Ezra Klein

Ezra Klein is a staff reporter at The Washington Post. You can read his blogging here. His work has appeared in the LA Times, The Guardian, The Washington Monthly, The New Republic, Slate, and The Columbia Journalism Review. He's been a commentator on MSNBC, CNN, NPR, and more.

Recent Articles

IS THIS ALL ABOUT CBO?

There's an emergent argument that the real import of today's letter is that it serves as a club against the Congressional Budget Office. As Igor Volsky writes : The signers — the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the American Hospital Association (AHA), the American Medical Association (AMA) and Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), among others — hope to contain costs by implementing “aggressive efforts to prevent obesity, coordinate care, manage chronic illnesses and curtail unnecessary tests and procedures; by standardizing insurance claim forms; and by increasing the use of information technology, like electronic medical records.” The industry is suggesting that these cost containment measures — which don’t score too well with the Congressional Budget Office — would in fact yield cost savings and help finance health reform. The letter blunts conservative critics who argue that health reform is unsustainable or...

DOCUMENT DUMP: THE BIG HEALTH CARE LETTER.

All this fuss over one little letter. I've got the full document for download here . And the early reports are true. It's signed by the presidents of Pharma, Advamed (device manufacturers), the American Medical Association (doctors), the American Hospital Association, America's Health Insurance Plans, and SEIU's Health Care project. It promises that "we will do our part to achieve your Administration’s goal of decreasing by 1.5 percentage points the annual health care spending growth rate—saving $2 trillion or more." It says that "we are developing consensus proposals to reduce the rate of increase in future health and insurance costs through changes made in all sectors of the health care system." And it gives some general areas of agreement: • Implementing proposals in all sectors of the health care system, focusing on administrative simplification, standardization, and transparency that supports effective markets; • Reducing over-use and under-use of health care by aligning quality...

EXTREMELY TRUE STOCK MARKET COMMENTARY.

Ryan Avent -- demonstrating once again that some enterprising publication should hire him immediately -- offers the smartest commentary you'll read on the stock market today: Today’s conventional wisdom seems to be that the recent market rally has hit an apex. My assessment is that it has either hit an apex or hasn’t, in which case it will go up or down. This is 100 percent true. By contrast, analyses of today's stock market drop that do not say this are not 100 percent true.

IT'S BAD TO NOT BE THE KING.

I've been thinking a lot about James Surowiecki's argument that the administration's critics have developed "a fetishization of boldness." I'd put this a little differently: I think the administration's critics assume timidity. Government is a constrained institution. Geithner has to deal with pressure from critics, yes, but also a bitterly divided Congress, a filibuster-prone Senate, pressure from Wall Street, and resistance from captured regulators. The objective facts of his situation suggest that boldness won't necessarily be rewarded. And so when observers see informed critics like Krugman and Johnson arguing for a bolder strategy and charging that Geithner's approach deviates from the economic ideal, there's an assumption of credibility there: They, after all, don't have incentives colored by interest group pressure or congressional intransigence. That said, they also don't have perspectives colored by, well, the intransigence of Congress and the limits of the federal agencies...

UNADULTERATED GOOD NEWS ON HEALTH REFORM.

To counterbalance the crankiness of the previous post, Peter Orszag's announcement that the administration is not only continuing to support is $635 billion health care fund, but actually adding pieces to it, is important news. The key issue in health care reform is, quite simply, financing. Right now, the policy exists. The money doesn't. In fact, when the Senate passed its version of the budget, the specific financing provisions in the administration's health care reserve fund were deleted entirely. Eventually, that money will have to come back. And so it's good to see the administration sticking behind its proposals, even the ones that got a little beat-up in the previous round. They've kept, for instance, the idea to limit the itemized deductions of the richest Americans, even though that took some flack when it was initially announced. This gets to the administration's larger theory on revenues: They have a habit of offering up financing ideas well in advance of the financing...

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