”

Is that Peter Orszag? Ezra Klein? Barack Obama?!? Nope, it's a prominent Republican, high-level McCain advisor, and the man who legally stole billions from the Chinese ... ladies and gentleman, Pete Peterson!

You know what this means? The quest to kill Mickey is totally bipartisan. Sleep with one eye open, Mickey!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Deep Thought (Apologies to Atrios)

What if we could attribute the rise in health care spending to unions?

Would that make Mickey want to bend the curve?

Friday, August 7, 2009

404: File Not Found

Now, I've been making fun of Mickey for assuming that the good and great American people must naturally hate the very same things that Mickey hates about the Democrat's health care reform PR without actually providing any evidence to support this sad delusion. But, hey, check out this new post! It might just set me straight!

What did [Mickey's latest bete noire Peter Orszag] do wrong? His insistence on--and insistence on talking about--long-term cost-bending successfully scared off a large segment of the American electorate by raising the issue of rationing. Hearts and minds.

That link actually goes to a FiveThirtyEight post by Nate Silver! Nate Silver, boy genius, actually found data supporting Mickey's thesis that long-term cost-bending rhetoric has scared the American public with fears of rationing?!?

/reads 538 post

Oh ... no. No, that post doesn't say that at all. Not even close. True, it's concerned with how Democrats have failed to effectively market health care reform, but in no way does it address rationing, a frightened public, Peter Orszag, bureaucrats pulling the plug on an unresponsive Mickey Kaus grandma, or any of Mickey's other health care boogeymen. [Hey, it mentions how a focus on cost-cutting hasn't worked! -- ed. Yeah, because the administration's rhetoric on cost-cutting has been *unconvincing*, while Mickey's entire argument depends on the rhetoric being too convincing. You're no fun ... -- ed.]

Here's what baffles me: Mickey has been cruising along here, ignoring evidence of health care waste (we all know Mickey is totally soft on wasteful government spending in literally any other area), making wild assertions about Obamacrats denying your cancer treatment because young Ezra Klein says it's time to die, and attributing both the political deadlock AND flagging popular support to the terrible, no-good cost-bending rhetoric -- all without linking to any kind of proof whatsoever for weeks now.

So why did *this* post need a link so badly that he was willing to cite to something completely unrelated and hope that nobody noticed? Why the hell would he think that he needs (the appearance of) reputable support for his arguments?

I mean, if ceaseless speculation, bad faith arguments, and an aversion to any kind of logic or reason were all good enough to keep Kausfiles in business for ten excruciating years, why even pretend to change?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Is It Possible That I'm *Too* Handsome?

So here I was, wondering how Mickey would react to the astroturfers/tea baggers spontaneously reciting Fox News talking points at Dem town halls across the land. Specifically, would he be pro-protesting (just like the sixties!) or anti-protesting (too much like the sixties!)? Let's go to the tale of the tape ...

Pro: They hate the health care plan, just like Mickey said the great and good American people would!

Anti: The protesters don't hate it because Obama has stressed cost-cutting over security or because they are uncomfortable with the Medicare panel; far from it, they seem to be opposing any sort of government action in any field ever, and are specifically denouncing the kind of universal health coverage that Mickey has held to be a central tenet of social equality.

Pro: Tea baggers are so sneer-worthy, it's only a matter of time before somebody sneers at them, and then Mickey can sneeringly disapprove of their sneering!

Anti: But what if the tea baggers unionize?

Pro: These people's heartfelt campaign of intimidation and screaming might make the Democrats look bad!

Anti: These people are lunatics. [And that would stop Mickey from backing them ... why? -- ed. Hey, Mickey's more careful than that -- the kind of guy who writes that "a black president who insists that the state continue bestowing preferential treatment on people because they look like him" can get a link, but he's not about to touch the guy who writes, say, "bumbling jungle monkey." See the difference? Oh, so he's an elitist ... -- ed.]

So what does Mickey ultimately do?

Is it possible that Dem politicians are in for an August of furious town hall feedback so brutal that it all becomes absurd and breeds a grim, amused fatalism that actually steels them to proceed on health care? Just asking. ... If you're going to die, might as well die having enacted universal health care. ...

He declares that the "furious town hall feedback" (conveniently ignoring the fact that these protestors come with more corporate sponsorships than a Nascar team) will be so effective that it actually will become counter-effective when it wounds Democrats so mortally that they stoically pass Obamacare before presumably dying in their saddles ... but only possibly.

Man, it's like we're all playing Horribly Wrong Checkers and Mickey's playing Horribly Wrong Chess, isn't it?