Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
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Paul Krugman: Can Warren Escape the Medicare Trap?
The candidate of plans needs a really good one right now.
On Sunday, Elizabeth Warren said that she would soon release a plan explaining how she intends to pay for “Medicare for all.” Like many policy wonks, I’ll be waiting with bated breath; this could be a make or break moment for her campaign, and possibly for the 2020 election.
There are three things you need to know about Medicare for all, which in the current debate has come to mean a pure single-payer health insurance system, in which the government provides all coverage, with no role for private insurers.
First, single-payer has a lot to recommend it as a way to achieve universal health care. It’s not the only route — every major advanced country besides the United States achieves universal coverage, but many of them get there via regulations and subsidies rather than by relying solely on public insurance. Still, single-payer is clean and simple, and many health economists would support it if we were starting from scratch.
Last week’s viral photograph of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pointing her finger at President Trump and reading him the riot act reflected a larger reality: If Trump won’t responsibly lead the nation, Pelosi will. [..]
Over the weekend, she led a congressional delegation on an unannounced trip to reassure U.S. allies in Jordan and Afghanistan. Given that Pelosi greenlighted the House investigation that likely will end in Trump’s impeachment — and, thus, that Trump sees her as his nemesis — the president likely considered the speaker’s trip a slap in the face.
But somebody had to do it. Somebody had to tell leaders who have thrown in their lot with the United States that Washington hasn’t forgotten its friends or forsaken its responsibilities. That was the message of Pelosi’s trip, aimed not just at leaders in Amman and Kabul but at allies around the world who wonder whether the United States is still worthy of their trust.
Michelle Cottle: The Unraveling of Mick Mulvaney
The White House chief of staff, still “acting” after all these months, should never have been cast in the role of spin doctor.
There he goes again.
This weekend, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, sat down with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” to try to bind some of the gaping wounds he’d inflicted on President Trump’s impeachment defense in recent days. Instead, Mr. Mulvaney again flubbed his lines, making himself look even more inept and dishonest. Yet this alone does not fully address why the White House ringmaster now finds himself an object of ridicule even among members of his own party — a situation for which he is only partly to blame. [..]
Seriously, does anyone think Sarah Huckabee Sanders, in her turn as Mr. Trump’s chief spinner, would have been goaded into admitting a presidential quid pro quo and then admonish everyone for being naïve about that sort of thing? Of course not. She was too adept at dodging, deflecting and flat-out lying to blurt out such an inconvenient truth. If nothing else, she would have pleaded ignorance of the details — which would have been a tougher sell for Mr. Mulvaney given his role as a recurring character in the Ukraine shenanigans.
Michelle Goldberg: 1, 2, 3, 4, Trump Can’t Rule Us Anymore
With impeachment looming, it’s time to take to the streets again.
All over the world right now, outraged citizens are taking to the streets. Mass protests in Hong Kong have been going on for months, at one point drawing about a quarter of the territory’s population. For the last five days, hundreds of thousands of people have been marching against austerity and corruption in Lebanon, and the government has pushed through a package of reforms to address their grievances. In Chile, protests over a subway fare increase have exploded into a broader uprising against inequality. [..]
So as Donald Trump’s sneering lawlessness and stupefying corruption continue to escalate, it’s confounding, at least to me, that Americans aren’t taking to the streets en masse. This presidency began with the biggest protest in American history, and its first two years were marked by a series of high-profile demonstrations. But three years in, even as the conviction that Trump threatens the Republic unites stolid military heroes and socialist feminists, demonstrations against the administration have faded. Lyndon Johnson was famously tormented by protest chants that could be heard through the walls of the White House. Why isn’t Trump?
Catherine Rampell: I could be a whistleblower. So could anyone with a TV.
I would like to file a whistleblower complaint. With whom, I don’t know exactly. But the information I have demands to be heard.
It will document how President Trump has set policy for his own personal gain and how senior White House aides have been in on the scam all along.
Not that it really matters, but my complaint isn’t based on “hearsay.” I have witnessed these actions firsthand. You might wonder how. After all, I don’t work in the White House or on Trump’s legal team; in fact, I’ve never met some of the people involved.
I haven’t been bugging presidential phone calls or meetings. I likewise don’t work at the Internal Revenue Service or for Trump’s accounting firm. But I’m a direct witness nonetheless, and I have the goods. You know why? Because I, uh, own a TV.