Paul Krugman On The Need For Bipartisanship: The Republican Party Is Now The Rump On The Right

Paul Krugman and Robert Reich both made some really great points during the panel discussion on This Week on the reasons for some real reform of the i
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Paul Krugman and Robert Reich both made some really great points during the panel discussion on This Week on the reasons for some real reform of the insurance industry, the mistakes made by the President in negotiating with the Senate, and the notion that there is a need for bipartisanship when the Republican party has moved so far out of the mainstream. And this statement by Krugman bears noting:

Krugman: Well, the public option again, this is something, that, there’s a question whether they're for it, or whether, are they willing to actually vote against cloture to stop this really quite modest but helpful piece of the reform being in there? (crosstalk) They have no intellectual basis to stand on, right? The argument against the public option is sheer nonsense. We know that. It's nothing except the insurance lobby.

Exactly. If these conserva-Dems want to block health care reform and getting the insurance industries in check, make them actually have to stand up and filibuster it along with the Republicans and show their true colors.

Transcript below the fold.

Krugman: We’re now at a point where the insurance premiums for typical employer based insurance are on the order of a quarter or more of the earnings of the average worker. This is a situation in which more and more companies are going to drop coverage, which is happening. We had a situation, you know, something unique happened during the period from 2003-2008, which is that for the first time ever, health insurance coverage deteriorated in a time of recovery. This is not supposed to happen. This is a system that’s coming apart at the seems. Once we get the numbers for what’s been happening in this recession it’s going to be horrific. (crosstalk)

Frum: The Republicans should be for health insurance reform. I completely, I think John McCain is right at least in where he was going, although he didn’t take the full step there. The price for health insurance reform should be a jettison, The Democrats’ jettison their attempt to nationalize the health care system or do anything (crosstalk), do anything approaching it. And that is, and that is where I think the President’s put us on the wrong track. I think the, what John McCain was pointing to, one of the last times Congress did something big, 1986, the tax reform that year, essentially the Senate took that proposal away from the President. President Reagan had a proposal. It was not going anywhere in Congress. The Senate and Bob Packwood in particular took it away, rewrote it and produced something that was broadly acceptable and got the better result than the President himself accepted. That’s what should happen now.

Stephanopoulos: Isn’t David getting to the heart of the issue? Now it’s pretty clear if you look at the votes in the House and the Senate, while there are significant pluralities of Democrats for the public option, the majority of Democrats, you can’t get it through either one. Why not give up the public option?

Reich: But George, here’s the problem. In terms of negotiating, a President needs to have a very strong base behind him in order to give him the maximum negotiating strength for the other side. Also, a President cannot engage in preemptive negotiations. That is simply (crosstalk) giving in before he gets anything back from the other side. Yeah, and unfortunately on of these counts the White House is not doing it in a way that actually pushes the ball forward.

Krugman: And can I say something about bipartisanship? There’s this notion that we ought to have bipartisanship. What people usually mean by that you ought to get the center. We ought to get let’s say the middle twenty Senators to agree on something. The middle twenty Senators are now all Democrats. The Republican party is now a rump on the right which thanks to the arcane rules of the Senate (crosstalk).

Stephanopoulos: Does that get to the problem and that not quite twenty, the middle ten Democrats in the Senate are not for the public option?

Krugman: Well, the public option again, this is something, that, there’s a question whether they're for it, or whether, are they willing to actually vote against cloture to stop this really quite modest but helpful piece of the reform being in there? (crosstalk) They have no intellectual basis to stand on, right? The argument against the public option is sheer nonsense. We know that. It's nothing except the insurance lobby.

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